Sunday, March 13, 2016

Bugatti Chiron :The Next-Gen Land Rocket

Records are meant to be broken. Falling under this purview are land speed records. It becomes doubly impressive if the record set by the outgoing, predecessor model is in the crosshairs of the successor model. Talk about raising the bar.

Bugatti Chiron
Bugatti Chiron - Worthy successor to the Veyron's legacy?
The Bugatti Chiron is the latest offering from an exotic brand housed under the marquee umbrella of Volkswagen. Bugatti dates back to the early twentieth century as a maker of high-performance automobiles. Its vehicular models participated in numerous competitive races. Infact, the name Chiron belongs to a race driver ( Read Louis Chiron ) who manned Bugatti's creations in a number of racing seasons.

Bugatti Chiron
Chiron's styling is largely reminiscent of the Veyron
The odds were set against the engineers responsible for the Bugatti Chiron. The predecessor Veyron had set a phenomenal benchmark, which would be a near-unsurmountable challenge if the barriers set by physics were taken into consideration. However, it appears that they have successfully overcome all the odds and created a worthy successor to the legacy of the Veyron.

If the Veyron was often criticised for being lumpy, bulky and awkward, the Chiron appears leaner and meaner. Still carrying the traditional horseshoe Bugatti grille, it sports a new face consisting of eight LED eyes. The rear end of the car is where more dramatic changes have taken place. A long and futuristic-looking LED strip functions as the rear lamp. In addition, there is a mechanically actuated rear wing spoiler which also doubles up as an air brake in its fully-extended position. Chiron has stayed true to the Bugatti design language, which can be compared as a sort of antagonist to the modern sportscar design language. Instead of possessing angled cuts or plain lines, Chiron carries a beastly form accentuated by gentle curves.

Bugatti Chiron Side View
Bugatti has provided a host of two-tone color options
It is being claimed that the Bugatti Chiron's form actually allows for its optimum functioning. Take for example the C-shaped curve along the doors. These curves on both sides also double up as air intakes for the mammoth 8.0 liter W16 engine powering the Chiron to a governed road legal speed of 420 km/h. Nevertheless, form is where the Chiron seems to source inspiration from its predecessor. Underneath this cocoon of form, wider technicalities have been changed to live up to the heights scaled by the Veyron. The massive W16 engine now churns out a scary 1479 bhp. What's even more earth-shattering is the 1600 Nm of torque that is available from a lowly 2,000 rpm all the way upto 6,000 rpm. Bugatti claims that this torque is evenly distributed across all engine speed ranges, thereby ensuring blistering acceleration that fades only at speeds near 400 km/h.

Bugatti Chiron Front Three-Quarters
Bugatti Chiron : Front Three-Quarters View
This, they say, has been made possible by an innovative system of four turbochargers. Two of the turbochargers keep whirring all the time, whereas the other two spin up only when the driver demands brutal acceleration. The whole system sucks in about 60,000 litres of air per minute when running at full whack! To manage the heat generated by these components, the cooling system has been reworked. Now, there are two coolant circuits. The bigger one is responsible for soothing the fiery engine, while the smaller coolant circuit is tasked with keeping the temperatures of the turbocharger and braking systems as well as the interior temperatures under control.

Bugatti Chiron Rear View

To surpass the limits set by Veyron, other aspects of the Chiron have embraced radical steps. Weight is a major factor literally weighing aginst the Chiron in achieving its mark, and therefore efforts had to be made to reduce flab wherever possible. Carbon fibre has assumed paramount importance in constructing the Chiron, with claims pointing out that the total length of the carbon fibre used in making Chiron can circle our planet about eight times. These measures, along with others like a titanium exhaust system, have succeeded in keeping the Chiron's weight under control and enabled it to reach the performance figures set by Veyron. Interestingly, the Chiron weighs almost the same as a Veyron, even though it is longer, wider and taller. For example, the Chiron can launch itself to 100 km/h from standstill in about 2.5 seconds.

Bugatti Chiron Front View
Reminds of a beast that can run over you without hesitation
Bugatti even claims that the Chiron is not just aimed at blazing straight stretches of tarmac. Still untested though, the Chiron could handle upto 1.5g of acceleration forces while cornering. This has been made possible by the giant tyres, measuring 20 inches at the front and 21 inches at the rear. These tyres have been specially crafted for the Chiron, aimed at reducing the running costs. Earlier, the costs incurred on replacing the tyres of the Veyron were prohibitive. In addition, the all new monocoque chassis is nearly as stiff as Formula One cars, says Bugatti. To bring the massive Chiron to a stop when it is hurtling down at lightning speeds, one needs immense braking power. This is provided by the silicon carbide brakes with eight pistons at the front and six at the rear wheels. All these components help in making the Chiron a poweful yet extremely docile and agile-to-handle machine.

Bugatti Chiron Interiors
Never mind! You are stepping into opulence
Chiron's performance specifications scream of an obvious excess, an unmistakable outlandishness. Similarly, the Chiron's interiors are no way behind. They give new meaning to the word opulence. Talk about redefining moving in style. Possessing only two seats, the interior is flush with premium leather. There are numerous instances of precious metals having been used to adore the interiors. One such area is a piece on the steering wheel, which uses metals like silver. Also, there is a one carat diamond fixed on the membrane of each of the four tweeters distributed around the interiors of the car. Bugatti claims they help in making the sound even more crystal clear.

Bugatti Chiron Steering Wheel
Aluminium has been generously used in crafting the interiors
Another notable piece of construction on the interiors involves a light conducting strip that emulates the shape of the external central fin of the Chiron. Partitioning the interior between the passenger and the driver, this strip also houses a few controls for some of the interior functions. The whole interior of the Chiron has been draped in a shade of beige.

One of the important parts of the brand image of the Veyron, as well as the Chiron, is the exclusivity attached to it. Hence, Bugatti plans to produce no more than 500 of such Chirons. Each one is rumoured to cost around 2.6 million euros in the base variant, and mind you, this price doesn't entail taxes and other expenses. Nevertheless, Bugatti stated in the 2016 Geneva Motor Show that orders for the production of about a-third of all the projected Chirons have already been received.

Bugatti Chiron Cockpit
Notice the glowing central strip that divides the cockpit into two halves
We wonder if Bugatti will continue milking the Chiron after the production of these 500 cars by introducing some Special Editions. It seems yes, rather than no. It is being heard that the Chiron is capable of a top speed much higher than the stated 420 km/h limit. Expect Bugatti to perform a full-blown test drive soon. Even till then, the Chiron has now replaced the Veyron as the world's fastest and most exclusive production sports car.