Bugatti's original Chiron hypercar is no lightweight when it comes to performance—or price. We drove the $3-million 2018 Bugatti Chiron when the 1,479-horsepower, 16-cylinder Italian beast launched, and we came away gobsmacked after reaching 234 mph behind the wheel. But now, Bugatti has plans for more Chiron variants, and the model range's extremes are captured with the new Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport, designed for world-class handling, and the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+. The latter emphasizes top speed after a recent world-record run on a closed course to a top speed of 300.773 mph—in what is essentially a street car. Which special-edition Chiron is right for you? Read on to find out.
Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport Design
We recently brought you fresh video of the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport turning laps at Germany's Bilster Berg racetrack, where engineers and development drivers worked to squeeze every last drop of performance out of the car. The Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport, the company says, is the variant you'll want if ultimate track handling is your goal. Weighing in at some 110 pounds less than the standard Chiron, Bugatti extensively reworked the Pur Sport's exterior with larger air intakes up front to keep the mechanicals cool at lower speeds. Twin louvered ducts atop the front fenders allow air that passes through the front fenders to escape, reducing front end lift.
Aerodynamics are tweaked front and rear for the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport, with an extended front splitter and a positively massive rear wing (measuring more than six-feet wide) with angled supports that create an "X" design when integrated with the rear diffuser. Bugatti says that while the spoiler does create some drag, the diffuser does not, essentially creating some "free" downforce, as designer Frank Heyl explains. It also looks great, with a "horizontal split paint finish" being offered for the first time by Bugatti, which covers some exterior panels in paint while leaving quite a bit of exposed, visible black carbon fiber.
Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport: Underneath The Skin
For the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport, engineers also coaxed some extra grunt out of the 8.0-liter, quad-turbo V-16 engine, and they increased its redline from 6,700 rpm to 6,900 rpm. Now producing 1,500 hp and 1,180 lb-ft of torque from 2,000-6,000 rpm, the engine is mated to a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox with 80 percent of its guts redesigned. All seven gears are shortened by 15 percent, dropping acceleration times and helping to keep the Chiron Pur Sport's driver in the meat of the car's powerband at all times. Effectively, the top of seventh gear in the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport is the equivalent of the top of sixth gear in the standard Chiron.
The Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport's chassis has also been reworked extensively in an effort not just to sharpen response, but to reduce weight. Optional lightweight magnesium wheels with carbon-fiber cooling vanes, a lighter brake package (even the pad backing plates are changed from steel to titanium), lightweight aluminum electronically self-adjusting dampers, and full carbon-fiber anti-roll bars are incorporated to drop unsprung mass by nearly 42 pounds. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires are designed specifically for the Chiron Pur Sport for 10 percent more grip, and the ability to cope with the extra 110 pounds of aerodynamic downforce the car produces.
Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport: Accessible Hypercar Performance
If it sounds like this is all way too much car for most enthusiasts to handle, you're probably right. Nevertheless, Bugatti has tried to make the Chiron Pur Sport more accessible by adding a Sport + drive mode which the brand's head of chassis development, Jachin Schwalbe, says allows for "easy power slides and drifting." A steering-wheel-mounted control engages the mode, which gives the driver, "more freedom from traction control. It allows the driver to play with the throttle when going through a turn," Schwalbe says. Ease of use is critical in the Chiron Pur Sport, especially with a drop in the 0-62-mph sprint from 2.4 seconds to 2.3 seconds. More significant, acceleration from 50-75 mph drops from 4.3 seconds to 2.4 seconds, while acceleration from 37-75 mph takes just 4.4 seconds, compared with 7.5 seconds in the normal car; that's a huge, 40-percent improvement. Top speed is electronically limited at 217.5 mph. Just 60 Bugatti Chiron Pur Sports will be built at a starting cost of some $3.4 million apiece.
Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+: Record Breaker
But say you want to go faster than the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport's 217 mph. In that case, you'll need to compare the former with the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+, which sacrifices ultimate grip in search of ridiculous velocity. Bugatti put the automotive world on notice last year after a low-drag Chiron Super Sport test car set a new speed record, clocking 304.773 mph at Volkswagen's Ehra Lessien test track in Germany. And frankly, if it hadn't needed to brake for the upcoming banked turn following the high-speed straight, it could have gone faster.
"Getting to higher speeds above 270 mph, the car is fighting against wind resistance, which is why everything is about aerodynamics," says Schwalbe. "Incredible to tell you this, but yes, even at the end of the very long straight the car was still accelerating."
Those record-breaking aerodynamics required quite a bit of consideration from chief designer Frank Heyl, who worked in lockstep with engineers to develop solutions that looked as amazing as they functioned. Critically, the most functional change in comparison to the Pur Sport was the "long-tail" design that extends the Chiron Super Sport 300+ by nearly 10 inches in length and harkens back to the glory days of endurance racing.
"The longtail is kind of a dream," Heyl says. "It's inspired by some cars in the 1960s and '70s that raced at Le Mans when they still had the [original] Mulsanne Straight."
Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ Design
To produce a car capable of such speeds while its driver remains able to maintain control, virtually all of the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+'s exterior bodywork was redesigned to work in harmony. Downforce had to be balanced from front to rear, without creating too much drag that would hinder top-speed efforts. Meanwhile, the whole package had to look just right.
To that end, start at the front of the Chiron Super Sport 300+ when comparing it to the Pur Sport. There is a new front bumper and diffuser, along with raised air blades beneath the headlights to direct air efficiently around the nose. Heyl says the idea is to keep the airflow attached to the body for as long as possible; at 217 mph, an "air curtain" forms around the car with high pressure along the front fenders. Air also gathers underneath the front fenders; in a design homage to the B-pillar treatment of the Bugatti EB 110 GT of years past, there are nine holes in the fender tops above the front wheels to allow this pressure to escape.
To the rear of the Chiron Super Sport 300+, the underfloor, rear bumper, and wheel covers were also reworked. Even the exhaust outlets were changed to a pair of vertically stacked tips that leaves more surface in between for the diffuser to do its work. This layout, Heyl says, was inspired by the afterburners on English Electric Lightening F.6 fighter jets. At top speed the retractable rear wing isn't extended for stability as you'd expect, but instead it's down, flush with the surrounding bodywork for maximum efficiency. Of course, there were changes to the 8.0-liter V-16 powerplant as well, with horsepower ringing in at a staggering 1,578 hp.
Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+: Game Over
There are rumblings that all of this record-breaking bravado started with the wishes of Bugatti's executive board, but chassis guru Schwalbe says Bugatti won't respond to new challenges from other competitors. "There will be no competition with high speed from here," Schwalbe says.
Unfortunately for optimistic and opportunistic owners, the production Chiron Super Sport's top speed will be electronically limited, "for safety," says Schwalbe, to 273.4 mph. A total of 30 Chiron Super Sport 300+ models will be built at a cost of nearly $4,000,000 each, all of which are sold already.
In the end, the decision between Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport and Super Sport 300+ is all about your (prvileged, and then some) priorities. As designer Heyl says, "The Super Sport is all about reducing drag, whereas the Chiron Pur Sport is all about downforce. One is made for speed, the other is made for cornering." Somehow that doesn't make our imaginary decision any easier. And if you can't afford either, can we interest you in a very nice wristwatch?
Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport Quick Facts
Focus on handling, track performance
1,500 hp, special close-ratio seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox
60-car production run
Priced at $3.4 million