Designing the world’s most powerful, fastest, luxurious and exclusive production super sports car that people – well, not ordinary people – are willing to pay $2.6 million for is no easy task. So it's fair to say Bugatti design director Achim Anscheidt was under pressure to come up with something pretty spectacular for the new Chiron.
We'd say he hit the mark with the 1,480 hp, 260 mph beast, of which only 500 examples will be produced, building on the success of the Veyron and refining its unmistakably million-dollar-plus styling. No surprise then that the car's looks stem mostly from trying to put all that power in an attractive package.
"The limits were so high that we realized we can only achieve this with a win-win collaboration of design and engineering," Anscheidt tells Motor Authority. "And that set up a system that gave me a chance to solve technical issues to better the performance. "Making the elements that you justify technically very strong – the C shape, the rear end, the front architecture – should be the first and primary read. Everything else goes into the background."
"The stronger those lines are and the more justified they are," he notes, "the more the other elements and the other surfaces can be quiet, can be really nice and clean." The signature Bugatti "horsecollar" front grille recalls the famous Bugattis of the 1920s, but is designed for ideal airflow.
Likewise the C shape of the side "looks like a romantic sideline and you can identify it with the signature of Ettore Bugatti or the Type 41 or even the signature of Louis Chiron," Anscheidt says, "but the real reason for that line is a performance function" – one massive intake.
Likewise the thin LED taillight is designed so that as much heat as possible can escape from the engine compartment, while the retractable rear spoiler plays a big role in aerodynamics, deploying at 50 mph and acting as an airbrake. "If you've ever had a chance to come down from 250 mph to 0 as fast as you can, you realize how important an airbrake is for Bugatti," Anscheidt notes.
Other nods to the past are almost exclusively based on the 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic. "The Atlantic is such a strong asset in our history," Anscheidt says. "We in the design studio cherish that car." As for the interior, he calls it both sportier and more civilized than that of the Veyron:
"In this balance of beauty and beast, the car in all aspects became quite a bit more beast. The interior reflects that in its architectural layout. The passenger and driver have a more secluded, sporty compartment, and all the functions move from the center console to the driver's hand on the steering wheel."
Anyone lucky enough to sit in the driver's seat may well reflect on all these design flourishes – although they'll probably be far too busy blowing everything else off the road.