The Chiron is a 1500-hp smackdown of every hypercar ever produced. An 8.0-liter 16-cylinder engine uses four turbochargers to make 1500 hp and 1180 lb-ft of torque, but calling its acceleration “heroic” would be an understatement—Bugatti claims a top speed of 261 mph. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic routes power to all four wheels, but it can do more than straight-line speed.
But the new 261-mph Bug is really just about being all ate up with motor. It’s about old-fashioned combustion in 16 furnaces amidships that are blown into a furious conflagration by quad turbo fans. Push that ENGINE button and the 8.0-liter W-16 lights, not with the ear-bending bark of an Italian supercar—Bugatti figures it is above those kinds of bad-boy theatrics—but with the manly burble of a lazy 650-rpm idle.
Bugatti quotes an acceleration figure in the zero-to-62-mph metric, stating that it’s “less than 2.5 seconds,” which is good because the first Veyron we testedhit 60 mph in 2.5. But as Schwalbe and his colleagues are quick to point out, at these torque levels, it’s almost entirely dependent on traction. And this is not the same world in which the Veyron debuted. Today, common Porsche 911 Turbos handily pull a 2.6, and Tesla P100Ds in Ludicrous mode are quicker still.