It’s not a stripped-out track car – its interior is thoroughly luxurious and impeccably built – yet it’s 77lbs lighter than the Chiron and engineers wisely shaved weight where it truly counts.
Lighter wheels reduce unsprung weight to make the Divo quicker on its feet, for example. Meanwhile, aerodynamic improvements like a 6ft-wide rear wing (23% wider than the Chiron’s) that doubles as an air brake and a redesigned rear diffuser generate the downforce required for the Divo to stay planted on the ground.
Bugatti named the Divo after Albert Divo, an intrepid French pilot who won the Targa Florio road race in 1928 and 1929 in a Type 35, so it’s fitting that I experienced it on a short stretch of the event’s historic route.
Driving on the narrow, olive grove-lined roads linking the abandoned Floriopoli tribune to the Sicilian town of Cerda requires swerving around potholes big enough to fry arancini in and avoiding 30-year old Fiat Panda hatchbacks running amok as lane markings blur into mere suggestions.
Every minute is a theatrical adventure, but it helps that the Divo is shockingly undemanding to drive for a 1479bhp machine that’s wider than a BMW X7. Its steering feels sharper and more communicative than the Chiron’s, so it’s easier to know what the front wheels are doing. Its braking capability (helped by the aforementioned air brake) is at least as impressive as its 0-62mph time.
When the road clears at last, a nudge of the accelerator pedal is all it takes for two of the turbos (and, rather quickly, all four) to spool up with a whoosh reminiscent of an Airbus A330 as the 8.0-litre W16 engine effortlessly catapults the Divo from corner to corner.
I expect this kind of pace from a modern-day Bugatti. What’s surprising is the Divo’s ability to keep it up as it goes around a bend. Less weight, more downforce and purposeful chassis tweaks is a formula that works wonders. And, because the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission spins the four wheels, the tires never grapple for traction.
Whether or not the Divo – the first coachbuilt Bugatti of the 21st century – deserves a spot in your presumably large collection is a moot point. If your name isn’t on the list, it’s too late. Bugatti showed it to its most loyal clients before parading it in front of the champagne-soaked crowd at the 2018 edition of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and they scooped up the 40 cars, each priced at £4.5 million (plus local taxes), in record time.