Chiron, the Bugatti Veyron’s long-anticipated successor to the throne of Bestest Car In The Whole World, is finally here. Like its predecessor, it’s a technical triumph, a pinnacle of automotive engineering, and I think it looks much better, too. Too bad it’s still completely fucking stupid.
I’ve lamented about the fundamental stupidity of supercars before, but with this much-hyped introduction—something we here at Jalopnik are certainly a part of—I feel that it’s important to re-iterate this demonstrably accurate but generally unpopular view. The Bugatti Chiron, which costs the equivalent of $2.5 million, is an astounding, impressive, breathtaking waste of engineering and money.
Let’s just look at some of the specs: it’s got an 8-liter W16 engine like the Veyron, but now it’s making 1478 HP with 1180 lb-ft (843 Nrp) of torque. It’ll get you from snoozing to a mile-a-minute in 2.5 seconds, and it’ll make 261 mph in “Top Speed” mode. None of these numbers matter one bit, because nobody who buys one is going to do anything with it, driving-wise, that couldn’t be done by, say, a Ford Focus RS.
The Bugatti Chiron is like if there was a World’s Most Delicious Sandwich, a sandwich made by specially-trained sandwich artisans who had been bred for the position and been developing the sandwich since they were children.
It’s a sandwich made with the meats of animals that are the result of a generations-long breeding program to produce the finest meat, which they give willingly, committing elegant suicide as they collapse into the arms of the waiting butcher. Every part of this sandwich is the absolute pinnacle of sandwich technology, and this sandwich costs $75,000. There’s just one catch:
The sandwich is incredibly poisonous.
Sure, you could eat it, but you’ll die. Everyone will know it’s the World’s Best Sandwich, but all you can really do with it is display it in a special hermetically-sealed display case, and bring it with you to special events.
The Chiron is like that, but for it, the poison in the sandwich is the real world, the world that prevents anyone from actually driving such a machine to its full potential.
Just look at the history of the Veyron. Even with its aenemic 1200 HP and glacial 240 mph top speed, you’d still think it would have what it takes to be a really competitive racecar. But it wasn’t. Ever. Nobody raced a Veyron.
The only times a Veyron was ever really pushed to its limit was for record-setting runs and the occasional Top Gear stunt. That’s it. The car has no racing heritage, no major victories, no rally successes, no endurance championships, nothing. There’s Ladas out there with richer motorsport pedigree.
Racing isn’t really set up to work with a car like the Veyron or the Chiron. Maybe if the FIA brought back the GT1 class it could work, but as it stands now, there’s nowhere for these cars to do anything that uses their abilities. Ferraris race, McLarens race, hell, sometimes even Lamborghinis race, but no modern Bugattis.
Even if Bugatti did want to race these cars, they’re still incredibly heavy, complex, unproven in the crucible of racing, and insanely expensive. Why would anyone pick one, especially when racing regulations would likely make the racing versions much slower than the showroom car?
So, if you can’t use all that speed and power and torque in competition, you might ask yourself what’s the fucking point? Where can you use all that engineering? Who cares if the car will do 260 mph if no one will ever, ever drive their Chirons that fast?
What Bugatti is building is the second version of their very successful mobile machine designed to broadcast information about extreme wealth. That’s it. That’s all these things do, or will ever do.
The interior is nice and dramatic, but everything could be much more impressive if they put some of the money from the useless drivetrain development into the rest of the car. They could at least give you a better key, for fuck’s sake, especially since that’s what you’ll be waving around in order to get laid.
Shit, maybe they should just sell the key?
I find the Chiron even more frustrating in this regard than the Veyron, because I think the Chiron is a really a striking design. In an ideal world, Bugatti would make a few 1500 HP bonkers-useless Chirons, but then also sell a lesser, much more affordable and useful version, something with basically the same body, but with a V8 or maybe the V10 from the R8. Something just above the R8, around Lamborghini level.
I mean, VAG owns Lambo, too, so at some point this starts to get ridiculous, but a 500-600 HP Sub-Chiron that costs around $200-$250K I think would be great.
The insecure boobs who need to have the best car in the world to hold down the floor of their air-conditioned garages would still buy those, and lesser boobs who actually wanted a compelling car to drive would have an option as well.
Of course, this will never happen, they’ll make a bunch of inane, self-serious versions of the Chiron, every fucking one of them will spend most of their time in garages. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll get lucky and a Chiron may go pelican-chasing into a lake or something exciting like that.
Now that I think about it, driving a Veyron into a lake after a pelican may be the greatest private-owner driving achievement of the car. That’s what the Chiron has to beat: a bigger bird, a bigger body of water, a faster entry.
I believe in you, Chiron. I’m predicting we’ll see a Chiron chase an emu off a bridge over Lake Michigan at about 120 MPH. That will be the moment all that incredible engineering was worth it.
I can’t wait.
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