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The pièce de résistance of all Bugattis of late has been their top speed, until now
The Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport. From a distance it looks like a regular Chiron in a different frock but if you get a bit closer, the details reveal a level of over-engineered perfection that only Bugatti can achieve. Everything has been looked at and reworked to transform the Chiron from a continent munching hypercar to a track weapon. Let us take a closer look:
On the face of it, not much has changed here. The 8-litre W16 engine still produces 1479bhp and 1600Nm of torque, although it now revs 200rpm higher than the ‘standard’ Chiron. More importantly, the long-legged gear ratios have been tweaked and are now closer together by 15 per cent, offering better performance on track. While 0 to 100kmph is down by just a tenth at 2.3 seconds, the Pur Sport is an astonishing three seconds faster from 60 to 120kmph locked in sixth gear. While the Chiron takes 7.4 seconds for the same, the Pur Sport does it in 4.4 seconds. The gearbox itself shares very few parts with the one in the standard Chiron and has gone under extensive development and testing, “We spent one and half years developing the control system so as to ensure that every shift really does fit exactly in all driving conditions. First in simulation, then on the test stand and finally on test and circuit tracks as well as on country roads and motorways,” says Carl Heilenkötter, transmission development engineer at Bugatti. Top speed has come down from 420kmph in the Chiron, to 350kmph in the Pur Sport. While this may seem like a step backwards, it is important to note that since the Pur Sport accelerates quicker and has shorter ratios, you might actually be able to make it to your dinner date in Monaco faster in the Pur Sport.
It’s not often when I write about a car that I dedicate a full section for the rims and tyres. In fact, this might be the first time. Firstly, the rims. They’re made of magnesium and you can add optional aero blades to them which are aligned in a sort of turbofan arrangement. Not only do these look cool, they help extract hot air away from the brakes to aid cooling and also increased downforce. Additionally, special covers for the wheel bolts help reduce turbulence. This helps save 16kg over the Chiron and lowers unsprung mass.
The Michelin Sport Cup 2 R tyres have been developed in partnership with Michelin specifically for the Pur Sport. The tyre structure is all-new and the compound is softer than the one found on the Chiron since the latter is more about straight line stability. The tyres are wider too — 285/30 R20 at the front and 355/25 R21 at the rear, allowing for a 10 per cent increase in lateral acceleration.
A major point of difference between the standard Chiron and the Pur Sport is in the aerodynamics package. While the Chiron’s is designed to reduce drag and enable a higher top speed, the Pur Sport’s is tuned for maximum downforce. This is fairly evident at first glance — gone is the hydraulically operated retractable spoiler, making way for a massive fixed wing, there are more vents everywhere to further increase downforce and the massive diffuser at the back looks like it came from a spaceship. The downforce at the rear is balanced by a larger front splitter, wider front air intakes, wheel arch ventilation with optimized air outlets and a reduced standing height. This sacrifices straight line speed, but should make the mammoth-sized Chiron Pur Sport more agile on track.
Even after obsessing about the details of the Pur Sport for longer than I’d like to admit, it’s hard to summarise everything into a small story. For instance, the exhaust pipes are 3D printed titanium units and have the most intricate detailing I’ve ever seen on an exhaust pipe. There are new suspension joints, new springs with different spring rates offering a firmer setup and negative camber on both axles. The chassis is actively controlled and it can automatically adjust the shock absorbers, it takes just six milliseconds for measurement and force adjustment. Overall, it took a staggering 50,000 kilometres of testing just to fine-tune the chassis! I almost forgot, there is a new Sport+ setting on the ESC which allows for, “controlled drifts and a greater drift angle” and generally more playfulness on track, if you’re one of the 60 lucky customers that will get a chance to buy the Chiron Pur Sport. For everyone else, the beauty is in the details.