I was having a really hard time caring about the Buggati Centodieci this week. Another special-edition version of an already limited car selling for an ungodly amount of money. Then, I saw that its top speed is 231 mph. And now I’m angry.
The way I see it, Bugatti’s modern reason for being is the top speed record. They Veyron smashed the record and instantly catapulted Bugatti into the modern conscious, known everywhere as the fastest car in the world. Then, when the crown was taken by the SCC Ultimate Aero, Bugatti fired back with the Veyron Super Sports World Record Edition. It managed an absurd 268 mph.
Then they launched the Chiron. With a decade of lessons learned, 300 more horsepower and a big name to live up to, the Chiron should easily be the fastest production care ever made.
Except, Bugatti didn’t do a top speed test. Instead, they limited it to 261 mph. While that’s higher than the limited speed of the Veyron Supersports (258), it’s still below the verified top speed of the previous generation car.
Maybe they wanted to wait until the record was challenged. Why show people what you can do when you’re already in the lead, right? Plus, Bugatti had one extra trick to keep its record safe: Volkswagen, Bugatti’s parent company, owns the only test track with a straightaway long enough to max out a car as fast as the Veyron.
So that explanation made sense until the Koenigsegg came along. Forget a test track, the company just shut down a gigantic stretch of Nevada highway and let the Agera XR rip. It set a record of 278 mph.
Now, lots of people think that the Chiron can probably outrun the Agera XS anyway. I’ve told many people my opinion that the Chiron makes no sense until it beats the Veyron’s record, but everyone says “they’re waiting for a tire to do it” or something like that.
I find that justification absurd. Imagine if Ford launched the next-generation F-150 tomorrow. Let’s say it had a stiffer frame, more powerful engine, better cooling and a heavy-duty drivetrain.
And despite talking about how much capability they added, Ford said they weren’t interested in a max towing test and they would rate the new F-150's capacity 1,000 pounds lower than the old one, even if Ram and Chevy beat them. And then they launched special edition after special edition, celebrating the amazing capability of old Ford trucks.
Nobody would be impressed. Even if they were waiting for the right tire, the right hitch, the right engine, it doesn’t matter. A car’s capabilities are limited by the weakest part.
So if Bugatti doesn’t have a tire that can support the weight of a Chiron beating the world record, they don’t have a car that’s capable of it. I’m sure that they at least have the tire tech to beat the Veyron’s record, so at least make it the fastest Bugatti.
In the meantime, we should stop theorizing about how fast the Chiron can go. You can’t refuse to do a top speed run and just count on us all assuming the car is faster than the competition. Until then, there’s a simple answer to how fast the Chiron can really go: 261 mph. Prove us wrong, Bugatti.
Correction: The current record is held by a Koenigsegg Agera RS, not an Agera XS.