The 2017 Bugatti Chiron supercar, which replaces the Veyron, uses an updated version of the 8.0-liter W16 quad-turbocharged engine as its forebear, but ups the performance quotient by producing 1,500 horsepower,

up 400 over the old model, and a prodigious 1,180 lb ft of torque. That massive power amidships is delivered to all four wheels and enables the Chiron to hit a top speed of 261 mph.

Limited to a production run of just 500 vehicles (about 50 more than the Veyron), the handcrafted Chiron is expected to cost about $2.6 million each with the first unit slated for a fall delivery. Bugatti says that at least a third of the production run have already been reserved through advanced orders.

“The Chiron is the quintessential ultimate super sports car: ultra-modern, incredibly fast, agile and powerful with a stylistically demanding design and the highest possible levels of comfort,” says Wolfgang Dürheimer, president of Bugatti Automobiles. “This combination is not offered by any other market players and gives Bugatti its unique market position.”                                                               

Explosive performance

As the most powerful road-going car on the planet, the Bugatti Chiron promises blindingly quick acceleration, hitting 62 mph in 2.5 seconds, 124 mph in 6.5 seconds and 186 mph in 13.5 seconds. The massive W16 engine delivers its power through a 7-speed dual clutch automatic and the car rides on 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels and tires.

Equally impressive is the stopping power from the eight-piston front and six-piston rear calipers clamping on carbon ceramic brake rotors. They can haul the 4,398-lb 2-seater down from 62 mph in 102 feet and from 124 mph in just 410 feet.

Refined design

Although it has a similar profile and dimensions as the Veyron, the Chiron rides on a 106.7-inch wheelbase and measures 178.6 inches overall, it’s design is more evocative of Bugatti heritage and employs some of the same philosophy used on the Bugatti Gran Turismo Vision concept introduced at Frankfurt last fall. The front of the vehicle has a more pronounced nose with the prominent horse-collar grille, which is flanked by a row of LED headlamps.

The sides sport large circular character lines trimmed in chrome which recalls the shapes of 1930s Bugatti coupes, a link to the past underscored by the use of a two-tone paint scheme. At the rear, there’s an all-new look incorporating aerodynamic diffusers, large exhaust outlets, a moveable rear wing and a split rear window/engine cover that echoes the look of perhaps the most famous Bugatti of them all, the Atlantic coupe. The taillamps are a subtle, yet effective single line of LEDs that extend from one side to the other.

New structure

The structure features a new monocoque core and body panels made out of carbon fiber with a revamped chassis fitted with adaptive springs and dampers to improve handling and ride. This new adaptive chassis has five driving modes, Lift  (which is used to clear speed bumps), EB Auto (which automatically adjusts the suspension to vehicle speed), Highway, Handling, and Top Speed.

The handcrafted interior is a blend of old-world craftsmanship with abundant leather upholstery and polished aluminum trim offset by advanced electronic displays and controls. The circular theme and central fin outside are mirrored inside the cabin with a C-shaped light bar that extends from the base of the A-pillar up through the roof and back around through the door sill. Bugatti says this illuminated strip is the longest light conduction on an automobile.

Fitted luggage

In addition to controls on the center console, the steering wheel has switches for every system on the car allowing drivers to control all the essential features without having to remove their hands from the steering wheel. The 2017 Bugatti Chiron also comes with a custom set of fitted leather luggage that stores snugly in the front trunk.

“Our customers form an exclusive group of automobile collectors who are searching for the very best,” Dürheimer said. “With the Veyron, they have the best production sports car of the past 10 years. This is why their demands and expectations for our next step, the Chiron, were so high.” On paper at least, it seems Bugatti has delivered on that promise.

Browse photography at Denver.Gallery.