Lego Bugatti Chiron

Lockdown Lego project: we build a £330 Bugatti Chiron

Lego Bugatti ChironWe’ve only gone and got ourselves a Bugatti Chiron to test. OK, it’s not the actual, 1,500hp, £2 million hypercar. Nor when you buy a real Chiron, does Bugatti ask you to build it yourself.

We are, of course, talking about the Lego Technic Bugatti Chiron – and it’s very nearly as cool as the real thing. It’s a great project to fill your time during lockdown.

Motoring Research’s photo and video guru, Bradley, fancied himself as a junior Bugatti technician, so we handed the Bug-build over to him.

The car is comprised of 3,599 individual pieces, contained within six boxes. The process is spread over 970 steps and took Bradley more than 15 hours to complete – handily caught on video and condensed into 16 minutes here.

This project might seem nightmarish to some, but Bradley really enjoyed it. And seeing the finished Lego car – a sizeable 560mm long, 250mm wide and 140mm tall – makes all his efforts seem worthwhile. It looks fantastic.

The attention to detail is stunning, from the LED light clusters at the front to the tan interior and engine with working pistons. Drive, reverse or neutral gear options dictate how those pistons leap around in the cylinders as you roll along.

There’s even a Bugatti-branded overnight bag under the bonnet.

At the back, the real magic happens. A ‘key’, modelled on an actual Chiron key, can activate the rear wing and air brake.

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Our Chiron comes with its very own serial number, as they all do, which can be used on the Lego Technic website to unlock special content.

Next up, we’re hoping to tackle James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5. That should pass another day or two in isolation…


Opinion: top speed records are still relevant

Speed records are still relevant

Some time has passed since Bugatti broke the 300mph barrier with its special Chiron prototype. Now legitimised as the Super Sport 300+, the limited run has been allocated, finally shutting down all the ‘it’s not a production car’ onlookers.

In that time, I’ve had a chance to mull over the questions we all ask ourselves whenever a new top speed record is set. Do I care? Is it relevant? Does it matter?

There’s the practical side of things where these sorts of achievements are relevant. A car that travels at such speed requires the strongest tyres in the world, the most efficient cooling in the world, the cleanest aerodynamics in the world. All cars benefit from advances in these areas, eventually.

Then there’s the philosophical relevance. A great many online naysayers have said ‘no’, ‘no’ and ‘no’ to all of the above. I did find myself wondering if that was the case. Then I thought back to headline-grabbing top speeds of the past and my reaction at the time.

Speed records are still relevant

In 2005, when the Veyron did the business at 253mph and cemented itself in the history books, it also threatened Year Six friendships as debate raged over whether it was the greatest car ever made.

With the Super Sport in 2010, again, Bugatti reaffirmed itself as the undisputed king of speed, and on top of dominating at Ehra Lessien, dominated whispered conversations during my GCSE graphics class for a week.

Then, when Koenigsegg set a two-way record at 277mph, hitting 284mph along the way, it was a spine-tingling moment. Scenes of Koenigsegg boffins wearing big headsets celebrating in the Nevada desert reminded us of mission control when Mr Armstrong took one small step.

These VMAX figures have a significance beyond all else. Would the McLaren F1 command the respect – and values – it does today, had it not years at the top of the speed tree to its name? What makes the Veyron quite as legendary as it is, besides that world-beating record?

Speed records are still relevant

Let’s look at other metrics by which we measure cars. Acceleration, while impressive, is much of a muchness these days. A decade and a half ago, getting to 62mph in under four seconds was the preserve of the most exotic six-figure machinery.

These days, with the wind blowing the right way, you can do that in a hybridised Porsche SUV or an Audi hot hatch. Some high-performance electric cars are knocking at the back gates of two seconds to 62mph. Pretty soon, the physics of current tyres won’t let them get there any quicker.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy incredibly rapid modern cars, or the fact that hypercar-level performance in this sense is now widely available. It is, however, precisely the mass production of this performance metric that knocks the wind out of any mythical feel the very fastest accelerators had. Would Formula 1 be Formula 1 if every other road car could set comparative lap times? Not likely.

Speaking of lap times, let’s talk about the Nurburgring. Okay, they’ve never been worth much more than the A4 sheet the press release was printed on, but today, strong performance credentials at the ‘Green Hell’ are less of a commodity than ever before. That Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, once it’s beaten a 15 year old 911 GT3 to 62mph, could probably munch it round the Nordschleife, too.

Cars have outgrown these units of measurement. They’ve near as makes no difference ‘completed’ them. As such, performance so-measured nonpluses me, at least in comparison to VMAX.

Speed records are still relevant

Top speed is the game that never gets old – the final automotive frontier. More speed is always possible, with more power, cleverer tyres and cleaner aerodynamics. It’s quite literally the very limit of what a car can achieve. It’s that level of performance, and the engineering it demands, that still remains beyond the attainability of mere mortal.

It’s the preserve of a certain calibre of car and a certain calibre of driver. Yes, you can get to 62mph in a contemporary BMW M5 quicker than in a Ferrari F50. What an M5 won’t do, is catch a Veyron at the top end, or a McLaren F1, or a Koenigsegg.

These are cars at the very top of the food chain, headed by that mightily impressive Chiron SS 300. Scoff all you want, it’s the speed king, and it changed the conversation.

Records like this change our silly little car world in ways no other performance metric can. They’re once, twice, three times in a generation, if we’re lucky. Most importantly, it’s the metric that still musters that child-like wonder in all of us. It stretches our imaginations. It reminds us all just how impassioned we are with these machines. 

Speed records are still relevant

I envied the young car lovers of today the day they read the headlines about the Chiron. Then I realised I shouldn’t have, because I remember exactly how it felt, not only from when the past masters did their thing, but because it broke my adult cynicism and mustered that same feeling all over again. Not to mention the heated debates between my colleagues, friends and I.

I was right there with them, along with many others, staring in wonder and muttering ‘wow’ under my breath.

For that, this record, those that came before, and those that are still to come, are invaluable, and more relevant than ever before. It’s a shame, then, that shortly after setting this one, Bugatti bowed out. I do wonder how long that abstinence will last. Over to you, Mr Koenigsegg.

There’s a new all-electric baby Bugatti for KIDS

Bugatti Baby II electric Bugatti

Bugatti’s 110th birthday present to itself is a very special recreation. It’s not the sort of thing you’ll find gathering dust in an underground collection, however. Meet Baby II, the second scaled-down Bugatti for kids, that’s a 75 percent scale replica of the Type 35.

“When a company with such a colourful and proud history as Bugatti turns 110, you can allow yourself to look into the rearview mirror a little bit more than you usually would,” said Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti.

“Thus, it is only fitting for our anniversary year to revive the Bugatti Baby. 

Bugatti Baby II electric Bugatti

“The Bugatti Baby II has grown up to be more of a teenager now, and I must say I’m very excited to see it drive around on the Bugatti premises in Molsheim.”

Bugatti partnered with The Little Car Company to bring this next development of the baby to life. The XP1 prototype is now ready for testing by VIPs at Bugatti’s Molsheim home.

This iteration is a fair bit bigger than the 50 percent scale model revealed at Geneva. As a result, it can now take older drivers and passengers now, too.

It has got a sliding pedal box to accommodate people of all sizes, so more senior family members can come along for the ride.

An all-electric Bugatti

Bugatti Baby II electric Bugatti

You won’t find a historic straight-8 or a monstrous quad-turbo W16 under the bonnet of this miniature from Molsheim. The Baby II is currently the only electric Bugatti. It packs lithium ion batteries and even has regenerative braking.

Still true to the Type 35 are the iconic wheels, and the four-spoke steering wheel. Where once there was a rev counter, oil and fuel pressure gauges, there is now a speedo and battery level indicator.

There’s also a power gauge that tells you how much power you’re using. Just like in a Veyron or a Chiron. The fuel pump has been repurposed as a forward and reverse selector. A horn, rear-view mirror, handbrake and headlights also feature.

Bugatti Baby II electric Bugatti

Performance is impressive for what it is. ‘Child mode’ sees the top speed limited to 12 mph, while ‘adult mode’ gets you up to 27 mph. Power for the respective modes is a respective 1.3 horsepower and 5.3 horsepower.

Very cool is the fact that some will come with a Veyron and Chiron-style ‘Speed Key’ to unlock even more performance. Ask for the ‘Vitesse’ or ‘Pur Sang’ specs for that.

It’s even got a limited-slip diff, which is actually a worthy addition given the all-electric torque. The larger 2.8 kWh battery will give the baby a range of over 20 miles, while there is also a 1.4 kWh pack available. 

Bugatti Baby II electric Bugatti

Those buying a Baby for their little escape artist will take comfort in knowing that you can also get a remote control, to shut the baby off from a range of up to 50 metres.

As per the reveal at Geneva, 500 are to be built and they all sold out within three weeks of the show. For your minimum of €30,000, you can get your Baby II in a variety of colour options, though French Racing Blue is the standard spec. Production starts early next year.

Bugatti is first to break the 300mph barrier

Bugatti Chiron 300mph

Bugatti is officially back as the king of speed. Driving a specially-prepared Chiron, race ace Andy Wallace burst through the 300mph barrier, achieving a top speed of 304.77mph at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien test-track.

It beats the official 277mph record that Koenigsegg scored two years ago with the Agera RS. 

The 300mph Bugatti

Bugatti Chiron 300mph

As you can tell by looking at the pictures, this is no ordinary Chiron (if any Chiron could be called ‘ordinary’). It features extensive modifications, both visible and under the skin, to make it a 300mph car.

At such speeds, the air is your enemy. To help defeat it, the Chiron has modified bodywork, including a 250mm longer tail with a reduced cross-section for increased stability.

Stacked quad exhausts protrude from the rear, to keep the hot gasses from interrupting airflow. These were also seen recently on the Bugatti Centodieci ‘EB110 tribute’, revealed at Pebble Beach. 

Bugatti Chiron 300mph

Speaking of interrupting airflow, this is the first Bugatti of the modern era without any sort of spoiler, active or fixed. The Chiron’s hydraulic item has been ditched to save weight. At the front, the horseshoe grille is engorged, along with the flanking vents, to suck in as much air as possible and cool the Chiron’s many radiators.

The front wheelarches evacuate air through new vents in the bodywork. The ones on the top, in particular, are very reminiscent of the EB110 SS.

Those radiators have more work to do than ever. The 8.0-litre quad-turbo W16 engine in this prototype produces 1,600hp. That power goes to all four wheels via the regular Chiron transmission. On the inside, the passenger seat has been removed, although we don’t expect any production version to be a single-seater.

Bugatti Chiron 300mph

When the Chiron was first revealed, Bugatti seemed nonplussed about speed records. The car could top 260mph, but was electronically limited. It dismissed questions about an attempt, saying tyres were the limiting factor.

Clearly that’s no longer the case. Michelin has been working closely with the marque on the triple-tonne project over the past six months.

Bugatti Chiron 300mph

As for what this new Chiron actually is, it’s not clear. At the moment, it’s a one-off. Bugatti refers to it as ‘a near-production derivative of the hyper sportscar Chiron’, so we can probably expect a limited run soon, akin to the Veyron Super Sport of 2010.

You can bet Bugatti’s sales team are already fielding phone calls from people whose bank balances have more digits than their phone numbers… 

Extreme machines: the story of Bugatti

The story of Bugatti

Bugatti hogged the limelight at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show with not one but two high-profile unveilings. Not content with launching the world’s most expensive new car, the brand also unveiled a special edition to celebrate its 110th anniversary.

With this in mind, we take a look back at some of the highlights of this famous automotive marque.

Ettore Bugatti

The story of Bugatti

Ettore Arco Isidoro Bugatti was born in Milan on 15 September 1881 and was the oldest son of Carlo and Teresa Bugatti. His father, Carlo, was a renowned and award-winning artist and designer, especially famous for his furniture.

Having finished school, Ettore Bugatti became an apprentice at the bicycle manufacturer Prinetti & Stucchi. Just a year later, at the age of 17, he fitted an engine to a tricycle and experimented with a number of other models.

Ettore Bugatti

The story of Bugatti

Another year passed before Ettore, pictured here later with one of his sons, Roland, built his first four-wheeled motor car. Named the Type 2 and produced with financial support from Count Guinelli, it won top prize at an exhibition and caught the eye of the famous De Dietrich family in Alsace.

In 1902, Ettore became head of technology at De Dietrich’s automobile division, where he developed a number of cars and entered many races. One such car was the Type 5: a chain-driven, upgraded version of the Type 2, with a 12.9-litre engine. Soon, Eugene de Dietrich grew tired of Bugatti’s focus on racing and his contract was terminated. His next role was to design a car with a four-cylinder engine for Emil Mathis in Strasbourg.

Jean Bugatti

The story of Bugatti

In 1907, Ettore Bugatti developed a 50hp car of his own and offered it to the Deutz engine factory in Cologne. The car was manufactured under licence and Bugatti became head of production. As a sideline, Bugatti was working on his own lightweight race car in his cellar.

Bugatti married in 1907 and, two years later, his wife Barbara gave birth to Jean (pictured), who would later follow in his father’s footsteps, designing a number of vehicles of his own. He also took charge of the Bugatti racing team from 1935.

Bugatti Type 13

The story of Bugatti

When Bugatti terminated his contract with Deutz in 1909, he took his severance pay and leased an old dyeworks building in Molsheim, Alsace. The company was called Automobiles Ettore Bugatti and would it become one of the most famous car brands in the world.

The Type 10 of 1910 was the first ‘Pur Sang’ (pureblood) car developed by Bugatti and was essentially a prototype of the Type 13 (pictured). Here we see Ernest Friderich at the 1911 French Grand Prix, where he finished second on his first attempt. The tiny eight-valve Type 13 achieved this remarkable result against a field of illustrious competitors, many with larger engines.

Bugatti Type 18

The story of Bugatti

The Type 18 – nicknamed the ‘Black Bess’ – was one of the most important Bugattis of the pre-war era and one of the first street-legal race cars. With a top speed of 100mph it was one of the fastest vehicles in the world, which is why it attracted the attention of aviation pioneer, Roland Garros.

He was one of only seven customers for these 5.0-litre, 100hp road rockets. The Type 18 inspired the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse ‘Black Bess’, which was limited to three models, each one with a price tag of €2.15 million.

Peugeot Bébé

The story of Bugatti

The Peugeot Bébé was developed by Bugatti but manufactured by Peugeot and was hugely a significant vehicle for both companies. For Bugatti it was its most successful model to date, while it was also the first Peugeot to break the 3,000-unit mark.

The little four-cylinder could reach a top speed of 60km/h (37mph) and was extremely economical to run.

Bugatti Type 13

The story of Bugatti

Bugatti’s first big win at the Grand Prix de la Sarthe in Le Mans came courtesy of the Type 13. Production began in 1914 and resumed in 1919 following the end of the First World War.

Various versions were produced, with the post-war Type 13 nicknamed ‘Brescia’ having dominated the 1921 Brescia Grand Prix, winning the top four spots.

Bugatti Type 29/30

The story of Bugatti

Although car production ceased during the First World War, the Molsheim factory wasn’t left idle. Bugatti developed several airplane engines for the French and American governments, with the proceeds enabling the company to resume automobile production in 1919. Indeed, the number of employees rose to more than 1,000.

In 1921, the Type 28 was built as a prototype, but the large number of patents applied for paved the way for all subsequent Bugatti developments. The following year, Bugatti launched the Type 29/30 (pictured), its first eight-cylinder race car. It achieved a power output of around 80hp and boasted a shape reminiscent of a cigar.

Bugatti Type 32

The story of Bugatti

Bugatti’s first touring car, the Type 30, arrived in 1922 and some 600 units were built between 1922 and 1926. A year later, the revolutionary Type 32 arrived (pictured), which featured a bodyshell with a wing-shaped cross-section. Unfortunately, it was a tricky car to drive, while the shape generated lift rather than downforce.

It was nicknamed the ‘Tank’ thanks to its resemblance to the tanks used in the First World War and it introduced the concept of aerodynamics to motorsport. Although it wasn’t a successful racing car, it did manage a third place at the 1923 French Grand Prix.

Bugatti Type 35

The story of Bugatti

The Veyron and Chiron might be Bugatti’s pin-up models of today, but they owe a great deal to the legendary Type 35. It arrived in 1924 and kickstarted the golden age of Bugatti, securing more than 2,000 race victories over a 10-year period. It was, without question, the most successful race car the world had ever seen. It picked up five consecutive wins at the Targa Florio alone.

It was also effortlessly beautiful, complete with the now iconic ‘horseshoe’ radiator grille and spoked aluminium wheels. Later, in 1926, the hugely successful Type 40 arrived, along with the news that Bugatti would begin offering factory bodyshells from its factory in Molsheim.

Bugatti Type 41 Royale

The story of Bugatti

If the Type 35 should go down in history as one of the world’s most successful race cars, the Type 41 Royale is arguably one of the most extravagant. In both size and displacement it was huge – a 15ft wheelbase and 12.7-litre eight-cylinder engine – but it arrived at the wrong time.

As the Great Depression shook the world, Bugatti was left with a huge problem. Of the six built, only three were sold to customers and the Royale nearly bankrupted the firm. The first Royale built for a customer sold in 1932 for an incredible 700,000 francs.

Bugatti Type 50

The story of Bugatti

Meanwhile, life went on in Molsheim. The fourth and fifth Targa Florio victories were secured in 1928 and 1929, while William Grover drove a T35B to victory in the 1929 Monaco Grand Prix – the first time Bugatti had triumphed at the famous street circuit.

The Type 50 (pictured) arrived in 1930 and was essentially a sporting coupe version of the Type 46. It was significantly more powerful, boasting 225hp at 4,000rpm, rather than the 160hp at 3,500rpm offered by the 46S.

Bugatti Type 51

The story of Bugatti

How do you follow one of the most successful race cars of all-time? A tough ask and in reality the Type 51 wasn’t up to the challenge. It arrived in 1931 and the signs were good when Louis Chiron drove car number 22 to victory at the 1931 Monaco Grand Prix. But it proved to be a false dawn and the Type 51 was unable to emulate the success of the Type 35.

Also in 1931, Bugatti made its factory team debut at Le Mans. The Type 50s driven by Chiron and Varzi, Divo and Bouriat, and Conelli and Rost were painted black following a disagreement between Ettore Bugatti and the motorsport authorities. Bugatti refused to race in French Racing Blue.

Bugatti Type 55

The story of Bugatti

The achingly beautiful Type 55 was designed by Jean Bugatti and was essentially a touring car with a Grand Prix engine. It used the 2.3-litre supercharged engine from the Type 51 and could be ordered in both two-seat roadster and coupe ‘faux cabriolet’ forms.

A total of 38 units were built between 1931 and 1935.

Bugatti Type 53

The story of Bugatti

The Veyron and Chiron send power to all four wheels, but up until 1932 Bugatti had never experimented with four-wheel drive. The Type 53 Four-Wheel Drive was the first and only car of its kind designed by Ettore Bugatti.

It’s a little known fact that Ettore Bugatti also experimented with electric power. The Type 56 used the electric car to drive around the Molsheim factory. Although it was never intended for production, it is believed that six were built.

Bugatti Type 59

The story of Bugatti

In 1932, Jean Bugatti took over as head of the racing team and design division. He designed many new models, including the Type 59 as seen here. In 1976, Motor Sport magazine claimed that to many people this is the most beautiful race car built by Bugatti and it’s certainly an elegant machine.

By now, Ettore was losing interest in racing and the Bugatti team was no longer competitive. The Type 59 used an enlarged version of the 3.3-litre engine found in the Type 57 and was Bugatti’s final race car of the 1930s. By Bugatti’s own admission, the Type 59 was technically outclassed.

Bugatti Type 57

The story of Bugatti

But if Bugatti’s influence within motorsport was dwindling, it was becoming a major force in the luxury sector. The iconic Type 57 was designed by Jean Bugatti and arrived at the 1934 Paris Motor Show.

For the first time, a Bugatti could be ordered in C, S and SC variants from the factory. Approximately 950 units were built between 1934 and 1939.

Bugatti Type 57S and 57SC

The story of Bugatti

Of all the Type 57 models, the S and SC are the most desirable. S stood for ‘Surbaissé’ (lowered), while C stood for ‘Compressor’, denoting Bugatti’s supercharger.

The 57S’s chassis was 32cm shorter than the Type 57 with a ground clearance of just 12cm. Power was increased too, with the S achieving 170hp, 35hp more than the standard Type 57. The Atalante (pictured) was based on the S chassis but with a single-piece windscreen and no fin. It is regarded as one of Jean Bugatti’s finest creations.

Bugatti Type 57G

The story of Bugatti

And now for something completely different… The 57G ‘Tank’ was the only Bugatti race car to achieve multiple successes in the latter half of the 1930s, with victories at Le Mans and the French Grand Prix.

At the 1937 Le Mans, Jean-Pierre Wimille set a new lap record speed of 148.98km/h and broke the distance record in the 23rd hour, securing Bugatti’s first Le Mans victory in the process. Three 57Gs were built and only one is thought to have survived.

Bugatti Autorail

The story of Bugatti

The huge 12.5-litre engine from the Bugatti Royale found an unlikely new home in the form of the Bugatti Autorail of 1932. Bugatti offered to build high-speed train for the French national rail authority in 1931 and won the tender in the face of fierce competition.
Jean Bugatti drove the Autorail on its official test runs at Gallardon, before setting a new record speed of 166km/h on a 24km stretch of track near Le Mans. In 1934, the Autorail achieved a speed of 192km/h over 6km.

Bugatti Type 101

The story of Bugatti

The end of the 1930s signalled the end of the boom years for Bugatti. In 1936, a strike at the Molsheim factory placed a wedge between Ettore Bugatti and the workers, with the boss deciding to work almost exclusively in Paris and reducing the pay of his employees in Alsace.

Three years later, Jean Bugatti died during a test drive, while a year later, the German occupying forces instructed Ettore Bugatti to sell the factory to Hans Trippel for 150 million francs. Ettore died in 1947, with Pierre Marco put in charge. The Type 101 (pictured) was merely a Type 57 with a few modifications.

Bugatti Type 251

The story of Bugatti

The Type 251 of 1955 represented the last hurrah for ‘old’ Bugatti. By now, the company was focusing on maintenance for old vehicles and engines for the military, rendering the Type 251 little more than a footnote at the end of an exceptional book.

The Gioacchino Colombo-designed Type 251 was entered in the 1956 French Grand Prix but was forced to retire after 18 laps. Bugatti ceased production in 1956, by which time it had built approximately 7,900 cars. The famous brand would sleep for many years…

Period of change

The story of Bugatti

In 1962, the Schlumpf brothers used Hugh Conway’s list of Bugatti owners to acquire 50 cars, before snapping up a further 18 cars owned by the Bugatti family. This collection included the Royale owned by Ettore himself.

In 1963, Bugatti was bought by Hispano-Suiza, which renamed the company Messier-Bugatti. Twenty-four years later, Romano Artioli purchased the rights to the trademark and company and moved Bugatti to Campogalliano, near Modena.

Bugatti EB 110

The story of Bugatti

In 1991, exactly 110 years after the birth of Ettore Bugatti, the company was back. The EB 110 was as innovative and evocative as its forebears, boasting a quad-turbocharged V12 engine, permanent four-wheel drive and the world’s first carbonfibre chassis.

It also shared something in common with the Type 41 Royale, arriving at a time when the world was plunged into a deep recession. It meant that few people could afford to pay the extravagant price tag.

Bugatti EB 110 SS

The story of Bugatti

Predictably, Romano Artioli’s vision of a new future for Bugatti failed to materialise and the company was declared bankrupt. But that wasn’t before Bugatti was able to build the Super Sport, the ultimate version of the EB 110.

In this guise, the EB 110 SS could achieve a top speed of 195mph, so it’s little wonder that Michael Schumacher purchased a yellow car in 1994. He kept it until 2003.

Bugatti EB 118

The story of Bugatti

With Bugatti Automobili filing for bankruptcy in 1995, it was left to German sports car manufacturer, Dauer Racing GmbH to pick up the pieces. Production of the EB 110 continued, with a further 10 models completed.

Volkswagen acquired the rights to the brand in 1998 and unveiled the EB 118 in October of that year. The 18-cylinder, Giorgetto Giugiaro-designed four-seat coupe paved the way for one of the most famous cars of the new millennium.

Bugatti EB 18.4 ‘Veyron’

The story of Bugatti

Three more design studies followed in 1999: the EB 218 four-door saloon, the EB 18.3 and, finally, the EB 18.4 (pictured).

This was the closest hint yet that a formidable hypercar was waiting in the wings. In 2000, the 16.4 concept arrived, based on the 18.4 and powered by a 16-cylinder, 630hp W engine. It was named after the French racing driver, Pierre Veyron.

Bugatti Veyron 16.4

The story of Bugatti

In 2001, Volkswagen announced that it would be putting a 1,001hp hypercar into production and that manufacturing would take place at Bugatti’s rightful home in Alsace. To this end, the company refurbished the traditional company’s HQ in Molsheim, calling it ‘The Studio’.

Production of the Veyron 16.4 commenced in 2005, with the new Bugatti pushing the boundaries of what was expected from a modern supercar. With a top speed of 400km/h and a 0-62mph time of sub three seconds, the Veyron was a true game-changer.

Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport

The story of Bugatti

In 2008, Bugatti chose the Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach to launch the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport. Chassis number one was sold for $3.2 million.

To mark the centenary of Bugatti in 2009, the company unveiled four ‘Centenaire’ models, paying tribute to the Type 35. The cars were presented in the colours of the countries that dominated motorsport of the era: blue for France, red for Italy, green for Britain and white for Germany.

Bugatti 16 C Galibier concept

The story of Bugatti

Bugatti unveiled the 16 C Galibier concept with a promise to build “the most exclusive, elegant, and powerful four-door automobile in the world”. Sounds a little like the Type 41 Royale, then?

It name stems from a complex Alpine pass and a version of the Type 57. Sadly, we’re yet to see a modern-day Bugatti four-door…

Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport

The story of Bugatti

That’s because Bugatti was focused on pace rather than grace. In June 2010, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport broke the speed record for production cars, achieving a top speed of 431.072km/h (267.86mph).

The Super Sport develops 1,200hp and remains the fastest production car on the planet.

Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse

The story of Bugatti

The Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse was unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show and is essentially an open-top version of the Super Sport. At 408.84km/h (254.04mph) it is the official fastest production roadster in the world.

When news of dieselgate broke, it was thought that development of future Bugatti models might be halted…

Bugatti Chiron

The story of Bugatti

At the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, Bugatti unveiled the Chiron: the world’s first production car with 1,500hp. “Ready for a new world speed record”, said Bugatti when the firm released the performance figures. Even at a base price of €2.4 million, Bugatti had secured advance orders for a third of the total production of 500 units.

In June 2017, Bugatti London welcomed the first Chiron customer car in the UK, painted in the launch colours of the world premiere Chiron. Early in the year, Bugatti announced that half of the total series had already found a buyer – even without test drives.

Bugatti Chiron Sport

The story of Bugatti

Two years after the launch of the original Chiron, Bugatti followed it up with the Chiron Sport. It retains the 1,500hp powertrain, but Bugatti has developed a dynamic handling package and reduced the weight of the Chiron by 18kg to deliver higher cornering speeds and greater agility.

Even without any extra power, the Chiron Sport can lap the Nardo handling circuit a full five seconds faster than the ‘standard’ Chiron. The Chiron Sport is distinguished by a new wheel design and four-pipe exhaust deflector, and is the first car to boast carbon fibre windscreen wipers. That’s one for your next pub quiz.

The 100th Chiron

The story of Bugatti

In March 2018, Bugatti celebrated the production and delivery of the 100th Chiron. Its lucky owner opted for a striking combination of dark blue carbon in a matt finish and a red side line. The owner paid a cool €2.85 million (£2.45 million) for the landmark Chiron.

Stephan Winkelmann, Bugatti president, said: “I find the 100th Chiron especially pleasing. It is dynamic and elegant in equal measure. This car shows that Bugatti produces highly individualised masterpieces of automobile craftsmanship that are simply unparalleled.”

Bugatti Divo

The story of Bugatti

Even if you could afford the €5 million (£4.3 million) price tag, you couldn’t get your hands on the Bugatti Divo. Not unless you were one of the 40 customers selected by Bugatti. By the time the world got wind of the Divo, each one had already been spoken for.

Again, the power output is the same as the Chiron, but the Divo is 35kg lighter and has 90kg more downforce than its sibling. The result is that this stiffer, lighter, more hardcore and ultra-exclusive Bug’ can lap the Nardo circuit eight seconds faster than the Chiron and can hit a top speed of 236mph.

The Lego Chiron

The story of Bugatti

In the summer of 2018, Bugatti teamed up with Lego to produce a 1:8 scale hypercar kit comprising no fewer than 3,599 pieces. It costs a whole lot less than the real thing, and unlike the Divo, you don’t require a special invitation to buy it.

Five months later, Bugatti unveiled a driveable full-size version of the Lego Technic Chiron. The model consists of one million Lego bricks, more than 90 percent of which are Lego Technic pieces. Top speed: 20km/h (12.4mph).

Bugatti Chiron Sport ‘110 ans Bugatti’

The story of Bugatti

Unveiled in February 2019 and launched to the public at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, the Chiron Sport ‘110 ans Bugatti’ celebrates 110 years of Bugatti and pays tribute to France.

The French tricolour can be found on the door mirrors, across the fuel filler cap and the underside of the rear wing. The theme continues on the inside, with the French flag embroidered on the headrests, and used to denote the ‘12 o’clock’ mark on the steering wheel.

Bugatti La Voiture Noire

The story of Bugatti

The Bugatti La Voiture Noire pays tribute to the Type 57 SC Atlantic and is the most expensive new car ever built. Once again, the Chiron is the base car, but a long sprawling nose apes the Atlantic, while there are plenty of hints of the track-prepared Divo, too.

At the back, you’ll find six exhausts and a distinctive light strip. Only one La Voiture Noire will be built, and the as-yet unknown buyer paid a jaw-dropping £12 million for the privilege of owning the most talked about car at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.

Bugatti Baby II

The story of Bugatti

Our history ends – and the future begins – with the news that the Bugatti ‘Baby’ has returned. In 1926, Ettore Bugatti built a toy Type 35 for his youngest son Roland. Such was the response to this one-off design that Ettore was encouraged to put the ‘Baby’ into production. Around 500 were built and sold between 1927 and 1936.

To celebrate its 110th anniversary, Bugatti has unveiled a tribute to the original, and once again, just 500 will be built. Each one features a rear-wheel-drive battery-powered electric powertrain, removable lithium-ion battery packs, a limited slip differential and regenerative braking. There are two driving modes: ‘child’, with a top speed of 20km/h; and ‘adult’, with a top speed of 45km/h. The price: €30,000 (£25,000) plus local taxes.

New Bugatti La Voiture Noire is the most expensive new car ever

Bugatti La Voiture Noir

Few marques have licence to build and sell ‘the most expensive car in the world’. Of all, it is perhaps Bugatti you’d most expect to aim so high.

Now, at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, it’s done just that, with the one-off £12 million La Voiture Noire.

The story of La Voiture Noire

Bugatti La Voiture Noir

La Voiture Noire owes its name, and its existence, to a tale of lost treasures fit for an Indiana Jones movie.

This car pays tribute to the Type 57 SC Atlantic – a classic car that almost transcends monetary value. Unless you have many, many millions and the bargaining power to convince the likes of Ralph Lauren to give up the keys, you’re not getting one.

The new La Voiture Noire refers to a different Atlantic, however. Jean Bugatti’s personal car that was lost in the throes of World War Two, never to be found again. ‘The Black Car’ pays tribute to that legendary lost chassis.

A Chiron with a body kit?

Bugatti La Voiture Noir

If you were being crass, you could call it that. The basis is very much the Chiron, 1,500hp quad-turbo W16 included. The Noir appears to be extended by comparison, however, with that long sprawling nose aping the elegant Atlantic. At the front, there are more than a few hints of the track-prepared Bugatti Divo, too.

It’s at the back, however, where the Noir is truly distinctive. Six exhausts dominate an aggressive rear end, with ‘Bugatti’ emblazoned and glowing above. A distinctive light strip follows the line at the top, not looking entirely dissimilar to the McLaren P1.

Bugatti La Voiture Noir

On top, the open-engine setup of the Chiron is gone, with a smoother Atlantic-aping closed rear end. The engine cover is perforated to allow hot air to escape. The wheels are a distinctive new design and the cabin, unseen as yet, has likely gone through significant changes of its own.

As for who bought it? Company boss Stephen Winkelmann calls the buyer ‘a Bugatti enthusiast’. There have been rumours that it’s former VW head honcho, Ferdinand Piech.

However,  like the location of that lost Atlantic, we suspect the lucky custodian’s identity will remain the stuff of legend.

The Winkelmann factor

Bugatti La Voiture Noir

When he was the boss at Lamborghini, Stephen Winkelman made a point of pushing limited-run specialist cars.

Now he’s heading up Bugatti, we’re getting the same with the Divo and La Voiture Noir. We sincerely hope there are more to come…

2016 Bugatti Chiron at the Geneva Motor Show

With the new Bugatti Chiron, the world has a new hypercar benchmark…

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