Bugatti: Chiron capable of 320 mph on Koenigsegg's Nevada route
The Swedish automaker benefited from higher elevation to set the current production-car record.
Bugatti has released a statement claiming the Chiron could've reached a top speed of around 319 mph if the company replicated Koenigsegg's record-setting run in Nevada.
The Swedish automaker's Agera RS achieved a top speed of 277.87 mph in 2017, taking the average of the best runs in opposite directions on a closed portion of Highway 160 near Pahrump, Nevada.
Bugatti's 304.77-mph run reflects a single top speed from one direction on the Volkswagen Group-owned Ehra-Lessien test track in Germany. The company argues the private track is the "only place in the world" where the highest safety standards can be applied to record attempts, however the elevation -- 164 feet above sea level -- creates much more air resistance than Pahrump, which sits above 2,500 feet.
"Our calculations have shown that we would have been around 25 km/h [15.5 mph] faster in Nevada," says Bugatti development head Stefan Ellrott. "Safety comes first at Bugatti. The route in Nevada is very long and only goes in one direction: security forces would have taken too long to get to the scene in an emergency. In addition, the track has a slight gradient of about three percent. It wouldn't have felt right to set a record there."
The statement will likely be interpreted as a whiny attempt to preemptively steal thunder from Koenigsegg or Hennessey, both of which are expected to attempt 300+ mph runs and could conceivably top the Chiron's 304.77-mph benchmark. The gradient detail seems to be a bit of misinformation, as the Agera RS record is based on the average from two runs in opposite directions to negate any tailwind or downhill advantage.
Bugatti claims that "with this new world record" it will withdraw from the competition to produce the "fastest serial production cars," despite setting its self-awarded record in a non-production prototype on an VW Group-exclusive track without averaging two runs in opposite directions.
"We have shown several times that we build the fastest cars in the world," says Bugatti chief Stephan Winkelmann. "In future we shall be focusing on other exciting projects."
Koenigsegg will likely make the most credible attempt at a 300-mph production car record with the Jesko, the Agera RS' successor with 1,600 horsepower and a planned 125-unit production run.