In the world of supercars and hypercars, advancing hand-in-hand with technological progress, there can be no limit to perfection. When we saw the masterpieces that are the Bugatti Veyron and Chiron, it seemed that it would be impossible to come up
with something more chic and expensive, reports Rachel Smith.
But, Bugatti knows how to surprise and impress, lighting up more and more dazzling stars time after time. It is during its unveiling at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, that this impression, akin to the blinding magnificence of sky-peppering cosmic bodies, startled the audience with a new hypercar from the French manufacturer - Bugatti La Voiture Noire, which immediately received the title of the most expensive and luxurious car in the world.
Since then, hundreds of publications and websites have written about this car. However, many of them seemed to ignore an important detail - La Voiture Noire is still just a prototype. At the time of its grand entrance, it was but an “unfinished” layout that lacked a working transmission and door handles, had an interior that was yet to be completed, and six exhaust pipes that did not lead anywhere. For these reasons, at the auto show, the most expensive car was all closed up, and no one could see what it looked like from within. While La Voiture Noire was created specifically for the Geneva Motor Show in just 12 weeks, the manufacturer has promised to make this model into a full-fledged, operational vehicle no earlier than 2021-2022.
Naturally, given the circumstances, the question arises: how come its price has already been revealed and ranges from 11 million to 19 million euros across different sources?
In truth, Bugatti’s La Voiture Noire has already been sold for €16.7 million euros, even in its currently unfinished and undrivable state. It is unknown who the mystery buyer is, as Bugatti only described them as “a Bugatti enthusiast”. However, rumour has it that La Voiture Noire will belong to the former head of the Volkswagen Group, Ferdinand Pihu, the grandson of the legendary Ferdinand Porsche. It has also been speculated that it was sold to the legendary footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, but the latter’s spokesperson has denied those claims.
A TRUE WORK OF ART
Due to the fact that this car is still just a mockup, it won’t be possible to find detailed technical specifications for the Bugatti La Voiture Noire at this moment. There are, however, planned specs that we will cover a bit further in the article. So, if we do not currently know much about the functionality of the vehicle, why did the most expensive car in the world cost as much? And is it really worth the asking price?
It is hard to imagine what €16.7 million looks like. Such an enormous sum of money in the largest denominations of the currency - €500 each, will amount to 33,000 pieces of paper weighing 37 kg. And if you count it in €100 bills, then the weight will already be as high as 168 kg. For that kind of money in the United States, you can buy yourself a private island of 4.5 hectares with a luxurious mansion built on it. In Europe, somewhere in France or Britain, a magnificent castle will cost about as much - with a century of history, dozens of rooms and an enthusiastic workforce of servants. For €16.7 million, you can buy 846 units of the brand new Volkswagen Golf of the latest generation, or 1,269 Renault Duster cars. Yes, that is a lot of money.
On one hand, you could say that it is perhaps too much money for one single car, and you may not be entirely wrong. Now, on the other hand - built as a “one-off”, enjoying absolute exclusivity, and assembled by hand at the French manufacturer’s workshop, La Voiture Noire is akin to a canvas painted by a great artist, the price of which will continue to grow with each passing year.
Bugatti created this vehicle as a modern interpretation of the personal grand tourer that belonged to Jean Bugatti - the famous Type 57 SC Atlantic, which mysteriously disappeared in 1940 from a train as they were attempting to rescue the car from the Nazis. And to this day, no one knows anything about the fate of that one model.
The vehicle’s official name sounds mysterious and romantic, does it not? Simply put, in French La Voiture Noire translates quite prosaically - a black car. But whether you find its name enigmatic or mundane, the main reason why its price is as high as €16.7 million, is that this hypercar will remain the only model to ever be created. This, indeed, makes La Voiture Noire a work of art. No one will produce it again, as the automaker has already officially announced. And while artists have managed to pull off some incredible knock-offs of chef d'oeuvres, it’s unlikely that anyone will be able to recreate this car.
So, in the end, is it worth it? If you are a connoisseur of cars, then Bugatti’s La Voiture Noire will for sure justify its stellar price tag. After all, in addition to uniqueness, the hypercar’s owner will also benefit from its absolutely unsurpassed characteristics.
MORE THAN 'JUST ANOTHER CHIRON'
First, about the body of this car, built in a style that pays homage to the last century’s 1930s. Said body is manually welded from carbon fibre components. The use of this material in particular is not surprising. Carbon fibre is a composite that boasts strength and durability greater than that of alloyed 25KhGSA structural steel. And while it provides an amazing level of protection, at the same time, this material is incredibly light. Of course, it is also extremely expensive. Therefore, more often than not, even among supercars, only some parts of the model will be strengthened by carbon fibre reinforced plastic. In the case of La Voiture Noire, the whole body and even some of the engine components are made out of top-quality carbon fibre.
Some say Bugatti’s La Voiture Noire is nothing more than a modified copy of Chiron. However, that is not true, because the new Bugatti comes equipped with a whole new range of tools that differentiate it from its predecessor. For starters, you could start by stealing a glance at the area of the engine compartment, and notice that it is unusually “perforated”. This part in particular has been designed in such a way that it ensures the airing out of high temperatures generated by an 8-litre W16 engine with four turbines that offer a capacity of 1,500 horsepower to all four wheels and 1,600 Nm of torque at 6,700 rpm.
A ONE-OF-A-KIND HYPERCAR
Another difference from the Chiron is La Voiture Noire’s feature of ventilation slots in the hood, and the design of the front bumper with huge air intakes; it is also distinguishable by its very special head optics adorned with curved tail lights that occupy the entirety of the width. The remarkable Bugatti brand is displayed with pride in the custom designed wheels, a large aluminium “shark fin” that runs along the entire body and the six tailpipes. For several years now, Bugatti has been experimenting with 3D-printed titanium parts that it mounts on hypercars. The manufacture of these parts is quite laborious because titanium isn’t the easiest metal to work. However, the French company does not intend to abandon this technology and the 3D-printed titanium tailpipes are featured on La Voiture Noire.
The design of this one-of-a-kind hypercar also comes equipped with its own special blackened front pillars, which create the effect of a solid glass flowing from the windshield to the side and reflecting the colors of the environment. All of this provides the most expensive vehicle in the world with a characteristically smoother, softer and more flexible shape than the Chiron.
However, at the moment, it is only from the outside that we can appreciate the quality of this unique car. To this day, little remains known about its abilities on the road. Presumably, they will be somewhat similar to the Divo and the Chiron. This comparison means that the hypercar will accelerate from zero to a hundred in 2.4 seconds, developing a maximum speed of 420 km / h. According to the manufacturer, this particular model will have an energy efficiency class G according to the WLTP system, with a fuel consumption range from 18.3 to 43.3 litres per 100 km.
So far, that's all that has been made public about the Bugatti La Voiture Noire. This unique beast may provoke amazement or bewilderment, but it is undeniable that it looks exceptionally sensational, and will go down in the history of the Bugatti brand as another masterpiece of automotive art. EG