Yowzer: the bananas Bugatti Bolide has made production | Top Gear
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Yowzer: the bananas Bugatti Bolide has made production

Bugatti's track-only study loses power and gains safety kit, but still looks an extraordinary way to spend £3.5m

Published: 13 Aug 2021

Last year, Bugatti showed us what the ultimate iteration of its hypercars could look like. The Bolide was a design study and 1,824bhp track special that melted our poor little minds.

And now it’s real. Or at least will be soon. Bugatti is making 40 of them, sold at four million euros apiece (around £3.5m) with deliveries scheduled for 2024.

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Which should go some way to explain this simply isn’t a reskinned Chiron with a big wing bolted on. This is a complete direction change from Bugatti’s usual ‘heavy but fast’ philosophy. Well, not a complete direction change. It’s still very much quick.

Though not quite as quick as first promised. That mighty power figure was yielded with 110-RON fuel – the kind of stuff you have to order in from, well, we don’t dare ask who. Plug in the same 98-RON stuff you’ll get from the premium pump at most UK petrol stations and the quad-turbo W16 engine pumps out 1,600PS, or 1,578bhp for fans of old-fashioned pedantry over neatness.

We’re told it’ll rev higher than usual (but we’re not told to which number) while ‘the cooling system for the turbochargers, engine, transmission, and differential are modified for optimum power development’. The whole thing has had a good old tickle, then.

Quite where the shaved power figure leaves some of the Bolide’s hypothetical achievements announced on the concept’s arrival – 0-311mph-0 in 33.62secs and a 5m 23s Nordschleife laptime – remains to be seen. But those figures could gain a whole minute each and still feel utterly spectacular, never mind a weeny handful of seconds that’s much more likely.

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The Bolide is described as ‘the ultimate driving machine for track’, and weighs a scant 1,450kg, even with all the necessary safety equipment that’s been added to 2020’s slenderer prototype. Golf GTI levels of mass are totally acceptable with 1600PS providing motive force, we’d vehemently argue.

All the safety kit is FIA approved, with HANS system compatibility, an automatic fire extinguisher, pressure refuelling, central wheel locking, and six-point harnesses. “The customers’ safety is always our top priority,” says Bugatti president Stephan Winkelmann.

“We therefore decided to offer exclusive track days for this extreme vehicle in order to guarantee a safe environment at all times and gradually introduce the customers to the Bolide’s breathtaking performance.”

Yep, there’ll be no exuberantly driven Mk1 MX-5s nipping up the inside when you approach the first turn of a trackday before you’ve gained faith in the Bolide’s monumental (and as yet unspecified) downforce. You’ll be among friends. Rich friends, naturally…

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