The Bugatti Chiron—a $3 million, 1,500-horsepower luxury spaceship on wheels that makes us go weak in the knees—just set the world record for going from 0-400 kph (or 249 mph) and then back to zero again. Former F1, IndyCar, and NASCAR ace Juan Pablo Montoya actually pulled it off, getting the full run in just 32.6 seconds and 1.43 miles.
A very proud Wolfgang Dürheimer, President of Bugatti Automobiles, made the announcement: “Bugatti is the first car brand that not only calculates how fast a car can go from zero to 400 to zero on a computer. We actually drove it. Where others are satisfied with theory, we validate our data with real-life values. Just like we did with the Chiron.”
The Chiron is packing an 8-liter, quad-turbo W-16 engine—really, two 15-degree V8s nestled together—and produces a massive amount of horsepower (1,500, to be exact) across a very broad spectrum of the powerband. In a car that weighs at least 4,000 pounds, that spectrum is crucial to takeoff. Braking is another story.
The Chiron has a carbon ceramic brake discs (420 mm at the front, 400 mm at the rear), and eight titanium piston calipers at the front and six at the rear. When Montoya reached top speed, he smashed the brake pedal. Then, according to Bugatti's telemetry, "0.8 seconds after operation of the brakes, the rear wing, with a width of 1.50 metres, moves up to an angle of 49 degrees, forming an air brake that decelerates the Chiron extremely effectively." The monstrous airbrake boosts the aerodynamic downforce on the rear axle by about 2,000 pounds. "During full braking from 249 mph, Bugatti says, the force on vehicle and driver is about 2 Gs.
Aside from a price tag that only a James Bond villain could love, there's nothing we don't covet in the Bugatti Chiron. Up next: the world speed record for a production car.