Over the years, the insanely fast (and pricey) Bugatti Veyron has attracted its fair share of haters. But why has this not been the case with the faster and even more expensive Chiron?
|Engine||Power||Torque||0-100kph||Top speed||Weight||Price (as tested):|
|W16, quad-turbo, 7993cc||1500PS (1479bhp) @ 6700 rpm||1600Nm (1180lb ft) @ 2000 rpm||'less than 2.5 seconds"||420kph||1996kg (741bhp/ton)||$3.2m|
We cannot display this galleryThe Bugatti Veyron has become the stuff of motoring legend, recited by every so-called motoring authority. The Veyron, so the story goes, wasn’t a driver’s car but simply a collection of crazy numbers. Now I’m not suggesting that Bugatti wasn’t intentionally chasing headline figures, but like a lot of performance car history, perceived truths become distilled as facts regurgitated at every opportunity. The amusing thing is that more often than not, when questioning those who’ve jumped on the Veyron-hating bandwagon, it quickly becomes evident that they’ve never even sat in one, let alone driven it.
Which is a shame, because as someone who’s been lucky enough to have enjoyed a few stints behind the wheel of a Veyron, I can confirm it was nothing less than extraordinary. It goes without saying that the acceleration was as breath-taking as those lofty numbers would suggest, but there was so much more to the Bugatti than just that. It certainly wasn’t a car that you’d drift out of a hairpin, but it was still highly engaging when attacking your favourite bit of mountain road. Not to mention it did all of this with a refinement and comfort that exceeded what the very best luxury cars could achieve. It combined the straight-line savagery of a Nissan GT-R tuned within an inch of its life, with a level of sophistication that made a Bentley GT look pedestrian.
I’ve often wondered why the Veyron was so maligned. It’s easy to assume it was an irrelevance of excess within the reach of only a handful of the wealthiest of the wealthy, but surely if that was the case then we would see the same derision for LaFerrari and others of its ilk. There’s no argument that the Veyron isn’t as involving as a Carrera GT across a winding road, but then again a Caterham or an Ariel Atom are even more engaging as pure drivers’ cars, yet we still idolize the Porsche. Perhaps where things went wrong for the Veyron was that it was compared to supercars with a more singular purpose, where the Bugatti had a much wider remit as a sort of super GT, a role in which it excelled.
A decade on and the Veyron’s replacement has finally arrived in the shape of the even faster Chiron, and for some inexplicable reason public opinion seems to be more agreeable this time around. Perhaps it’s the wilder styling, or the proclaimed increase in focus on driving dynamics or maybe just because seven-figure price tags and four-figure power outputs are no longer that unusual. Whatever the reason, I’m glad to see the Chiron is being given more of a fair shake than its predecessor. While I’ve yet to get behind the wheel of the new Bugatti, our contemporaries have, and – spoiler alert – it’s pretty incredible. Hopefully this time the Bugatti will take its rightful place amongst automotive royalty.