The Bugatti Chiron Super Sport is the final gas-powered hurrah for an iconic brand that has been making some of the world’s fastest cars for over 113 years. It is possibly the final great gasp for internal combustion engines and the culmination of a century of excellence at Bugatti, from Grand Prix-winning race cars to ultra-luxe and exquisitely crafted high horsepower behemoths.
Imagine traversing the globe in search of the best car parts and materials (all the glass is from Finland) and while you are at it, finding the best people to put it all together. That is how Bugatti created the Chiron Super Sport. That narrative goes hand in hand with the $3.3m price tag and some of the most ridiculous statistics in automotive history. It is a spectacle that must be seen (or heard) to be believed.
Gushing about the Chiron Super Sport is easy — it is the fastest car in the world. A title Bugatti has held since the release of the Veyron in 2005, apart from 2017/18 when that crown was taken by a Koenigsegg Agera RS. A specialized, unlimited version of the Super Sport retook the throne in 2019 with a record-smashing speed of 304.7 mph that no other car has come close to since.
With no clear and obvious challengers on the horizon and every hyper, super and not-so supercar manufacturer developing hybrid and all-electric vehicles, what’s next for Bugatti?
Well, last summer Bugatti and Croatian electric car manufacturer Rimac joined forces to form Bugatti Rimac. Mate Rimac — the billionaire electric car virtuoso — is now the CEO of Bugatti. So, it would be safe to assume Bugatti is going electric.
A road legal revolution
Since the rise of the combustion engine, the pursuit of speed has captured the hearts and minds of humanity. The current land speed record sits at 760 mph. Unless you have a spare few million for a rocket-powered car, there’s no chance you will get anywhere near that — also, think of the insurance.
The Bugatti Chiron Super Sport is the next best thing. It’s not rocket-powered, but it is road legal. The 8.0-liter, 16-cylinder engine produces almost 1,600hp and makes up a third of the car’s over two-ton weight (4288lbs). Pressing the accelerator will see the car rev high and quickly cycle through the gears. Outside the comfortable confines of the luxurious Chiron interior, the world will begin to blur as you fly through it.
The pleasant countryside of Molsheim — a small French town close to the German border — has been home to Bugatti since it was founded in 1913 and it’s the ideal locale to put the Chiron Super Sport through its paces. Those enjoying a quiet walk through the fields would have been momentarily interrupted by its punchy roar.
What is interesting is that it doesn’t have to roar. Many supercars feel constantly at the edge, chomping at the bit at lower speeds, lurching forward with an engine that screams and bangs. This is not the case with the Chiron. In fact, at lower speeds, it feels perfectly at home gliding through the fields of France with comfort and grace, as if descended from royalty.
It is only when you allow it that the Chiron Super Sport reveals its true colors. A press of the accelerator will see the car surge forward from 0-62mph in 2.4 seconds or from 0-124mph in 5.8 seconds. At this point the Super Sport is still getting warmed up. It is the 0-186mph in 12.1 seconds or 0-249mph in 28.6 seconds where the Chiron truly sings. While only just beaten in 0-60 by some of its hybrid and all-electric counterparts, at any higher speed the Super Sport is untouchable.
While the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport is already within a league of its own, once you sit inside it the gap between the Chiron and its counterparts becomes all the more cavernous. Many supercars have barren, hard, utilitarian interiors designed to save weight, increase speed and improve cornering. In comparison, the Super Sport is palatial.
The Chiron Super Sport is not only designed to be driven, but driven long distances. The plush leather interior is exquisite and impeccably detailed without fault. The strip of metal that runs from the center console — separating driver and passenger — is milled from a single block of aluminum, totally eliminating any seams. There’s useful storage, like a glovebox and door pockets which although trivial, would be missed if not present.
The practicalities don’t end there. When driving, the steering is beautifully weighted and electronically assisted. It’s agile when necessary, yet placid when it suits. When driving straight the wheel has a small amount of play, reducing twitchiness and allowing you to drive with confidence. The speed bump, once the nemesis of all hypercars, is no more than a mild inconvenience. A small twist of a knob on the steering wheel lifts the ride height, allowing the Chiron to cross the bump with the nonchalance of an SUV.
End of an era
The Chiron Super Sport will be the final mainline iteration of the Chiron. Aside from the Bugatti Bolide (a track-only hyper car set to be delivered in 2024), the Chiron Super Sport will be the final all-gas Bugatti. Unless beaten in the next couple of years, it is likely that the Chiron will be the fastest all-gas production car in history, and never bettered.
A brand with a wealth of heritage and prestige like Bugatti could be forgiven for focusing on the past, re-releasing older models as they reminisce about days gone by while their cars become collectibles that are preserved instead of driven. Bugatti is doing the opposite: its ambitions are firmly trained on the future. The formation of Bugatti Rimac is proof of this.
With Mate Rimac at the helm, it is likely that Bugatti will continue its current trajectory. Its next model — most likely a hybrid — could usher in a new dawn of gas-electric superiority. Gazing into the future, an all-electric Bugatti seems certain. It is a possibility some may consider sacrilege. But, in 1931 when founder Ettore Bugatti built his own small car to get around his chateau and factory in Molsheim, it was powered by a small electric motor. As a man who spent his life pushing for perfection, it is likely he would be proud of the new direction of his beloved company.