Bugatti has been on the forefront of the hypercar scene ever since the Veyron first got released more than a decade ago. It was then replaced by the Chiron in 2016 which took things a step further to combine ridiculous speeds with luxury and comfort. This time they’ve turned their focus from straight-line speed to make a car that will be fast around corners too. Here it is, unveiled globally at the Quail event in California USA – the Bugatti Divo.
Right off the bat, it is immediately recognizable as a relative of the Chiron with the Bugatti horseshoe design on the front grille and the roof line from the side profile. For most of the other angles though, the Divo is its own thing with all the carbon fibre and new aerodynamic elements. The car is named after French racing driver Albert Divo who won the Targa Florio twice in the late 1920s for Bugatti. The powertrain is a familiar one from Bugatti — an 8.0-litre quad-turbo W16 engine that is tuned to produce 1,479BHP as well.
I’ll say right now that I was expecting something more extreme like the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo but in no way am I disappointed by the final form of the Divo. It’s actually going to be road-legal so that makes it more of a usable track car than the other one. Only 40 units of these are to be made, each of them already spoken for with a price tag of 5 million Euros.
Getting into the details of this new track-focussed hypercar, the Divo is 35kg lighter than the standard Chiron and has 90kgs more downforce. Bugatti says this new project is a modern take on their coachbuilding traditions that allowed them to build upon their experiences from the Veyron and Chiron without holding back.
In terms of new aero elements, we start with the massive air intakes flanking the horseshoe designed intake with a wide front spoiler underneath that really does increase the front overhang. Functionally, it provides more downforce and guides more air to the front air inlets to catch more air for cooling principles. The C-shaped LED headlights that follow the dynamic lines of the Divo are a design highlight for sure. There are air curtains along the sides with a cutaway behind the wide front wheel arches to reduce the air swelling around the wheels. It even has the sporty louvres on the arches like a Porsche 911 GT2 RS. The roof design includes a NACA duct to optimise the airflow along with a specially designed engine compartment for temperature management in that area.
Once at the back, you can admire the unique design for the 3-D rear lights comprising of 44 fins, something which rarely ever makes it to production. Above the cool lights is a height-adjustable spoiler that spans 1.83 metres in width (that’s more than my height) and is set to different angles for the individual driving modes for added downforce as needed. There is a sharkfin running down the middle starting from the nose of the car, across the hood and extending from the roof to the rear spoiler which also acts as an airbrake when turned forwards for better breaking. Underneath the 3-D lights is the massive rear diffuser which has been split into two to flank the angular and sporty quad-tailpipe exhaust system.
“The Divo is a further example of our design philosophy ‘Form follows Performance‘. In this case, the engineers and designers aimed to create a vehicle focusing on cornering speeds and lateral dynamics,” says Achim Anscheidt, Director of Design of Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S., describing the design language of the new Bugatti.
The top speed of the Divo has been limited to 380kph which is around 50kph slower than the limited top speed of the Chiron. There is a reason for this though: the tyres. With the new aero elements, the car now produces a total of 456kgs of downforce and the wheels have been given a slightly increased camber. These changes affect what the tyres can handle and as such Bugatti has set a lower top speed limit for the Divo but the car now laps the Nardò handling circuit 8 seconds faster than the Chiron. No word on a timed Nürburging run for now.
New chassis and suspension setup along with the weight loss further contributes to the car’s cornering abilities. The steering and suspension were reworked for a significantly sportier driving behaviour in every driving mode (EB, Autobahn and Handling). Its diet includes new lightweight wheels, carbon fibre intercooler cover, less insulation material, fewer stowage compartments and door trims, and fixed front diffuser flaps.
Inside the cabin, it’s similar to that of the Chiron but there are some notable differences in the details like the extensive use of Alcantara and deeper seats to hold the driver in place when going around fast bends. The use of the dual tone colours for the interior of the debut model makes the interiors feel even more special.
The Bugatti Divo is another track focussed road-legal car in a recent trend of performance focussed cars from various manufacturers — McLaren Senna, Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, Porsche 911 GT2 RS, Ferrari 488 Pista etc. But while others are still ‘supercars’ the Divo stands a level higher as a ‘hypercar’ for the track.
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