Anton WattsCar and Driver
- With a quarter-mile performance of 9.4 seconds at a staggering 158 mph, the Bugatti Chiron rockets itself to the top of our list of quickest cars ever tested.
- However, its zero-to-60-mph time of 2.4 seconds is no quicker than its predecessor, the Veyron, which is no longer the quickest in all the land.
- The 1479-hp carbon-fiber missile does its best work at high speeds, making it easy to join the 200-mph club.
The 200-mph club used to be hard to join before hypercar horsepower eclipsed four digits. In the 1479-hp Bugatti Chiron Sport that we just tested, admission takes only 15.7 seconds and requires just 3100 feet of road. However, the Chiron’s 2.4-second 60-mph time lags the Porsche 918 Spyder’s (2.1), 911 Turbo S’s (2.2), and only matches Tesla and Porsche’s quickest EVs, as well as its predecessor, the Veyron, from more than a decade ago. (All times adjusted to our current 1-foot-rollout standard.) Blame the 4544 pounds of Bugatti that have to be set in motion without the help of the instant power of electric motors. Hey, jet planes take their time, too.
Activating launch control raises revs to a relatively lazy 2500 rpm before clutch slaps against flywheel, but at that rpm, the 8.0-liter W-16 is already making up to 562 horses. Despite having all-wheel drive, the Bugatti lights up its tires and requires a minor move of the steering wheel to stay in its lane before those giant Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s settle in. Your body, however, is continuously unsettled as the power strapped to your back—the Chiron averages more than 1.00 g longitudinally through 70 mph—is unleashed.
The acceleration becomes more staggering the faster you go. Dialing up big numbers on the 300-mph analog speedo is what the Chiron is about. Going from 100 to 160 takes 5.2 seconds, the same amount of time a BMW 330i xDrive needs to reach 60 from a standstill. And the Bugatti’s 11.3-second run from 100 to 200 is two-tenths quicker than the time it takes for a Honda Civic Type R to hit 100 mph.
Our passing tests (30-to-50 and 50-to-70) begin with the car held at a gentle cruise at 30 or 50 mph with the transmission in automatic mode and in the highest possible gear. We then floor the accelerator, the transmission downshifts and poof, you’re going 50 or 70. The Chiron’s times—30–50 in 2.4 seconds, 50–70 in 2.2—are mostly down to a slight hesitation to the downshift. Once the downshift occurs, the acceleration feels instant and you shoot well past the 50 and 70 mph bogeys. The instant response of EVs and their lack of downshifting is why they now own these tests; we’ve clocked both the Tesla Model S Performance and Taycan Turbo S at 1.1 seconds and 1.6 seconds, respectively.
On the skidpad with stability control disabled, the Chiron grips hard and its attitude—how it transitions between understeer and oversteer—is all controlled by careful use of the throttle. With the tires on the edge of the 1.06 g of grip, it’s very easy to wake up the four turbos and send the heavy tail into a lurid powerslide. Bugatti has built a $3-million drift car.
The brakes never seemed fazed by having to turn the energy of the heavy Chiron at 200-plus-mph into heat. The 160-foot 70-mph stopping distance isn’t remarkable, but it continued to improve as the brakes and tires warmed up. A slightly sandy surface at our test track may have contributed to the longish stops, too.
I’ve tested the McLaren Senna and the Ferrari LaFerrari, and when it comes to big-speed acceleration, they aren’t in the same league as the Chiron. Bugatti makes it so easy that one hand on the wheel is probably enough, but we’re in no rush to try it. We doubt the one-handed 200-mph club has a lot of living members.
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