Rarely has an engine been as underappreciated as Bugatti’s remarkable 8.0-litre, quad-turbo W16. While the sonorous Ferrari V12, ferocious Lamborghini V10, and howling Maserati V8 are all rightly heralded as masterpieces of automotive engineering, the mighty Bugatti W16 makes its way into far fewer ‘greatest ever’ listicles.
Perhaps that’s because the cars it has found itself propelling have been comprised of many parts more mind-bendingly brilliant than even their staggering sums suggest. When every element of a vehicle is so remarkable – from the Veyron’s ten radiators to the Chiron’s 3D-printed titanium brake calipers – it’s hard to single any one component out.
But singled out the W16 should be. Not only for its stats – 1500hp, 1180lb ft of torque, 2.5 seconds to 62mph – but for its sheer complexity. Over 3,500 individual parts, many specifically designed and each assembled by hand, went into the construction of the first W16 in 2001 – it achieved its target 1001hp at the very first attempt. Despite a decade of subsequent testing and development in the Veyron, the engine underwent a further 16,000 hours of testing to ensure it was up to Bugatti’s even loftier aspirations for the Chiron.
No wonder, then, that even in an age of limited-edition race cars for the road, the Chiron undoubtedly remains one of the world’s most desirable machines, a historic piece of engineering and an integral part of Bugatti’s story.
The next owner of this 4,202-mile example will become an exclusive custodian of one of the 209 original Chirons ever produced. This car gains additional rarity thanks to its officially bestowed ‘110 Ans’ badges, applied to all 2019 cars to celebrate the 110th anniversary of Bugatti. It features black brake calipers, a visible carbon fibre engine cover, Nocturne Horse Shoe and tail light frame, black carbon wing mirrors and an interior centre line in Beluga Black.
For just £3,500,000, then, they’ll own one of the most remarkable pieces of automotive engineering ever created, with only one previous keeper and a full Bugatti Service History. Included with the sale is the peace-of-mind of the next four years’ Passeport Tranquilité – Bugatti’s very own service and maintenance programme, including one annual service for the next four years.