Having been unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show a year ago, the Bugatti Chiron will start appearing on the road in the hands of a lucky few customers next month.
2017 will see 70 of the 500 cars in total being built at Bugatti’s ‘Atelier’, which aptly translates from French to mean ‘workshop’.
The Volkswagen-owned manufacturer says that the time between starting a Chiron’s assembly to delivering it can be anything from six to nine months.
Every example of the £2 million hypercar is put together by hand. The procedure involves 20 workers and requires more than 1,800 bolted joints.
This level of attention may seem excessive, but you can’t be too careful when building a car with a 1,479bhp 8.0-litre quad- turbocharged W16 engine that produces 1,599Nm of torque, achieves 0-60mph in 2.3 seconds and carries on to an electronically limited speed of 261mph – with the believed potential to reach around 288mph.
Tristan Shale-Hester highlights and describes key moments in building a mechanical masterpiece.
1. The Chiron is assembled in the ‘Atelier’ at Molsheim – Bugatti’s lifelong home in France since 1909. The current building, which is styled to match the company’s Macaron logo, was built in 2006 and extensively modified to prepare for the complexity of manufacturing the new car.
2. The Atelier’s gleaming white floor, which measures more than 1,000 square metres, consists of epoxy – a highly conductive material. The purpose of this is to dissipate all electrostatic charges in the workspace.
3. There is only one piece of electronic equipment involved in building the Chiron’s chassis. It’s called the EC nutrunner system and it establishes a data value for every bolt on the car’s frame. This information is collected on a computer, which connects to the vehicle’s system and alerts the mechanic when the correct torque rate has been achieved. A total of 1,068 of these 1,800 bolts demand individual certification.
4. After three mechanics have taken about a week to build the chassis, a team of employees connect the monocoque to the rear end. These workers are all required to be capable of putting together the whole chassis, as well as the rear end, monocoque and frame.
5. Bugatti says that its new dynamometer has more power than any other of its type in the world. No part of the Chiron production has had more money spent on it than this, as the increased power and torque was too much for the previous technology to handle. The upgraded equipment uses its bigger electrical cables to generate around 1,200 amps while in use. This extra electricity is directed into Molsheim’s local power grid.
6. To make sure the Chiron is absolutely watertight, each one has to endure half an hour of monsoon rain. When it has successfully completed this, two mechanics will spend three days installing the interior. The car is then coated in a durable, transparent plastic foil.
7. Test-driving a Chiron takes 190 miles at fluctuating speeds. The car is even taken up to more than 155mph on an airport runway. Finally, the hypercar is inspected for six hours in a brightly lit shaft. Then – and only then – is the vehicle declared ready for delivery.