Bugatti has unveiled a new special edition offering at the 2019 Pebble Beach motor show. The Chiron is still the halo car, but the French carmaker has decided to celebrate its 110th birthday and pay homage to the EB110 in one fell swoop with this – the Bugatti Centodieci.
Before we get into the details of the Centodieci, let’s do a quick history lesson on the car that inspired its looks and why its a worthy homage.
The EB110 was one of Bugatti’s highlight achievements in the early 90s, before the VW takeover in 1998. Romano Artioli was the custodian of the brand back then and he enlisted Italian car designer Marcello Gandini to design the EB110 as a tribute for the 110th birthday for the brand’s founder – Ettore Bugatti. Gandini is the man behind many iconic designs including the Lamborghini Miura, Countach, first-gen BMW 5 Series, Lancia Stratos and De Tomaso Pantera SI. However, Artioli wasn’t quite happy with the Italian’s radical design language and the wedge shape of the EB110 Prototype. Gandini refused to redesign it, so Bugatti tasked Giampaolo Benedini to redo it instead.
Bugatti brought Paolo Stanzani who used to be the Lamborghini Technical Officer to lead the engineering for the EB110. When he left, they roped in Nicola Materazzi who had experience working for Lancia and Ferrari where he was credited as the father of the F40. In the end, the Bugatti EB110 was powered by a 3.5-litre quad-turbocharged V12 that produced 553bhp in GT form and 603bhp in the Super Sport avatar. The latter was lighter 150kg lighter than the GT thanks to carbon-fibre body panels inside and out. The chassis was built by aircraft manufacturer Aerospatiale and used double-wishbone suspension. In fact, the Bugatti EB110 Super Sport was so impressive that Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher bought one in 1994. Unfortunately, the EB110 didn’t quite catch on like the McLaren F1. As Artioli’s investments dove into debt, the company eventually went bankrupt in 1995.
Fast forward to 2019 and now the Bugatti brand turns 110 and takes a look back at the EB110 with the new Centodieci. It’s based on the Chiron of course but it now features the distinct styling characteristics of the EB110. The Centodieci gets five air holes aligned like a diamond just behind the doors to feed air to the 8.0-litre quad-turbo W16. Around the back, it looks nothing like the Chiron with 16 rear light elements, a large performance diffuser, 2+2 tailpipes on top of each other and a fixed rear wing that is fitted similarly to the EB110’s wing.
Bugatti’s masterpiece of a powerplant churns out 1577bhp and it can catapult the Centodieci from a standstill to 100kph in 2.4 seconds, 200kph in 6.1 seconds, 300kph in 13.1 seconds and onto an electronically limited top speed of 380kph. It’s lighter too and uses lightweight materials anywhere possible. Bugatti says the Centodieci is more of a hypercar than the Chiron and the Divo while still keeping the elegant design in mind. I doubt any of these will be spotted on the open road or a track day anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean the Centodieci isn’t quite as exquisite as it says it is.
Current boss Stephen Winklemann knows how to do limited edition specials to keep a brand relevant in the right circles from his time at Lamborghini. It’s also a lucrative business model. Only 10 units of the Centodieci will be made, priced at around £9 million each, all spoken for of course. It was unveiled in white but customers can opt for any Bugatti colour. Maybe someone will order it in bright yellow again. Would you pick the Centodieci over the Divo? Do you like its wedge shape styling? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below the gallery, leave a like on the post if you enjoyed it, and don’t forget to subscribe for more cool updates from the car world.