Bon Matin, citizens of the less-than-sleepy hamlet of Supercar-sur-la-mer. Awake, for there’s news from Castle Bugatti: A new prince will soon arrive, and ye shall call him Chiron. The Veyron is dead; long live the Chiron!
Following its tradition of names that are mellifluous in French and notably less so on a Yankee tongue, Bugatti has confirmed “Chiron” as the name of its latest car. The moniker honors Louis Chiron, the famed factory driver who won innumerable grands prix during the twenties and thirties. Per native pronunciation, it’s shee-ron; per hip-hop videos to come, the best you can hope for is a hard-edged chai-rone.
Bugatti has done a pretty terrible job of keeping its next super(duper)car under wraps. First, the company showed the Bugatti Vision GT, a nominal Gran Turismo “concept car” whose look nevertheless yields clues to the upcoming Chiron’s shape. Then, a smattering of spy shots emerged of the presumed Chiron toodling about without a slip of disguise. All evidence points thus: The Chiron will be a cleaner, meaner, chopped-down, less-round Veyron, with a 1,500-horsepower W-16 engine and a desire to stage, ruthlessly, a coup in the highest echelon of the automotive kingdom. We expect it to drop at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Rumors of two-second sprints to 60 and 286-mph top speeds abound. Koenigsegg: Pucker up.
In announcing the impending birth of the baby, Bugatti employed a number of superlatives fitting a century-old company with access to Volkswagen’s mighty—if bruised—coffers. In its words, Bugatti will “continue to produce the world’s most powerful, fastest, most luxurious and most exclusive production super sports car.” The choice of “continue,” without acknowledging that the Veyron has been surpassed in several metrics since its debut by Hennessey, Pagani and even the Porsche 918 Spyder, is a little out of touch, yet appropriately regal—Queen Elizabeth arriving to the opening of a new shopping center with a full motorcade.
When it went on sale in 2005, the Veyron was a revelation, a no-expense-spared project whose mechanicals—sixteen cylinders, four turbos, all-wheel drive—remains the grandest in production. It was Ferdinand Piech’s own Monster by Numbers: a thousand horsepower, 248-mph top speed, $1M price tag. Though a hybrid system may now join the equation, the Chiron is unlikely to present much differently; in the manner of younger monarchs, it will rule in similar fashion to its forebears, just with more vitality and, if the pictures prove true, beauty.
It’s nice to see that even a family—the Volkswagen Auto Group—beleaguered by a scandal of its own making can pull together to produce something magnificent. The people at Bugatti claim to already have 100 orders on the books. The coup is underway.