There is no doubt that the Chiron is something of a technological marvel. Put your foot down, and the 1487bhp quad-turbo 8.0L W16 will catapult you to 60mph in 2.5 seconds, and only 11 seconds later, to 186mph – yes, that’s nearly 200 miles per hour in less time than it takes most cars to do a standing quarter mile. Hold on long enough, and you’ll reach a top speed that has to be limited to 261mph because the tyres can’t handle more than that. At £2.4 million, it’s almost the definition of exclusivity.
But that’s part of the problem. It’s so exclusive, and so out of reach, that it’s not even worth dreaming about. Never mind the fact that you will never own one, the possibility of even seeing one in the metal is virtually nil. It almost exists in another realm, where only oil sheiks fear to tread.
There is another problem, though, one that Chris Harris unintentionally identified last night on Top Gear, when he said, ‘The Chiron is really just about straightforward speed.’ As would be expected, and as I’m sure it is, he found the acceleration intoxicating. But is that really the point of the Chiron? As accomplished as it is in other areas, is its raison d’être really just to be the fastest in a straight line? We used to criticise the American manufacturers for building cars that were only good for winning drag races, but suddenly it’s acceptable because Bugatti has done it?
This is why the Chiron is boring. It really is just a ‘top trumps’ car. The only reason you would buy it is to be able to say you have the fastest and most exclusive production car available.
I thought it fitting, actually, that Rory Reid drove the Renault Twingo GT in the same episode. You’d never compare a Chiron with a Twingo, of course, but his comments about the ability to actually use all the Twingo’s power on the right roads were apt. It’s the same reason so many people love cars like the Fiesta ST and Golf GTI – they are useable sports cars. They’re not dramatically fast, but they have a level of performance that you can actually explore the limits of. They are cars that you can fully enjoy on the right roads. You don’t buy them to one-up the guy in the next lane. You buy them simply for the thrill of driving.
Sure, the Chiron commands a certain ‘wow’ factor. But at the end of the day, I’m left thinking, ‘So what?’