The Bugatti Chiron’s top speed is 261 mph, but it theoretically could go faster, having been electronically-limited by Bugatti only because there aren’t tires currently manufactured that would be safe at higher speeds. That doesn’t mean 261 in a car isn’t fast, though. Here’s what it looks like on the inside when you’re doing 250-plus.
What’s wild is that the Chiron is going so fast that you really do get a sense of speed. I mean, “getting a sense of speed” isn’t wild at 261 mph in a car, but that the car manages to look like it’s going fast on a runway. Runways are designed for vehicles to be very safe at high speeds, which means they’re designed to have nothing around them to hit. Most of the things that make you “feel” like you’re going fast, visually, are things whizzing past you. But because there’s nothing to hit, there’s nothing whizzing past you.
It’s why so many cockpit top-speed videos are ho-hum. And it’s what makes this one weird, because once they hit the braking point at 261, and the Chiron’s massive brakes start hauling it in, 150 mph – more than 100 mph less than the top speed – looks positively pedestrian. And 150 mph is still damn quick in many a road car.
This went down at Johnny Bohmer’s Proving Grounds in Florida on December 1, where Bohmer uses a 3-mile long, 300-foot wide patch of concrete for testing—there was also a McLaren P1 there that day and a new Ford GT. But as Bohmer says, everyone there was most interested in the 2018 Chiron, for good reason. In the video, you can see driver Tim Schmidt sandbag it for the first half-mile or so before really punching it, the acceleration from 90 mph to 160 mph being especially impressive.