GRR

Bugatti reveals 272mph Chiron Super Sport

07th June 2021
Bob Murray

The Bugatti Super Sport, an illustrious model for the marque going back to the 1930s, is back in Bugatti’s line-up with the reveal of the latest Chiron variant. Like its famous antecedents, the Chiron Super Sport blends speed with luxury to make what Bugatti chief Stephan Winkelmann calls the “the ultimate grand tourer.”

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What’s this, a fast and luxurious Bugatti? Can there really be anything new here? Bugatti believes there is, and that by blending the refinement of the regular Chiron with the extreme aero and increased power of the 304mph Chiron Super Sport 300+ they have a grand touring counterpart to the more handling-biased Chiron Pur Sport – and more important a model to fill a McLaren Speedtail-shaped gap in their range.

Like Britain’s three-seat hyper-GT, the Chiron Super Sport gets a lengthened body – Bugatti even calls it a “long tail” – in the cause of optimal aerodynamic performance. The longer the tail, the longer the air flow stays stuck to the body and the faster you will go – in the Super Sport’s case, that’s 272mph (440km/h).

The 250mm stretch, all in the rear bodywork, is as already previewed by the limited-edition run of 300+ models, and has the added benefit of making the Chiron look lower and more streamlined, especially in conjunction with the new (optional) new two-tone paint job.

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We can assume there’s more drag than the speed record-holding 300+ model and less downforce than the Pur Sport, a balancing act that has required changes to the aerodynamics front and back. The front end is bespoke, with revised splitter, side curtains alongside the air intakes and, a nod to the EB110 Super Sport of the 1990s, nine exhaust perforations above the front wheel-arches to release air pressure from below. Nice touch.

Chief change over the long-tail body of the Super Sport 300+ is a revised diffuser. It’s larger and sticks up more and allows the rear wing to be retracted as far as possible in Top Speed mode – one of the four drive modes – while also delivering the level of downforce required to stop the car taking off.

The diffuser also means the quad exhausts have been moved outwards where they are now vertically stacked, giving this model a distinctive look from the rear. The noise the new exhaust system makes is said to be just as distinctive.

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The other drive modes are EB (personalised settings), Handling and Autobahn. Each works in conjunction with the revised aerodynamics and revised suspension settings, including stiffer springs and latest Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, for what Bugatti says is a sportier, more connected feel.

“Our focus at top speed is on absolute driving stability coupled with comfort,” Bugatti chassis chief Jachin Schwalbe tells us. He says that compared to the Chiron Pur Sport with its aero optimised for maximum downforce, the Super Sport is quieter and more neutral – more tourer than racer.

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The drivetrain is from the 300mph Chiron. That makes it the quad-turbocharged 8.0-litre W16 with 1600PS (1176kW), 100PS up on the regular Chiron. It also gets an additional 300rpm to play with at the top end, extending the useable torque spread (the redline is now 7,100rpm). With its luxury remit – think a cabin overflowing with sumptuous leather and polished aluminium – the Super Sport is not as light as the 300+ but does come in 23kg lighter than a standard Chiron.

And, yes, of course it is fast. Zero 124mph takes 5.8 seconds; 0-186mph 12.1 seconds. That’s seven per cent faster than a standard Chiron. For reference, the McLaren Speedtail (500PS less powerful but also much lighter) does 0-186mph in 12.8 seconds. The Super Sport’s claimed 272mph top speed won’t put it in the record books but it does pip McLaren’s 250mph (though many believe that is conservative).

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The Chiron Super Sport is the latest in an illustrious line that began with the Type 55 Super Sport of 1931. This legendary car combined thoroughbred race car technology with the comfort of a sophisticated two-seater and was a massive hit with cognoscenti of the day – such as the 3rd Baron Rothschild whose car was sold at auction last year for £5.3 million.

It was 60 years before Bugatti built its next Super Sport: a version of the EB110. The first super sportscar with carbon-fibre bodywork, all-wheel-drive, and four turbochargers, the 610PS (449kW) V12 coupe could do 218mph. The next Super Sport was faster still: the Veyron 16.4 Super Sport boasted 1,200PS (883kW) and with a top speed of 267mph was officially the world’s fastest road-legal series sports car.

Now it’s the Chiron’s turn for the Super Sport treatment. Order now for delivery early 2022. Just the small matter of 3.2 million euros (plus tax) to find…

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