Bugatti Chiron is Fun to Drive Even When You’re Not Going 261 MPH

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Believe it or not, there’s more to the Bugatti Chiron than just its top speed. When the going gets twisty, it can keep up.

What do American muscle cars from the 1960s and the Bugatti Chiron have in common? People love driving them fast in straight lines. Classic Ford Mustangs and Chevrolet Camaros sound great going flat out down country roads. The Chiron has a top speed of 261 mph so it’s logical that most people who get behind the wheel point it at the horizon and keep their right foot planted until they run out of courage or road.

Carfection‘s Henry Catchpole had something else in mind when he got the chance to review the 1,500-horsepower hypercar. He experienced its acceleration (which can be summed up with a simple “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!“), but he wanted to do more than that. Catchpole was curious to discover how the Chiron steers and brakes and handles on a “good piece of back road with some twists and turns in it, changes in camber.” Luckily, there’s just such a strip of pavement outside of the Bugatti factory in Molsheim, France. Bugatti Chiron Review

Before he sets out, Catchpole sets the Chiron to its handling mode, which stiffens the suspension, backs the stability control off a little, adds weight to the steering, and changes the angle of the rear wing by four degrees. Then he absolutely flies through the French countryside. Catchpole quickly learns just how to drive the Chiron. “You need to get the car into the corners. It’s obviously got a lot of weight behind you, but it’s actually really well controlled.” Once he has the nose in a corner, he gets on the throttle early so he can build up boost from the 8.0-liter W16‘s four turbos. When he needs to scrub off speed in a hurry, the Chiron’s brakes respond with force and effectiveness.


ALSO SEE: Bugatti Chiron Driven! 1,500 Horsepower of Engineering Excellence


Catchpole’s fast drive not only reveals how athletic the Chiron is, but also just how different from the Veyron it is, especially in curves. The Veyron didn’t inspire Catchpole to push it because it didn’t communicate what it was doing. The Chiron, on the other hand, encourages him to go further. “When you turn in, you can feel the front, but more importantly, you can feel the rear of the car so you feel like you can manage the weight.”

Top speed was a defining characteristic of the Veyron. By extension, the Chiron’s 261-mph top speed is definitely one of its most noteworthy stats. Catchpole is more than fine with not coming close to hitting it during his review. We can see why. Instead of concentrating on one number, he enjoyed dozens of curves in one of the most powerful and exotic cars on the planet.

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Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his JK Forum profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK Forum, H-D Forums, The Mustang Source, Mustang Forums, LS1Tech, HondaTech, Jaguar Forums, YotaTech, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts. Derek also started There Will Be Cars on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

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