Bugatti Chiron review: 'Oh, I’m sure Richard Hammond could roll it down a hill, but for the rest of us it’s a doddle'

SEVERAL years ago I reviewed the Bugatti Veyron and was a bit gushing.

I marvelled at the engineering in that car and reckoned that, because of the relentless war on speed and internal combustion, we would never see its like again.

But despite all the odds, Bugatti has come up with a replacement.

It costs £2.5m, it’s called the Chiron and somehow it is even faster than the Veyron.

It has a top speed of 261mph, which means it’s covering more than 125 yards a second. You know the Apache helicopter gunship? It’s faster than that.

The 8-litre engine is partly the reason for this almost unbelievable pace. It has 16 cylinders arranged in a “W” formation and it’s force-fed by four turbochargers.

The result is a say-that-again 1,479 brake horsepower. Yup, 1,479 brake horsepower.



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But equally important is the body and the way it lowers itself and changes its angle of attack the faster you go.

You don’t know this is going on from behind the wheel. Because you are too busy watching the road ahead and thinking, with very wide eyes: “This is f****** ridiculous.”

Last week I drove the Chiron, not just for a couple of laps round a racetrack under the watchful gaze of a minder, but all the way from St Tropez to the border with Switzerland and then to Turin

The speed is beyond anything you can even possibly imagine.

There is nothing made by any mainstream car maker that could hold a candle to the Chiron. A McLaren P1 doesn’t even get close.

And it’s not just the speed in a straight line that leaves you breathless and scared. It’s the pace coming out of the corners.

It’s acceleration and G-force so vivid, you can actually feel your face coming off. It’s speed that hurts.

But it’s never difficult. Oh, I’m sure Richard Hammond could roll it down a hill, but for the rest of us it’s a doddle.

There are no histrionics. The exhaust system doesn’t pop and bang. The engine doesn’t shriek.

There are no aural gimmicks at all. And everything you touch is either leather or metal. Unless it’s the badge. That’s sterling silver.

If Rolls-Royce were to make a mid-engined supercar, it would feel something like this, I suspect.

The downside of this comfort and luxury is that it doesn’t really behave like a mid-engined supercar.

It doesn’t flow. There’s no delicacy. There’s no peace. It’s all action.

This, then, is not a car for serious drivers. It feels heavy, and that’s because it is. It feels as if it’s volcanic.

It doesn’t even look like a traditional mid-engined supercar. It looks important and statesmanlike. From some angles — the back, especially — it appears ugly.

And that’s what this car is all about. It’s not driving pleasure. It’s not aesthetics. It’s just man looking at nature, rolling up his sleeves and saying: “Do you want some?”

This car doesn’t challenge the laws of physics. It bludgeons them. It is an engineering marvel, because like all other engineering marvels it’s an affront to God.

Read the full Clarkson review on our sister site

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