2018 Bugatti Chiron First Drive: Record Wrecker
– Lisbon, Portugal
You enter a vortex where the trees speed up and then blur around you, and it all happens in a blink. The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s dig their claws into the asphalt, four rubber tornados. The second set of turbos – made 69-percent larger on the Chiron – engage, meaning all four are now helping propel this blistering land rocket through the ether. Countless CPUs fire off data, communicating constantly; 16 cylinders are now deliberately puncturing the surrounding atmosphere; the gears of the seven-speed dual-clutch change without the violence you’d assume, instead composed and confident. You hear a sound which may be the wing raising, meaning you’ve surpassed 112 miles per hour, but by the time that information has registered in your brain, you’re already beyond the electronically limited top speed of most cars. Well beyond.
It’s not that this all happens, but how quickly and shockingly effortlessly it all goes down. This is an experience that must be felt to be truly understood. It simply is unlike anything else that exists today, and perhaps that will ever be again.
Times are changing, tactics are emerging – hybrids, electric motors, new-age trickery – yet the Chiron delivers stomach-sinking acceleration without any of that. Instead, it’s a modern marvel of heat transfer, aerodynamics, and old-school grit. And it’s not just acceleration; it’s seemingly a given to Bugatti engineers that the Chiron will break the speed record for a production car wh...