Bugatti has released its newest hypercar at Monterey. The Divo is significantly slower than the Chiron it's based on, topping out at "just" 236 mph (380 km/h), but it's so much better in the corners that it's 8 seconds faster around the Nardo handling circuit. It's also twice as expensive, and already sold out.

By what measure should a hypercar be judged? Acceleration? Top speed? Lap times? Appearance? Perhaps price and exclusivity should be on the list because let's face it, the vast majority of ultra-rich car buffs treat these things like fancy watches you can sit in; status symbols whose performance figures are less relevant than how much they make lesser multi-millionaires seethe and boil with envious rage.

A standard, US$3 million-ish Bugatti Chiron should be good enough to dominate most executive car parks. If you're really keen, you can opt for the Chiron Sport, which is five seconds quicker around Nardo thanks to lightweighting and a stiffer chassis for about US$260,000 extra.

But Bugatti is going to build about 500 Chirons. That means 499 other clowns would have the same car as you. Can you imagine the embarrassment of gliding up to make your entrance at a Monte Carlo hotel, nonchalantly throwing your Chiron key to the valet, then realizing there's another one in front of you? You'd feel like a sixteen-year-old looking at her worst enemy in the same prom dress.

Hence the Divo. There will be only 40 Divos – that's more than a tenfold reduction in risk of this kind of crippling humiliation. And they will be twice the price of a Chiron, so should the two be seen together, nobody will be in any doubt who's King Dingaling.

The cynical would call the Divo a Chiron with a body kit on, because it shares the Chiron's 1,500 horsepower, 8-liter W16 engine and underlying chassis. Indeed the silhouette isn't vastly different either, but the Divo definitely makes the Chiron look stodgy and conservative in comparison.

It starts with the vastly increased air intakes and front spoiler surrounding Bugatti's traditional horseshoe feature at the front. Then there's the deeply scooped hood, and slash-thin sci-fi headlights flanked by sharky gills rising up over the wheel arches.

Move back further and the traditional scoop shape bordering the rear of the doors has been moved upward, accentuating the lower rear air intakes and giving a lighter, younger, sportier, lower look to the side profile.

Toward the rear, the centerline becomes a fin as it moves out toward a much bigger rear wing. Below the Divo logo, there's four square organ pipe exhausts, and out to the sides you'll see our favourite touch: the digitally sharded tail-light designs. Now those 3D-printed beauties are seriously sexy, to the point where we feel Bugatti did itself a disservice by unveiling the car facing forwards at The Quail in Monterey.

The car is only available in one color scheme, but it's a bit of a blinder: Divo racing blue with titanium liquid silver, the latter of which gleams so brightly in the sun that cameras struggle to do it justice.

Since its modern revival, Bugatti has typically been all about straight-line hyperspeed and luxury, but the intention with the Divo is to make this thing more playful in the corners. Hence a body 77 pounds (35 kg) lighter than the Chiron and additional aeros worth some 198 lbs (90kg) more downforce to assist with high-speed cornering.

Indeed, Bugatti chose to name the new car after one Albert Divo, a French fighter pilot and racing driver who won the Sicilian Targa Florio back-to-back in 1928 and 29. Divo was known for his quickness in tight corners.

Thus, the new Bugatti Divo's stiffer suspension and more direct steering response. Even the camber of the wheels has been increased for quicker steering. This comes at a cost to high-speed stability, meaning the Divo loses the Chiron's "top speed mode" and can no longer hit 261 mph (420 km/h). Instead, velocity junkies will have to make do with a mere 236 mph (380 km/h). And while this is still a roundly ludicrous speed – you'd be lucky to find a road or track long enough to attempt reaching it – you better believe Divo owners are gonna hear about it from Chiron owners.

The end result is a car eight seconds faster around the 3.85-mile (6.2 km), 16-turn Nardo handling circuit than the Chiron. Or, just three seconds faster than the Chiron Sport. The price? €5 million, or US$5.8 million. Or US$850 grand for each second you wanna shave off the Chiron Sport on a track, in the unlikely event you decide to drive it in anger rather than letting it sit idly in your collection as an investment.

And it doesn't matter anyway, because all 40 units were snapped up before the covers even came off, by people who already own Chirons. So it's look and drool, but don't touch, peasants. Enjoy a video of the unveiling below, or plenty of shots in the gallery.

Source: Bugatti.

View gallery - 30 images