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Bugatti Chiron

One of the fastest road cars is the Bugatti Chiron which wrings out seemingly effortless power and performance, and it takes something truly special to really raise the bar. The Bugatti Chiron is that kind of special.

This is a car with a spec sheet full of world-conquering numbers: motivated by an 8.0-liter, 16-cylinder powerplant nearly 1,500 horsepower, 1,180 pound-feet of torque, top speed somewhere north of 261 miles per hour (400 km p/hour) and a cost of around €2.4 million to name just a few. But, behind the wheel, the Bugatti Chiron's numbers don't tell even half the story. Bugatti claims that the Chiron makes the dash from zero to 60 mph in a mere 2.3 seconds.

The Bugatti Veyron, predecessor to the Chiron, was introduced as a concept in 1999 to immediate global acclaim, and no shortage of skepticism. Disbelief was a common response to the company's claims that it could produce a car with 1,000 horsepower and a top speed in excess of 250 mph.

But that's exactly what it did, with top brass at parent company Volkswagen saying quite candidly that the car was not being sold to raise profits, but to simply push the boundaries of what was considered possible. That it did and, through numerous iterations and special editions over the years, it continued to be the “de factosledgehammer in a world of ever sharper automotive scalpels.

That power comes from a heavily revised version of the W16 motor found in the Veyron. The 8.0-liter unit now has four turbos that are 69 percent bigger and, thanks to an active exhaust manifold with a flap that opens at 3,700 rpm, the Chiron can duct all its exhaust to just two of those turbos at low speeds to ensure optimal low-speed responsiveness. Once things really get going, though, the valve opens and all four turbos are spun at full song. The result? A whopping 26.8 psi of boost.

To deal with the extra power and speed the car has the requisite bigger brakes, carbon ceramics of course caressed by calipers about the size of an NFL-regulation football. Pistons made of titanium do the squeezing, while complex, ducted heat shields help dissipate the massive heat they generate.

The active rear wing is far larger, running nearly the entire width of the car and swinging through a series of positions, from -10 degrees when fully retracted to 49 degrees when standing at attention in the air brake position. For a top speed run, it sets itself at just 3 degrees.

So, yes, the Chiron is more of everything, and that trend doesn't stop with the cost. The car is priced $2,998,000 in the USA.

Take care!

Prof. Carl Boniface

Vocabulary builder:

Skepticism (n) = cynicism, disbelief, doubt, incredulity, uncertainty, suspicion, distrust, (ant) conviction

Top brass (adj) = people in the highest positions at a company.

de facto (adj) = actual, genuine, effective, existing, real

Iterations (n) = repetitions, restatements, reiterations, duplications

Sledgehammer (n) = mallet, tack hammer, a hammer that is very strong and powerful (large and heavy)


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