What It Takes to Design an Even Better Bugatti

August 26, 2016, 4:00 PM UTC

Bugatti’s all-new Chiron supercar recently made its U.S. debut at the luxury-laden Quail, A Motorsports Gathering event in Carmel Valley, Calif., and we got an exclusive on-camera sit-down with chief designer Achim Anscheidt.

Even with a $3 million base price, the Chiron has already commanded more than 200 preorders from around the world on a production run that Bugatti says will total only 500 cars. What makes any vehicle worth so much? There are all the engineering feats, such as a 1,500-horsepower W16 engine that has four banks of four cylinders each and four turbo-chargers with Bugatti’s unique two-stage system. All of that together makes the Chiron 25% more powerful than its predecessor, the monstrous Veyron.

Many engine parts that were aluminum in the Veyron are now carbon fiber, further reducing weight, as does the new titanium muffler and exhaust system.
But until we can drive one—which Bugatti says will happen by early next year—it is Chiron’s sculptural shape that has our attention. A key goal of the Bugatti design team was to make a car not only alluring and innovative today, but something that will still strike viewers in 25, 50, even 100 years from now.

The side profile, dominated by a flowing C-shaped swoosh of aluminum, is a line that was created to optimize aerodynamics, air flow, heat dissipation, and cooling. It also is the Chiron’s most striking detail, and one that is carried over on the interior through a dramatic central spine that bisects the driver-centric cockpit—itself the most luxuriously crafted interior I have ever witnessed. For example, every aluminum piece, from the turn stalk to control knobs, is carved out of solid aluminum. The carbon fiber gear surround is structural and not just for show.

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Bugatti unveiled the Chiron—named after Monaco-born racer Louis Chiron—at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show on Feb. 29, but Fortune was given advance access to a preproduction car and a technical deep dive at the Bugatti facility in Molsheim, France, a few weeks prior.


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