Lego Built a Full-Size Bugatti Chiron That Actually Drives

It's the first life-size Lego car ever built that can move under its own power.

Danish toymaker Lego announced Thursday that it has built a full-scale model of the $3 million Bugatti Chiron hypercar, and that it's the first life-size, fully-drivable Lego vehicle.

Lego constructed the Chiron using more than one million individual pieces of 339 different types, 58 of which were custom-cast for this model, including pieces never before cast in transparent plastic. Not a single drop of glue was used to hold this behemoth together, either. A model of this size sold at retail prices in accordance with Wired's approximation of 10.4 cents per piece would likely cost approximately $104,000. That's before shipping, which would be expensive, because the completed car weighs 1,500 kilograms (3,307 pounds).

Max Earey

Movement is achieved with 2,304 Lego Power Function electric motors, which combine to produce 5.3 horsepower and 92 newton-meters (68 pound-feet). They send this power through a combined 4,032 Lego cogs, 2,016 axles, and four real Bugatti wheels to push the Chiron to a top speed of just over 20 kph (12 mph)—a far cry from the real car's theoretical 280 mph. That said, Lego theorized that its Chiron can manage 30 kph (18 mph).

Max Earey

Lego's test driver for its Bugat-toy was none other than 24 Hours of Le Mans and 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race winner Andy Wallace, who also served as the test driver for the real Bugatti Chiron. To maintain aerodynamic stability during the car's top speed run, Wallace extended the car's retractable (seriously) rear wing, and watched his speed rise on the functional mechanical speedometer.

Max Earey

"When I first saw the Lego Chiron, I was immediately impressed by the accuracy of the model and the minute attention to detail. In fact, from about 20 meters away it's not obvious that you are looking at a Lego car. I can only imagine how much time and effort went into making this model," Wallace explained.

"Driving the Lego Chiron was a great experience, which I thoroughly enjoyed. All those years ago I could never have imagined that one day I would actually drive a Lego car!"

Max Earey

To make this harebrained yet heroic car, Lego's teams at its Czech factory in Kladno—who build the models for Lego stores and Legoland theme parks—spent a combined 13,438 hours on its design and construction. If you too want a Chiron of your own, but that seems too extreme an investment of time for you, consider instead the one-eighth scale Bugatti Chiron set. It's still a hefty purchase at 3,599 pieces and $350, but that's not a bad deal considering the latest berserk Divo Bugatti is $5.8 million. Maybe Lego will give us 99.9 percenters access to one of those in the future...

Max Earey

Lego will display this Chiron at the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix weekend, held at Autodromo Nazionale Monza, in Monza Italy, starting Thursday, Aug. 30.