(CNN) – He was in the passenger seat of a $4 million, 1,500-horsepower supercar, staring down the almost-perfect-looking highway entrance ramp. It was tall and straight with a steep slope to the side to obscure anyone who could see what was going to happen.
It was Butch Litzinger, a retired racing driver, who would show me what the new Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport could do.
Bugatti Supercar Driving Experience
The driver hits the throttle and four turbochargers on the 16-cylinder engine behind us pull in a massive amount of air. The engine shifted gears quickly as the car slashed along the straight, and we both hit the backs of our seats hard. After a few seconds, Letzinger lifted his foot off the gas. While braking hard to slow the car down so we could join slow traffic from the right lane on the highway, there was an air blast – the turbochargers redirected compressed air to the atmosphere instead of to the engine.
Leitzinger has done this kind of thing with me before in a “standard” Bugatti Chiron (he and I share 325 mile ride in Chiron in the summer of 2019), but the acceleration in the Pur Sport was even more brutal. Not that the engine is more powerful, but the 7-speed transmission in the Pur Sport is geared for quick off-line acceleration at the expense of top speed. The Pur Sport can’t go as fast as the standard Chiron, assuming it can find a place to approach the top speed of either car. But it will hit your eyes hard when you step on the gas and can reach 349 kilometers per hour. It’s probably fast enough for most of us.
The Pur Sport is one of the many Chiron and Special Edition versions that Bugatti devised to lure the world’s richest people into buying one more multimillion-dollar supercar. Bugatti is owned by the Volkswagen Group and is the most expensive car brand in terms of mileage.
The Pur Sport is more about response, feedback and cornering than the relatively quiet standard Chiron. Since it doesn’t have to reach ridiculous top speeds, the Pur Sport can have a giant spoiler at the rear that provides downforce for better handling at higher speeds. (The standard Chiron also has a wing, but it’s a relatively heavy, complex, retractable wing that automatically moves up and down.) It also had tires better suited to cornering, as Michelin tire engineers didn’t have to worry about breaking rims at speeds over 402kph.
The Chiron model line is gradually nearing the end of the planned production of 500 cars that began in 2016. As of early June 2021, 300 cars have been built and another 150 are already booked and awaiting completion. Only 50 others are still waiting for final orders, according to Bugatti. The brand’s plant in Molsheim, France, produces only about 80 cars per year, so so far it will take a few years to build all the remaining cars.
This 500-car race only includes models from the Chiron line. Other Bugatti models, such as Centodieci, 10 of which will be manufactured, The Defoe, approximately all 40 have already been made, and black carThe one-of-a-kind car, valued at $20 million, is not included in the 500. All of these cars look more or less the same, as they share a Chiron architecture that, while impressive, does not allow for radically different body shapes. None of these forms can be converted. It can’t be because Chiron’s core architecture makes it practically impossible.
Since most Bugatti customers own more than one, these new variants and models will give owners reasons to keep buying. This is in addition to attracting new customers of course.
Letzinger explained that the Chiron Pur Sport was built on demand for customers who want a car that’s more fun to drive at the kinds of speeds it can travel in the real world. (In this case, “real world” means driving at 80 to 193 kilometers per hour.)
The differences in steering feel and ride quality are noticeable. Steering is faster and more immediate in the Pur Sport and the ride is clearly firmer. As I crossed the New York and Connecticut border on twisty two-lane highways and small highways, I could barely sear the muscular underside of the Chiron Pur Sport’s performance capabilities. However, I noticed the brutal kick from the faster acceleration and the balanced way it took on cornering.
Differences between Chiron Pur Sport and Bugatti
In many ways, the Chiron Pur Sport makes more sense than the regular Bugatti Chiron. The standard Chiron is truly a great touring car: quiet, nice-looking, comfortable and fun to drive, but with oddly outrageous power and acceleration. You can navigate with pleasure, when the road opens in front of you, step on the gas and watch the view around you turn blurry through the side windows. It’s like having your own coaster hand assembled from the highest quality materials and you can hit that steep part downhill whenever you want.
I’ve always really liked the Bugatti Chiron. I like that this does not make sense and does not fit into the traditional categories. It’s a comfortable one-hour drive, but it doesn’t have luggage space and a peripheral thirst for quality gasoline. However, I am glad that you have so much power in such a beautifully built car and it is never intimidating to drive.
Now, in addition to the Bugatti Chiron, Chiron Sport and Chiron Pur Sport, there is another variant of the Chiron. The Chiron Super Sport was recently announced. The Bugatti Chiron Super Sport takes the exact opposite approach to the Pur Sport. It’s all about smooth driving and top speed. There is no fixed rear spoiler to slow the airflow over the vehicle. There are even body perforations above the front wheels to allow air trapped in the wheel wells to escape. The top speed of the Super Sport is 439 kilometers per hour. Like the Pur Sport, it will cost about $4 million.
It will give loyal Bugatti customers another flavor to choose from.