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Car and Driver: Bugatti’s Wolfgang Durheimer Hints at Chiron Roadster, Galibier a Future Possibility

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2017 Bugatti Chiron

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Bugatti designed the Chiron to be superior to its predecessor, the Veyron, in every respect. The full set of specs and details has not yet been disclosed, but when we sat down with Bugatti CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer recently, he gave us a bit of a heads up on the new car’s capabilities. “We haven’t driven top speed yet, but we hold the world record with the 268 [mph] of the Veyron Supersport, and we know that we can push up the mark significantly with the extra 300 horsepower of the Chiron.”

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The first customer cars will be delivered in the fall of 2016, and Dürheimer says they will be able to reach 239 [mph] in Handling mode—”with maximum downforce and easy handling. It reacts like a go-kart.” To go faster, customers will be able to switch to Top Speed mode, which is limited to 261 mph and can be activated any time. But that’s not the upper limit. The governor can be disabled altogether, but the Chiron has not yet been driven near its ungoverned top speed. Bugatti’s official v-max run might not happen until 2018, but if customers want to go beyond the 261-mph limit before that, Bugatti will help them to do so. At those ultra-high speeds, every detail needs to be sorted, such as the condition of the wheels and tires.

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We hear that the 1500-hp mark was an immense challenge for Bugatti’s engineering team, and until relatively late in the development process, the benchmark was “one megawatt,” or around 1350 horsepower. But 1500 horsepower might not even be the end; Dürheimer doesn’t rule out even more powerful derivatives.

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Additional speculation concerns a roadster version of the Chiron. Bugatti previously had a roadster variant of the Veyron, and when asked whether a roadster version of the Chiron would need to have a T-bar roof in order to preserve the “Atlantic” line at the center of the coupe, Dürheimer remarked: “Very perceptive.”

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Beyond variations of the Chiron, Bugatti is already considering its next steps. “We are weighing four strategic alternatives, all of them sensational. One of them is the Galibier,” Dürheimer tells us.

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But the brand won’t offer a second model alongside the Chiron. “We are following a sequential pattern,” says Dürheimer. “We don’t want to make two model lines, but we are deciding on the product that would succeed the Chiron.”

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