Comet on Wheels
By Stephanie Bonilla
In a fascinating paradox, if you were to Google the word “Chiron” you would receive two search results: the definition for a comet with a unique orbit and images of Bugatti’s newest model. Though this celestial object is not typically synonymous with automobiles, Bugatti’s latest model definitely fits the description. With astounding speeds maxing out at 261 mph, a distinctive design and bright LED lights, Bugatti’s hypercar is fast, sleek and illuminating—much like a comet.
The Chiron, which recently revealed itself in the Geneva International Motor Show, has finally made its way to the United States. Now Mauricio Parlato, Bugatti’s new Chief Operating Officer for North America, has the task of catching the eyes of those elite few who could afford the car’s lavish €2.4 million price tag—though it won’t be too hard. Putting aside that the brand’s loyal followership happens to be an exclusive group of millionaires and billionaires, Parlato has rubbed elbows with the affluent for years. Prior to joining the Bugatti brand, Parlato served as the CEO for Lotus and also belonged to the Ferrari and Maserati group for over 20 years. So why did he make the switch to a competitor? Maybe he was saving the best for last.
Though Parlato hasn’t necessarily said that was his reasoning for leaving, he has admitted that Bugatti’s new Chiron is his favorite model thus far. A self-proclaimed car lover since he was a child, he compares driving a Bugatti to what he imagines piloting a jet must feel like. And he should know. He’s driven some of the most coveted luxury sports cars in the world.
“The difference between a Ferrari and a Bugatti, for example, is that a Ferrari is a racing car that was put on the street. Though Ferrari and Bugatti both have beautiful and powerful cars, the Bugatti concept is different: It’s a streetcar conceived to be driven on the road, while still capable of being converted into a jet,” says Parlato. All in max security, of course. “The Chiron was created with different modes to protect the driver, allowing them to exploit the vehicle’s power whilst still maintaining safety. You can drive to a social event just like you can go out to a track and race it.”
If its diversity isn’t enough of a selling point for car aficionados, the fact that the Chiron is said to be the fastest car in the world might be. Surpassing its predecessor, the Veyron, the Chiron can go from 0 to 100 km/h
in less than 2.5 seconds—all thanks to its 1,500 horsepower.
“Art, shape, design and technology make up our brand’s DNA,” says Parlato. “The Chiron was specifically designed with speed in mind, including a spoiler that serves as a tail that moves up and down (just like a jet’s), helping the car accelerate to its full power.”
But buying a Chiron is not easy—even for customers who have millions to spend on a car. Bugatti has already sold one-third of its total production during a “silent launch,” earmarking the sports car for an exclusive few that got first dibs on purchasing the car. And it’s no surprise. The Chiron undoubtedly trumps all of its competitors—including the Veyron, a member of its own family—with its outstanding engineering and revolutionary design. Not only did Bugatti consider the engine and the exterior aesthetics when designing the 1995 kg mass of carbon fiber, they paid just as much attention to the interior. With soft leather, shiny aluminum dials and a gleaming analog speedometer adorning the inside, we wouldn’t be surprised if diamond chips were what made up the mirrors. Carstruck yet?
If buying the Chiron is difficult, spotting one will be even harder. Just like a comet, the sighting of a Chiron will be few and far between. Having produced only 500 models for the entire world, it is highly unlikely that one will fly by you. But if you’re lucky enough to spot one, make sure you make a wish. It is likely that owning a Bugatti will be one of them.