A Bugatti has almost always been about offering a mix of luxurious comfort and effortless speed. In the past few decades, all of its models have been offered in various iterations and special editions with distinct characteristics in terms of design and or performance. But there is one badge that is truly special in Bugatti’s product structure: the Super Sport. Now, there’s a Chiron worthy of that honour.
Actually, it’s the second Chiron to be called the Super Sport, after the Super Sport 300+. Here’s a short-ish explanation for this slight confusion in the Chiron lineup. The Super Sport name is worn by the Bugatti model that offers the fastest straight-line speed. The standard Chiron is already capable of achieving 420kph (261mph) with ease and is electronically limited to that top speed. To go faster, Bugatti had to do some aerodynamic restyling and rework the monstrous 8.0-litre quad-turbo W16 engine to increase its performance. The end result was the Super Sport 300+ which was able to reach a top speed of 304.7mph (490kph). While the new Super Sport borrows much from the 300+ but will not go as fast.
It was unveiled alongside other famous Bugatti Super Sport models: Type 55 Super Sport from the 1930s, EB 110 Super Sport from the 1990s, and the Veyron 16.4 Super Sport from 2005. The record-setting Chiron Super Sport 300+ was also in attendance.
Each of the Super Sport models, except the Type 55, were accompanied by the Bugatti test drivers who were crucial to these cars setting their respective top speed records. Loris Bicocchi helped develop the EB 110 SS, Pierre-Henri Raphanel set the production car speed record in the Veyron 16.4 SS, and Andy Wallace was at the wheel when the Chiron Super Sport 300+ development car broke the 300mph barrier.
So, we have a “new” Chiron Super Sport that looks identical to the Super Sport 300+ and has the same increased output of 1,600hp (100hp more than standard). What is the difference then? We believe that the answer could lie in the mechanical details such as power delivery and weight reduction, which are still sparse in the case of the 300+. Maybe the differences will become apparent when we see the first production-spec 300+. One difference between these two models that we do know is that the Super Sport is probably limited to a lower top speed of around 450kph which would be achievable as effortlessly as the stock Chiron can do 420kph. Also, the Super Sport won’t be a limited edition model unlike the 300+ which is restricted to 30 units and all of which will likely be offered in the same black and orange spec as the record-setting car.
When it comes to the Super Sport, Bugatti has shared a fair more detail about the changes done to it. There have been modifications to the turbochargers, oil pump, cylinder head with valve train, and the transmission and clutch. The W16 motor now revs up to 7,100rpm which is 300rpm more than standard and the peak torque is now available between 2,000rpm and 7,000rpm. Bugatti engineers also tweaked the gear ratios of the 7-speed DCT to be longer for reaching higher speeds. At full load, it shifts from 6th to 7th gear at 403kph and can do 0-400kph in around 30.3 seconds (more than 2 seconds quicker than the stock Chiron). While there’s no quoted time for 0-100kph, it does claim a 0-200kph time of 5.8 seconds and reaches 300kph in 12.1 seconds (0.7 seconds and 1.5 seconds quicker than a standard Chiron).
A fast car needs to be slippery to reduce drag but still generate enough downforce to stay stuck to the road. Such cars usually have elongated rear ends, or long tails, like the McLaren Speedtail. The same applies to the Chiron Super Sport whose most notable body modification is the 25mm longer rear end. Other significant changes around the back are the vertically stacked tailpipes that open more space for the diffuser and boost its aerodynamic effect.
At the front, it has much larger air vents flanking the horseshoe grille which also feature new air curtains to improve airflow from the front to the wheel arches.
There are nine holes atop each front wheel arch in a design that pays homage to the EB110 that also help release the air pressure from the front wheel wells to avoid generating lift. Other outlets behind the wheel arches also help balance the aero loads that are generated in pursuit of speeds well over 400kph.
The new bespoke aluminium wheel design is exclusive to the Chiron Super Sport but you can opt for the magnesium wheels from the Pur Sport to save some more weight on top of the 23kg reduction from the regular Chiron (and 5kgs lighter than the Chiron Sport).
Bugatti claims that the Super Sport is a lot more than just a body kit and engine tweak for the Chiron since they had to develop a new chassis for its high speeds and altered aerodynamics. It has tighter steering for smoother movements, harder springs for stability at top speed and a retuned electronically-controlled chassis. The drive modes are four: EB (for Ettore Bugatti), Handling, Autobahn and Top Speed. It still has an active aero rear wing that offers added downforce as needed but stays retracted in the Top Speed mode for minimal drag. The specially developed Michelin Sport Cup 2 tyres are capable of dealing with speeds of up to 500kph. Despite all this incredible attention to detail for increased performance as the fastest Chiron one can buy, it still has to be a proper Bugatti first. From the engine and exhaust tuning to the chassis setup, the Super Sport is meant to feel as comfortable and composed at 440kph as it would at 100kph. That is what will always make a Bugatti hypercar stand out from the likes of Koenigsegg, SSC and Hennessey.
There isn’t much to say about the interior of the Chiron Super Sport other than the fact that is just as luxurious as a stock Chiron. The details will vary based on customer specifications but the unveil model featured a mix of leather upholstery, polished aluminium for the various controls and a healthy dose of exposed carbon fibre.
Finally, we have the price tag. Each Chiron Super Sport will cost €3.2 million (net) with deliveries slated to begin in early 2022. That’s €300,000 less than the net price of the Chiron Super Sport 300+ (intentional or a lucky coincidence of relevant numbers?) and €550,00 more than the base price of a Chiron Sport. Not that these differences matter to those who CAN buy a Bugatti hypercar in the first place but it’s still worth noting. While the Super Sport does offer a distinct proposition over a standard Chiron, it puts pressure on the Super Sport 300+ to offer a lot more than exclusivity and bragging rights.
This will likely be the last, non-limited edition of the Bugatti Chiron. Which Chiron do you like the most? Which one would you have in your dream hypercar garage, not including the one-off La Voiture Noire? The stock Chiron, the Sport, the Super Sport, the Super Sport 300+, the Divo, the Pur Sport or the Centodieci? Let us know in the comments below.
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