The Veyron was a pure numbers car. It was the winning card in a game of motoring Top Trumps. It had it all didn’t it? The acceleration, the speed, the luxury.
But do those things help you when it comes to a corner? No not really.
It was a heavy lump with a kerb weight of a ridiculous 1995kg (compared to its very distant cousin, the original Beetle which weighed just 800kg) and because of this, shied away from corners. There’s only so much an 8 litre W16 can do when the car is trying to shuffle its weight round a hairpin at the incredible speeds it’s capable of. On top of that the steering wasn’t overly translative and the brakes would soon lose their feel as they started to heat up from the friction of hindering a luxury apartment on wheels.
Though, who am I kidding? The Veyron wasn’t made for a track day, it wasn’t really made to be a performance car by definition. It was an illustration of what Bugatti could achieve. That achievement being a 254mph top speed from a car that you could, plainly, live in.
With the arrival of the Chiron, motoring journalists bit there lips out of anxiety as they read the press release. It’s heavier that its predecessor by 150kg. That may not sound like much of a difference to the average guy, but just imagine lugging a sumo wrestler round with you in the passenger seat all the time.
So what have they done to amend this increase? How does 1479hp and 1600Nm sound? It’s like saying to your sumo friend next to you ‘get out buddy, I’ve got you a Honda Civic Type R to ride in behind me’. That’s a fair trade.
This increase in power results in a 0-60 time of less than 2.5 seconds and a top speed of.. Only 261mph? Easy answer to that one: Bugatti still aren’t finished with it. They say it will reach 300mph, far above and beyond what its predecessor could reach.
Chiron. 0-125mph in 6.5sec? What?
— chris harris (@harrismonkey) February 29, 2016
We’ve established this car is again the winner of Top Trumps in terms of numbers, but again we reach this sticky business of cornering.
This is where Chris Harris from Top Gear comes in. He was given the Chiron for a day to play with in the mountains on the border of Oman and the UAE. The video can be watched here. He says:
“It takes all of about 400 yards of driving in the Chiron to realise that this is a profoundly different car to a Veyron. I suspected and feared it would just be another Veyron with more power. In other words a car that was immensely impressive in a straight line at a very high speed but didn’t really like corners. This car loves corners. In fact, on this road, it demolishes most other cars.”
As Chris threads it through the tight corners of the Arab mountain pass he explains that there are 7 different algorithms overlapped to give the steering the right response. This results in steering you can accurately place, and one of the best electric steering racks Chris has ever driven.
The chassis is more rigid, the brakes in the front are 420mm carbon silicon carbide discs and the aerodynamics are complicated, with four different positions that the rear wing can take. This all adds to the already ridiculous straight line performance to make a car that is truly, to the definition, perfect. But what else would expect from a VW group product.
The final thought from Chris Harris? ‘Mind scrambling’.