I could go on, and I will. The passenger cell is carbonfibre, naturally, but now so is the rear subframe/engine carrier. The engine is put in position at Bugatti’s Molsheim factory and the cell and carrier are assembled around it, joined by just 10 titanium bolts. It has, Bugatti says, a torsional rigidity of 50,000Nm per degree, so racing car levels of stiffness.
The other numbers are equally astonishing: 0-62mph in 2.5sec, 0-124mph in 6.5sec, 0-186mph in 13.6sec. And, let’s say, 275mph.
Never forget the 275mph.
Getting settled behind the wheel of the Bugatti Chiron
Oh, one more number: £2,518,000, at the exchange rate as I write. There will be only 500 Chirons made, and the truth of it is that £2.5m each is too cheap. Yes, Bugatti will make money on the project, Dürheimer tells me, but not so much that Volkswagen would necessarily have sanctioned it in the climate the company currently finds itself.
But still, yes, too cheap: it’s £2m before taxes, so multiply that by the 500 and you have £1bn with which to design, engineer, produce and support an entirely new car that is homologated for sale the world over and which must meet the VW Group’s exacting standards for seemingly trivial but no doubt expensive things like keeping its interior cool when it’s hot and clearing the windscreen when it’s cold. It is, after all, just a car.
Bugatti set out to sell 450 Veyrons, and after painting some of them like Ming vases and by getting pianists to put their name to others, eventually it got through them all, but it didn’t make a bean in the process. This time, Dürheimer says, it knows what it’s doing, so already 250 Chirons are sold and he’s confident of selling the rest. In two years’ time, he’ll have to go back to the VW Group board and pitch for a replacement.
This stuff is important. Not because a £2.5m hypercar matters a jot in the greater scheme of things, but because it is inevitable that more mainstream cars will get faster, stronger and more expensive, and with that will come the trickledown, the democratisation, of ultra-expensive materials and processes that the Chiron spearheads.
Among the materials there is leather, obviously, and metal, obviously, and not a lot else inside the Chiron. It feels beautifully assembled because it will be, but the leather covering is firm, not soft, because you’re aware that with weight to save – hey, we’ve 275mph to do – adding tens of kilos of insulation is a premium one cannot afford.
But there are reminders that this is a £2.5m car, as you’d hope. Stitching is lovely and the gaps between materials are nanometre perfect. The world’s longest automotive lighting bar, it says here, swoops around behind you, enhancing a feeling of separation between driver and passenger while splitting the view rearwards in two and making you wonder how they’ll do a convertible and how much floppier it’ll be.
The seats are supportive, not broad, and electrically adjusted, but the cabin feels wide. The steering wheel gets manual adjustment, a start button, a drive mode selector and shift paddles. The handbrake is electronic, the centre console ultra-slim (hence the swoopy bar, to add perceived width and strength down the car’s centre) and covered in a piece of beautifully machined and satin-polished metal, adorned with knobs that turn with the oiliness of those on a top-end hi-fi. There’s still a special key if you want to unlock the full 261mph top speed and not be limited to 236mph, but these days it lives in a socket in the car, so could as well be a button, which would save weight and not look like a metallised fob from a 2006 Skoda Octavia.