French brand Bugatti has developed a reputation for building extreme cars, but even by its own standards its latest creation is remarkable.
The Bugatti Bolide is a lighter, more powerful and track-focused version of its already rapid Chiron hypercar that takes everything to the extreme. And it started with a simple question: ‘What if Bugatti developed a radically light, completely new concept around its iconic 8.0-litre W16 engine?’
The Bolide does just that, taking the W16 from producing ‘just’ 1177kW of power to a mind-bending 1361kW and 1850Nm of torque thanks to new turbochargers and a diet of 110-octane racing fuel.
Bugatti also looked at every aspect of the Chiron and asked if it could be lighter, dropping its weight from 1996kg to 1240kg – or approximately 100kg less than a Volkswagen Polo GTI.
Then the engineering team looked at the design and aerodynamics and reshaped the Bolide to look like what it is – a prototype racecar free from any regulations. The Bolide is lower and wider than the Chiron and comes with a huge rear wing, massive diffuser and aero disc wheel covers for maximum performance.
The result of all these changes? Well, according to Bugatti’s simulations – because the car hasn’t finished testing yet – it should be ludicrously fast.
The Volkswagen-owned French firm claims the Bolide would lap the Le Mans circuit in just 3:07.1 seconds, which is eight-seconds faster than Kamui Kobayashi’s pole time in the Toyota TS050 Hybrid for this year’s race (he set a 3:15.26 seconds lap in hyperpole, for the record).
That’s not all, Bugatti’s other claimed performance figures include staggering acceleration times – 0-100km/h in 2.17 seconds, 0-200km/h takes just 4.36 seconds and 0-500km/h 20.16 seconds; and, no, that isn’t a typo we mean 500km/h. Naturally the claimed top speed is well beyond 500km/h thanks to the combination of more power, less weight and improved aerodynamics.
All sounds good and ready to buy? Well, there’s a catch – or two. The first is Bugatti hasn’t officially confirmed it will put the Bolide into production (although the level or work and testing does suggest it’s likely). And the second will be the price, because a regular Chiron starts at US$3.8m and this won’t be close to that. The last Bugatti special edition creation, the La Voiture Noire, reportedly cost the owner US$19m.
So it may be cheaper to buy a used Le Mans racer from Toyota… even if it isn’t quite as quick as the Bugatti.