SPEED DEMONS

Bugatti unleashes a 500km/h supercar — but you can't drive it home

An 8.0-litre engine is paired with a lightweight track special and the result is breathtaking

28 October 2020 - 17:07 By Denis Droppa
The Bolide is a Bugatti freed of all baggage, combining an 8.0-litre engine with the lightest possible chassis.
The Bolide is a Bugatti freed of all baggage, combining an 8.0-litre engine with the lightest possible chassis.
Image: Supplied

Bugatti has unleashed a 1,360kW hypercar capable of well over 500km/h.

Called the Bolide, which is French slang for “fast car”, the super coupe is powered by Bugatti’s iconic 8.0-litre W16 turbo petrol engine but installed in a carbon-bodied machine which is much lighter than the firm’s other supercars.

At 1,240kg the Bolide is a true flyweight compared to the 1,995kg Chiron, and with its above-mentioned power output (and 1,850 Nm of torque) it has a power-to-weight ratio of 0.9kg per kW, promising to offer the ultimate Bugatti performance kick.  

Weight-saving measures include racing brakes with ceramic discs, forged magnesium wheels (with a very wide tyre size of 340mm in front and 400mm at the rear), and also stripping out all the interior luxury items. The sparse cabin has light racing seats instead of the comfortably upholstered items in the Chiron.

To make it slip aerodynamically through the air the Bolide is just 995mm high, a full 300mm lower than a Chiron.

An air scoop that rises from the roof is covered in a special skin that forms blister-like bubbles at high speeds. These improve air flow over the scoop by 10% while also reducing aerodynamic lift by 17%, says Bugatti.

The car’s styling invokes the so-called X-planes of aviation history
The car’s styling invokes the so-called X-planes of aviation history
Image: Supplied

The driver’s ultra-sporty seating permits the low-slung shape of an automotive low-flying aircraft.

The car’s styling invokes the so-called X-planes of aviation history, like the Bell X-1 jet aircraft flown by Capt Charles “Chuck” Yeager 1947 when he became the first person to break the sound barrier.

Bugatti predicts that the Bolide could lap the Nurburgring Nordschleife in a time of 5:23.1, which would smash the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ’s production car record of 6:44.97.

“In my 16 years at Bugatti, I have never worked on a more extreme concept,” says Achim Anscheidt, director of design at Bugatti.

“The design of the Bolide is radically tailored to the idea of lightweight construction, and the design principle therefore follows on from the overriding goal of achieving a fascinating weight-to-power ratio.”

This concept car is a track special not meant for public roads and Bugatti hasn’t said whether it will offer the Bolide for sale.

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