All of these numbers and feats and statistics are impressive if you believe in the engineering and purpose of creating £2.75m hypercars (which I sort of do, although I think driving a Morgan 3 Wheeler would be more fun more often).
But Bugatti’s real achievement is not the numbers themselves. If you want a car to go only 300 mph, it will be very difficult, because the forces involved are exorbitant; but in the general scheme of automotive engineering, this is by no means the hardest part.
What’s truly remarkable is that in the Super Sport, as in other Chirons and Veyrons before it, this performance is achieved with an integrity that makes these cars as easy to operate as a Volkswagen Golf. In fact, given the touchscreen heaviness of the latest Golf’s interior, driving the physical-dial Chiron is in many ways easier.
As Wallace and I exit the car to swap seats, he introduces me to the exterior changes that set the Super Sport apart from the usual Bugatti Chiron. Obviously and significantly, the rear body has been lengthened by 250 mm.
The exhausts have been rotated vertically and separated, rather than sitting horizontally in the center of the car, allowing the diffuser to be widened and extend further towards the upper body. This extension and closure of the tail, approaching the ideal “teardrop” aerodynamic shape, maintains the laminar airflow longer, so it’s more efficient: it gives a little more stabilizing downforce without penalty of trail.
This stuff matters in speed, because of how things change in speed. Wallace says that at 261 mph, at the rim of each wheel, the forces are 3,000 g; Thus, a 2.5 g valve cap weighs 7.5 kg and a 44 g tire pressure sensor becomes 132 kg. A conventional car tire valve cannot be used, because at this speed it bends so much that it leaks. Things like this happen all over the car. So the more aero you have on your side, the better.
None of this is obvious when you slip into one of the snug driver’s seats and adjust it electrically. The fairly small, thin-edged, not-quite-round steering wheel manually adjusts generously for reach and rake. There’s a beautifully machined Ricardo transmission shifter, like so many others, out of aluminum. The strip running down the center console is machined in one piece. The vents at the top of the doors, finished in black to look like plastic, are actually titanium. There are a few lockers, door pockets and a glove box. With its shallow little boot up front, it could even be a grand tourer.
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This notice was published: 2022-03-24 00:01:24