Going once, going twice, sold. In Paris, on February 1 the gavel slammed down and esteemed French automotive manufacturer Bugatti smashed another record — this time for the most expensive new car ever sold at auction. Selling as part of a larger RM Sotheby’s auction for an eye-watering €9,792,500 (approx. $10,767,000), the one-of-a-kind Bugatti Chiron Profilée accelerated past the estimate of $4.6m – $5.5m to break the sale record and immortalize itself forever, by gaining a spot in the history books.
There are several reasons this particular Bugatti reached such a high price. First and foremost, it’s one-of-one. Bugatti set out from the start to build 500 Chirons with the total allocation split among several different models like the Chiron, Chiron Super Sport and Chiron Pur Sport.
While the first Chiron Profilée was in initial production, Bugatti sold its 500th build slot and so the Chiron Profilée became the first and only “pre-series” Bugatti Chiron.
In addition to the ultra-limited nature of the Chiron Profilée, this is also the final car ever sold by Bugatti that will feature the now legendary W16 quad-turbo engine, the engineering marvel that features in both the Veyron and Chiron, and helped Bugatti break so many speed records in recent years.
It is the mixture of this extreme exclusivity and the opportunity to play a part in the final moments of the W16 which led to such an astonishing sale price.
The Chiron Profilée features an exclusively developed exterior shape that provides enhanced downforce and improved thermodynamic airflow management.
The exterior of the Chiron Profilée is painted in Argent Atlantique, an exclusive color that was designed specifically for the Profilée while the lower part of the body is painted in Bleu Royal Carbon. This secondary color helps to highlight the supercar’s elegant carbon fiber structure.
To the front of the vehicle, the Chiron Profilée also includes wider air inlets and an enlarged Bugatti “horseshoe” grille, further maximizing the air intake for the engine.
It is partly due to this that the Profilée has the fastest acceleration of all Chiron models, capable of reaching 186 mph in a ridiculous 12.4 seconds. It’s unbelievable statistics like that which have helped Bugatti forge a reputation for dismantling records over the last 20 years.
In 2005, the Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 reignited the production car speed race by breaking the production car land speed record that had been held by the McLaren F1 since 1993.
This record was further bested by the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport and more recently in 2019 by the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+. In that final record, the Bugatti Chiron reached an incredible top speed of 304.7 mph.
However, the record that was broken on February 1 is new territory for Bugatti. As opposed to being a speed record, the RM Sotheby’s auction saw the Bugatti Chiron Profilée crowned as the most expensive new car ever sold at auction.
The word “new” is absolutely crucial: This record is not to be confused with the most expensive car ever sold at auction. That title goes to the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe, which last year sold for a mind-boggling $142m.
While the Bugatti Chiron Profilée still has around $132m before it’s competing for the top spot, its value will no doubt increase over time.
There is an intrinsic part of Bugatti’s design language where they use as little technology as possible on the dashboard. That means analog dials are used for speed, revs and temperature. While looking fantastic, this also helps to futureproof its cars. True to form Bugatti confidently believes that in the coming years, its models will be regarded as classics.
As manufacturers across the industry move towards further electrifying their lineups, and 1500+ bhp all petrol hypercars seem like a thing of the past, it’s difficult to disagree.
By 2093 it’s likely the Chiron Profilée will be looked upon in the same way as we look back today at early cars like the Ford Model T. As opposed to being the first shining beacon of the mass production era, the Profilée represents one of the last of a dying breed, soon to be confined to the history books.