Bugatti is done setting speed records, but it’s proud of what it accomplished in the years it spent chasing the crown. It channeled some of the lessons it learned into a new, high-speed-focused Chiron variant called Super Sport.
While the Super Sport is instantly recognizable as a member of the Chiron family, it wears a more streamlined body than other variants (like the handling-focused Chiron Pur Sport) characterized by a redesigned front splitter, air curtains on either side of the front bumper, and a rear end that has been extended by nearly 10 inches. The rear air diffuser has a new look, too. These changes improve aerodynamic efficiency while creating the high level of downforce required to keep the Chiron firmly planted to the ground at the triple-digit speeds it’s designed to reach.
Even the smaller tweaks seen on the Super Sport weren’t made strictly in the name of design. Bugatti explained the nine holes above each front wheel create downforce by releasing air pressure from the wheel wells. On a secondary level, they also create a visual link between the EB110 (which also wore the Super Sport designation) and the limited-edition Centodieci. Model-specific five-spoke wheels add a finishing touch to the function-over-form design.
Bugatti developed the Super Sport as a grand tourer, so giving it a stripped-out, race car-like interior was out of the question. The cabin blends timeless materials, like leather and aluminum, with carbon fiber components that hint at the car’s lightweight construction. Buyers can customize nearly everything inside, including the upholstery.
Power for the Super Sport comes from Bugatti’s prestigious W16 engine, an 8.0-liter unit fitted with four turbos. It develops 1,577 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque in this application. Engineers made changes to the turbos, to the engine oil pump, and to the cylinder head in order to increase the 16-cylinder’s redline to 7,100 rpm (a 300-rpm bump) and to make the full torque output available across a much broader spectrum. The engine still spins the four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, though the seventh gear is longer.
Helped by a 50-pound weight reduction, the Super Sport takes 5.8 seconds to reach 124 mph (200 kph) from a stop. Keep it floored, and the speedometer shows 186 mph (300 kph) in 12.1 seconds. Its top speed lies in the vicinity of 273 mph. Bugatti also added a tighter steering system and firmer springs to improve high-speed stability, and it retuned the electronically-controlled chassis system. None of these changes would mean much without proper tires, however.
Michelin developed Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires specifically for the Super Sport. They’re rated for speeds of up 310 mph (500 kph) thanks to reinforced belts. Interestingly, they developed using a test bench originally designed for the Space Shuttle, and Michelin puts each tire in an x-ray machine to check for even the tiniest irregularities.
Bugatti will begin building the Chiron Super Sport in the coming months, and deliveries are scheduled to start in early 2022. Pricing starts at 3.2 million euros (around $3.9 million) before taxes and options are factored in.