Bugatti had intended to serve up its latest (and final) Chiron flavor, the Pur Sport, at this year’s Geneva salon in March. In light of the show’s cancellation, earlier this week we were able to poke around the rolling show car up close at a dealership in metro Detroit. On looks alone, I feel it my solemn duty to invoke the immortal worlds of Ferris Bueller at this moment: “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”
That’s easier said than done, of course, when the starting price for the Pur Sport is $3.6M. They are, yes, technically still for sale; Bugatti Chief Operating Officer Cedric Davy was on hand to confirm that the Pur Sport’s 60-car production run is, as of this writing, not 100-percent spoken for. Davy expects the U.S. to account for roughly 30 percent of Pur Sports in total, and about half of the car’s buyers so far are new customers. Of course, there is a small handful of clientele who will own a Chiron, Chiron Super Sport, and Chiron Pur Sport. (Remember, the Bugatti owner on average maintains a fleet of more than 40 cars spread across 4.6 houses, so when taking the yacht, jet, or helicopter to a different abode you don’t want to worry about how to take your Chiron along for the ride.)
A quick recap for those still reeling from that eye-watering price tag, wondering what in the hell kind of car costs as much as a respectable mansion in suburban D.C.: the Pur Sport is a more agility-focused iteration of the heroic Chiron hypercar (itself an evolution of the earlier Veyron that ushered the Bugatti brand back into the automotive fray in 2005). Compared to the standard Chiron, the Pur Sport is lighter, generates more downforce, and prioritizes sporty driving dynamics over top speed—the latter is the domain of the Chiron Super Sport.
Up close, even the standard Chiron strikes one as considerably more reasonable in size than it does in photos, where it often appears so chunky and wide that it’s admittedly difficult to perceive it as anything other than some automotive Super Soldier gone wrong. That effect is way toned down when the car is right in front of you, but the Pur Sport (by design) leans much more toward the sharp, extroverted end of the spectrum than the comparatively clean Chiron. Each of these changes has a specific purpose, however, so let’s dive into the Pur Sport-specific details on a little photo gallery tour of the car en rond:
Bugatti widened the Pur Sport’s horseshoe-shaped grille for additional airflow. The ’16’ is a nod to the brand’s racing heritage, but buyers have personalized theirs in all kinds of ways, including their company’s logo.
The Pur Sport’s raison d’etre is to satisfy customers wanting more excitement from the Chiron, both in driving experience and aesthetics. The hood comes down a bit more over the headlights, giving them a slimmer and more imposing look. The inset carbon-fiber stripe extends all the way through the hood and over the roof. The larger front splitter and its more aggressively pitched lip allows for more downforce.
This overhead view of the fender louvers gives a sense of the Pur Sport’s exceptional attention to the balance of form and function. The texture of these little carbon-fiber-trimmed vents, designed to extract hot air from the brakes and tires, is gorgeous.
The wild-looking spider-web wheels aren’t just for show, either. The wheels themselves are made of magnesium, which is more effective at dissipating heat than aluminum or even carbon fiber. The Pur Sport’s optional carbon-fiber winglets, visible as two rings each intersecting the spokes, direct turbulence away from the wheels. One customer, Davy mentioned, was so taken with the web-like wheels that this person’s car will be custom-built with a red and blue color scheme deliberate meant to evoke Spider-Man. (Something tells me this person is not finding common ground with Peter Parker on the basis of a similar photojournalist’s salary.)
Michelin makes the Pur Sport’s bespoke Sport Cup 2R rubber, sized 285/30R20 up front and 355/25R21 out back. Suspension changes include springs that are 65 percent firmer at the front and 33 percent firmer at the rear, optimized software for the adaptive damping system, and 2.5 additional degrees of negative camber on the wheels.
Although the show car we saw was a so-called “roller” fitted with an electric motor rather than the standard 8.0-liter, quad-turbo W-16, the view of the engine cover is nonetheless identical to what it would be on production Pur Sport. The behemoth of an engine carries over from the regular Chiron only mildly tweaked and generating the same 1500 hp and 1180 lb-ft of torque. The real changes are to the transmission, which enhances the sensation of acceleration with 15 percent shorter gear ratios. I’ve had the absolute pleasure of driving a Chiron at full throttle, and the thought of an acceleration experience more breathtaking than that just makes me a tad dizzy.
Given that top speed is not the main priority for this car (a puny 217.48 mph) a fixed carbon-fiber rear wing replaces the hydraulic airbrake system on the regular Chiron and Super Sport models. Of the 110-pound overall weight loss Bugatti engineered into the Pur Sport, this swap represents a sizable helping of it.
Perhaps the most successful aesthetic alteration to the Pur Sport—especially if you live in America—is the rear bumper. The extended rear diffuser is, again, optimized for improved downforce, but the real improvement is that it meets U.S. regulations and obviates the original Chiron’s need for that heinous bumperette.
As part of the aforementioned $350,000 carbon-fiber package, the interior is outfitted generously in the lightweight material as well as plenty of Alcantara. The two-tone effect in the door cards is particularly striking, using the same cube-edge geometric motif that’s repeated in the grille and front intakes.
There’s plenty more to ogle on the ultra-impressive Chiron Pur Sport, so feast your eyes on even more visual delights.