Production of the Bugatti Veyron ended earlier this year, leaving a void up around the top of the supercar food chain. That void will be filled soon enough with a Veyron successor, but while there have been plenty of unconfirmed rumors and reports about the "Chiron" not much has come from Bugatti itself. That will all change this week, with Bugatti set to confirm both the model's name and its coming debut at next year's Geneva Motor Show. In just a few months, the world's fastest car gets an even more capable successor.
In teasing the debut of the all-new Chiron, Bugatti isn't really breaking any major news. The Chiron name has been rumored for a long time, and we knew the model was coming next year, likely in Geneva. Still, it's always good to replace "think" with "know".
Louis Chiron was a Bugatti racing driver known for a run of grand prix victories back in the 1920s and 30s. Bugatti says that his name is more closely connected to the brand than that of any other race car driver. If "Chiron" sounds vaguely (or very) familiar, it might be because the name was also used for the 18/3 Chiron, one of four concept cars that Volkswagen developed on the way to the Veyron.
"The development brief for the Chiron can be summarized in one sentence and is probably the shortest in the history of the automobile: We want to make the best significantly better," states Bugatti president Wolfgang Dürheimer. "The Chiron will set new standards in every respect. We will continue to produce the world's most powerful, fastest, most luxurious and most exclusive production super sports car."
The brief may be short by word count, but it says a lot. The fact that Bugatti expresses its intention of holding onto the "world fastest" title suggests that the Chiron will be more than ready to fend off possible competition from the likes of Hennessey and Koenigsegg. Hennessey, which beat Bugatti's 267.86 mph (431.072 km/h) record in an unofficial capacity, is currently developing the Venom F5, which it believes will be capable of around 290 mph (467 km/h). Reports suggest the Chiron will top out around 288 mph (463.5 km/h), so the foundation is there for an intriguing new round of the world speed record battle.
Bugatti confirms the "who" and "where," but it has yet to confirm the ever-important "what," that is, what equipment works to makes the Chiron the world's fastest, most powerful sports car. Rumors continue to suggest a ~1500-hp powertrain, possibly using VW's electric turbocharging with Bugatti's familiar W16 engine.
Whatever it is that powers the Chiron, the buyers are already lining up to get their piece, according to Bugatti. "Our order book is steadily filling up," says Dürheimer. "More than 100 customers have already ordered the Chiron despite the fact that they have had no opportunity so far to experience the fantastic driving properties of the Chiron."
That number is particularly impressive when one considers that it's nearly a quarter of the entire 450-model Veyron production run. While potential buyers have not been able to drive the Chiron, some have been treated to a preview at private events in select markets.
Bugatti hasn't released any full-car Chiron teaser photos, but the Frankfurt-debuted Vision Gran Turismo gives a feel for the latest mindset of Bugatti's design team. When Bugatti revealed the Vision GT in September, it made clear that while the car was an extreme show car, the underlying design language had legs.
"Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo is the first stage on a new journey that Bugatti is embarking on following the successful completion of its Veyron chapter, and which will culminate in the unveiling of the next Bugatti super sports car in the not too distant future," Dürheimer explained at the time. "This project showcases Bugatti's new design language, which we have developed to celebrate this new chapter in our company history."
Bugatti is now completing testing of Chiron prototypes, putting them through the wringer in different weather and road conditions around the world. We anticipate hearing much more about the car in the months and weeks leading up to March's Geneva debut.