Before taking the Chiron for a spin earlier this year in Malibu, Calif., Robb Report’s Robert Ross spoke with Bugatti design director Achim Anscheidt about the car, its purposeful design, and its possible place in history.
You’ve talked about how some of the parts—even some of the subsystems of this car—are “inherently authentic.” Can you explain what you mean by that?
It is important that the styling is as authentic as possible. What that means for the Chiron is something we call “form following performance.” If there is styling on the car, it should really have something to do with the performance development of the car.
Around the headlamps, the complete architecture is defined by the active air intake. With a 2-ton car, it is very important that the front brakes receive the best cooling; therefore the active air intake is vital for the performance of the car, and it creates the architecture of the headlamp design.
Let me take you around the side of the car. You see the Bugatti signature line here [pointing at the C-shaped aluminum strip that visually divides the front and back of the car’s body]. Very often it’s mistaken for a styling element, but it’s actually not. It’s a very active air intake all the way from the top of the B-pillar down to the door opening. It leads down to the engine compartment and creates a much better cooling effect.
So there’s nothing gratuitous about any of the design. It’s at the service of the performance and the function of the car.
I think that is one of the most important aspects for us: How can we make the styling so pure and so performance driven that it has value for the customer today and the car looks good today, but it also is important many years from now? A car cannot look up to date in 50 years’ time, that is clear. But it can look authentic in 50 years, when it maybe
sits on the lawn at
Will this look as authentic 50 years from now as the Type 57 Atlantic does today?
I think the Type 57 was a very authentic car for its time and one of the highlights of the automobile industry of the time.
Well, certainly the Chiron is the highlight of the auto industry today, and it’s probably poised to remain a highlight for another 10 years.
We hope so.