By on September 3, 2019

When you’re selling a car that starts at just a tick under $3 million, one that’s already regarded as the most powerful and expensive sports car in the world, does more speed really add to the package? Without a supply of rarified air to tap into, this author can only assume that bragging rights grow more important the more a person makes. Why else do wildly affluent people scale Everest only to die on its frigid, oxygen-free slopes?

For Bugatti, maker of the 1,500-horsepower, 16-cylinder Chiron, a speed record crushed under the wheels of a “near production” prototype last month serves only to add additional — and perhaps unnecessary — glitz to the ultimate of halo cars.

With Bugatti test driver and former Le Mans champ Andy Wallace at the wheel, the automaker took a slipperier, pre-production variant of the Chiron to 304.77 mph on a track in Lower Saxony on August 2nd. The automaker hailed the achievement as the first time a near-production vehicle has surpassed the 300 mph barrier.

That speed, it should be noted, is just 7 mph less than the cruising speed of a 1950s Douglas DC-6 airliner, or 451 feet per second. Having added this feat to its CV, Bugatti claimed it will now “withdraw from the competition to produce the fastest serial production cars.”

“Our goal was to be the first manufacturer ever to reach the magic 300-mile-per-hour mark. We have now achieved this – making ourselves, the entire team and myself, incredibly proud,” said Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti, in a statement. “We have shown several times that we build the fastest cars in the world. In future we will focus on other areas.”

While Bugatti’s feat is noteworthy, the 300 mph threshold was first broken by a wheel-driven car in the long-ago year of 1935, after Sir Malcolm Campbell piloted his Blue Bird to 301 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats. That custom-made car used a 36.7-liter supercharged Rolls-Royce aero engine for motivation.

Bugatti didn’t detail the upcoming hypercar, though it did reveal the modifications made to the Chiron variant, including added aero to keep the thing planted, a safety cell for the driver, and reinforced (but still street-legal) Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 high-speed tires. The automaker governs the current Chiron to a measly 261 mph. Wallace claims he brought the car up by 50 km/h increments after reaching the 300 km/h (186 mph) mark.

Overall, Bugatti’s record means even less to the average consumer than hearing that a slightly more attainable production vehicle just set a lap time record for its segment at the Nürburgring. Even if you somehow managed to gather together the coinage needed to purchase a Chiron, attaining the vehicle’s top speed free of worry about a lifetime driving ban and possible death could only be accomplished after extra spending and a special trip to an accommodating stretch of asphalt. Of course, Bugatti has no interest in entertaining normal car buyers.

If you’re an oil-soaked prince’s playboy son, this may be news you can use.

[Images: Bugatti]

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11 Comments on “Bugatti’s Speed Record Just Might Spark Interest in Its Seven-figure Supercars...”

  • avatar


    Which car does Bugatti make that sells for a 6-figure price instead of 7?

  • avatar

    There was a case in BC this year where a wealthy kid complaining on social media about the taxes he had to pay when he bought himself one of these. I guess 5 million plus in Canadian dollars plus the luxury tax cut into his yearly allowance. Boo hoo.

  • avatar

    Who sells tires rated for 300 MPH? I know, i know, if you have to ask…

  • avatar

    Fastest car is not Bugatti. It is Tesla Roadster. It is orbits around Sun at average speed of 53,979 miles per hour.

  • avatar

    The long tail shape and low ride height of this Chiron make it the prettiest car modern-Bugatti has made yet.

    That’s about the only interesting thing about it. A top speed record that was limited by track length at the track with the longest straight in the world is a pretty academic exercise. On real roads that you and I could drive on there is no performance difference between this and a Mustang GT that sells for literally 1% of its price.

    • 0 avatar

      You forget that the fact this thing is so expensive is by itself part of the motivation (can’t quite use the word “reason”) to own one. See: Veblen Goods.

      In the land of 0-60 stoplight racing, it’s indeed pointless. On the right section of Autobahn, such as the San Mateo Bridge, it’ll show up any Mustang that doesn’t have a Chiron’s worth of modifications.

  • avatar

    Impressive, but I wouldn’t touch it unless it gets a Consumer Reports recommendation.

  • avatar

    They are still porkers. I would rather have a Corvette or Viper for a track day car. I guess it needs 1500hp to be quicker than the other cars.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    To take a swipe at the common saying: “Size matters”, I would say: “Speed matters”.

    At least to people who have the money to spend.

  • avatar

    Saw what I think was a Chrion yesterday in my grocery run. Not the first one I’ve seen, but every time you see one you want to break off your route and chase it down.

    I am quite cool with their marketing, they have some groundbreaking cars, and if I had the extra bling I’d be signing up in a minute, or maybe I’d just buy 5 new Corvettes for the kids and grandkids. I hardly call these cars “porkers”

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