Calling the 1500-horsepower Bugatti Chiron an exclusive vehicle would be a bit of understatement — with fewer than 100 Chirons sold worldwide last year, it’s a rare occasion simply to see one, let alone own one. And then there are those “special customers” who receive invitations from this maker of extreme performance cars to possess something even more elusive — Bugatti One Offs and Few Offs. Since 2018 Bugatti has created three of these special series: Divo, Centodieci and La Voiture Noire.
Based on Chiron
These One Off Bugattis are based on the company’s most extreme model, the Chiron. Replacing the Veyron introduced about five years ago, the Chiron sits low and wide, possessing styling cues that hearken back to original Bugattis of the 1920s and 1930s — most noticeably the classic horseshoe grille. Looking directly from above, the Chiron carries the same basic lines as the legendary Bugatti Type57 SC Atlantic.
The Chiron and all its derivative models draw power from Bugatti’s 8.0-liter quad-turbo W16 engine that generates at least 1500 horsepower and 1180 lb-ft of torque. All that power gets sent to a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system and results in outrageous performance. The Chiron reaches 62 mph in less than 2.5 seconds, 124 mph in around 6.5 seconds and — most amazing of all — 186 mph in less than 13.6 seconds. The Chiron’s top speed is limited to 261 mph; however, the company recently broke the 300 mph mark with a modified Chiron.
Bugatti returned to coachbuilding in 2018 when introducing the Divo. Unlike the early days of coachbuilding when custom bodywork adorned a Bugatti chassis, the Divo goes beyond a unique body. Engineers today have the ability to adjust aerodynamics, vehicle weight, engine performance and chassis setup, so a One Off or Few Off design is as much about performance as it is about custom styling. Typically Bugatti makes these changes based on a theme for a particular vehicle, such as creating a vehicle with better track performance or building the ultimate GT car.
“What’s important is that the new creation results in a distinct model and that the model is identified as such. In addition to a modified look, the customers are given a different driving experience. What’s more, no two vehicles are alike, with each vehicle being customized in line with the customer’s color specifications,” said Pierre Rommelfanger, the head of coachbuilding projects at Bugatti.
Beginning the Process
It takes Bugatti two years to go from sketchpad to delivery and, unlike a typical vehicle purchase, Bugatti One Off buyers pay for their cars at the beginning of the process. In the first six months of a project Bugatti will define the theme or goal of the car, analyze customer demand and work out the business case which sets the price as well as the volume.
Leap of Faith
Current Chiron customers are then invited to one-on-one presentations with the option to purchase. In the case of the Divo, 70 customers were invited to presentations and 40 decided to pay their €5 million without having seen an actual car. This process explains why these special Bugattis are always sold out by the time they get shown to the public for the first time. In 2018 Bugatti invited the 40 future Divo owners to the Pebble Beach Concours so they could see an actual example of the car they’d purchased.
“The work involved in producing few-offs and one-offs is a challenge even for an exclusive manufacturer like Bugatti. Our customers expect very high quality in spite of the small editions and the immense work involved,” explained Rommelfanger.
In the final stages of the One Off process, Bugatti will build a prototype used for durability testing as well as high-speed and handling analysis. Based on the results, small changes may be made to the setup as the vehicle takes final form. As assembly of the first production models begins, every detail goes under the microscope, such as paint blend and carbon fiber alignment. After 24 months the first deliveries begin, as they have for the Divo and the ultra-exclusive La Voiture Noire.
Bugatti La Voiture Noire
Total Production: 1 Vehicle
Price: €11 million (US$13.4 million)
The first public peek at this handcrafted, one-off hyper sports car came at its debut on the opening day of the 2019 Geneva Motor Show press preview. Produced for a single Bugatti customer, La Voiture Noire is a stunning, sleek grand touring coupe with sculpted bodywork in black carbon fiber — a modern sports car that pays tribute to the brand-defining Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic.
Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic
Developed by Ettore Bugatti’s son Jean in the 1930s, only four Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic coupes were ever produced. These gorgeous automobiles boast more than 200 horsepower within a lightweight design — often considered the company’s first supercar. Jean Bugatti called his own Type 57 SC La Voiture Noire, which translates to the black car. This unique car disappeared shortly before World War II and its location remains a mystery today. However, if discovered it would likely be one of the most valuable cars in the world — a perfect predecessor to the current La Voiture Noire.
The modern-day La Voiture Noire derives power from Bugatti’s 8.0-liter W16 engine with quad turbochargers producing 1500 horsepower and 1180 lb-ft of torque. Six exhaust outlets are integrated into the rear fascia. “For Bugatti, ‘La Voiture Noire’ is more than just a reminiscence of the Atlantic,” said Bugatti President Stephan Winkelmann at the unveiling. “We are paying tribute to a long tradition, to France and to the creative work of Jean Bugatti. At the same time, we are transferring extraordinary technology, aesthetics and extreme luxury to a new age,” Winkelmann observed.
Ready for Delivery
Today Bugatti released the first images of the final production La Voiture Noire, since it is now ready for delivery. Priced at €11 million (US$13.4 million), the La Voiture Noire is the most expensive new car in the world.
Total Production: 40 Vehicles
Price: €5 million (US$6.1 million)
Named for the French racing driver and two-time Targa Florio winner Albert Divo, the Divo was developed to be more agile than the Chiron, optimized for exceptional handling on winding roads or the track.
“Our task was to develop a vehicle which would look different from the Chiron but still be immediately recognizable as a Bugatti,” said Achim Anscheidt, director of design at Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. “For us designers, this meant that the three key style elements of Bugatti had to remain in place: the horseshoe-shaped front grille, the typical Bugatti signature line along the sides of the vehicle and the characteristic fin that defines the longitudinal axis of the car when viewed from above, which was derived from the Type 57 Atlantic.”
Although most folks around the globe have not seen a Chiron on the road, those who have will instantly realize the Divo is something different and special. The vertical front lights feature daytime running lights on the outer edges, giving the Divo an appearance of greater width. With a light opening only 1.375 inches deep, the extremely compact, lightweight LED headlights provide a new look. The horizontal split into a lower carbon and an upper matte silver section also makes the Divo look lower and wider.
At the rear of the Divo, Bugatti designers integrated all-new 3D lights to further differentiate this special vehicle from the Chiron. Produced in part by a 3D printing process, the lights are more intense toward the outer edges for a unique appearance.
With the belief that form follows performance, design changes that differentiate Divo from Chiron are primarily functional, all with the goal of improving agility and performance. A wider front spoiler provides higher downforce as well as more airflow, which improves overall cooling. The roof of the Divo has been shaped to direct air into the engine to manage operating temperatures.
New air vents on the Divo direct cold air directly to the brakes, while a heat shield transfers the hot air through the wheels, helping to keep the massive brakes — 16.5-inch rotors up front, 15.7 inches in back — at optimized performance.
The Divo is a full 35 kg lighter than the Chiron. This weight reduction is a result of lightweight wheels, a carbon fiber intercooler cover, less insulation material, a lighter audio system and removal of interior storage compartments.
In addition to the weight reduction, Divo has new chassis and suspension settings designed to improve cornering dynamics. A new rear spoiler is height adjustable, acting as an airbrake or changing angles depending on driving needs. It is also 23 percent wider than the one found on the Chiron, and combined with the redesigned rear diffuser generates 456 kg of downforce — 90 kg more than Chiron.
Bugatti engineers adjusted the steering and suspension to give the Divo more direct response and sportier driving. A camber increase results in 1.6 g of lateral acceleration that clearly improves handling on any kind of road or track. In fact, the Divo is able to lap the Nardo handling circuit a full 8 seconds faster than the Chiron.
The Divo employs the same extreme powerplant found in the Chiron: an 8.0-liter quad turbo W16 engine producing 1500 horsepower and insane 1180 lb-ft of torque, available as low as 2000 rpm. The Divo uses a 2-stage turbocharging system that starts with two turbos engaged for quicker acceleration — at 3700 rpm the other turbos kick in. Power gets directed to all four wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox. While the Divo’s maximum speed is limited to “only” 236 mph, it will still sprint to 62 mph in a mere 2.4 seconds.
Total Production: 10 vehicles
Price: €8 million (US$9.8 million)
The third Few Off Bugatti was introduced at the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Celebrating the brand’s 110th anniversary, Bugatti unveiled the uber-exclusive Centodieci — a car designed as a tribute to a previous Bugatti supercar, the EB110.
“With the Centodieci, we pay homage to the EB110 super sports car which was built in the 1990s and is very much a part of our tradition-steeped history,” said Bugatti President Stephan Winkelmann. “We are proud of our long Bugatti history, of which the EB110 is very much a part. That’s why we’re celebrating a reinterpretation of this extraordinary vehicle with the Centodieci — Italian for 110,” Winkelmann noted.
When the EB110 premiered in 1991, it was one of the most potent production cars available. Powered by a 3.5-liter quad-turbocharged V12 engine, the EB 110 generates more than 550 horsepower, sent to the road via full-time all-wheel drive. The intention of the Centodieci is not to create a new version of the EB 110, but to celebrate that historical car with an even more powerful modern-day machine. “The challenge was not to allow oneself to be captivated too much by the design of the historic vehicle and work solely in retrospect, but instead to create a modern interpretation of the shape and technology of that time,” observed Bugatti Head Designer Achim Anscheidt.
Not an Easy Task
While the Centodieci is based on the Chiron, designers and engineers had significant hurdles to overcome beyond simply swapping out Chiron body panels to create the Centodieci. The Chiron’s complex design incorporates bodywork as an integral part of the car’s aerodynamics and cooling, as well as its high speed.
“We faced a number of technical challenges in terms of the development and design of the Centodieci,” said Anscheidt. “Transporting this classic look into the new millennium without copying it was technically complex, to say the least. We had to create a new way of combining the complex aerothermal requirements of the underlying Chiron technology with a completely different aesthetic appearance,” noted Anscheidt.
While the original EB 110 is powered by a V12, the Centodieci features Bugatti’s incredible 8.0-liter W16 engine that produces almost three times the power of that original V12 — 1600 horsepower. The sprint to 62 mph occurs in a lightning-like 2.4 seconds, 124 mph goes by in 6.1 seconds and in a bit over 13 seconds this Bugatti will be accelerating past 186 mph. Top speed is electronically limited to 236 mph.
More Than Speed
“It’s not just the top speed that makes a hyper sports car. With the Centodieci, we once again demonstrate that design, quality and performance are just as important,” said Winkelmann. Engineers were able to reduce the weight of the Centodieci compared to the Chiron, which permits even better performance and handling.
With only 10 units planned for Centodieci production, the full complement sold out in a few hours. The Centodieci is currently in its final testing phase, with a prototype spotted making the rounds at the legendary Nurburgring racetrack in Germany.