Update: Bugatti had previously released only sketches and renders of this one-off road missile. We have updated the story and gallery with freshly released images of the actual car.
If you thought the Bugatti Divo was an impressive track shredder, check out this latest creation, whose name is defined by Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as “a large meteor: FIREBALL, especially: one that explodes. ” Meet the Bugatti Bolide, a race-ready coupe with 1,825 hp and a Nürburgring time that puts more mortal rivals to shame. And hopefully doesn’t explode.
Okay, so a non-automotive bolide explodes with megatons of power when the meteor enters the atmosphere, and this news feels a bit like that, so it all works. For its Bolide, Bugatti reworked its famous 8.0-liter W16 engine to produce 1,825 horsepower and 1,364 lb-ft of torque. This mill propels the track star to a top speed of well over 310 mph, meaning it blends the athleticism (and then some) of the Divo with the top-speed heroics of the Bugatti Chiron (again, and then some). According to the automaker, the Bolide laps the famed ‘Ring in 5:23.1 minutes, which makes it extremely quick. That’s just behind the lightning-speed Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo, a full-blown racing prototype, and way ahead of every production hypercar out there currently dawdling in the upper-six-minute range.
All these atmosphere-exploding performance stats are made possible with the help of four new turbochargers. These units include special blades that help build up more boost pressure and power at high speeds. The Bolide boasts air-to-air intercooling with a water pre-cooling setup to further enhance the turbos’ power boost.
It also helps that the Bolide comes in with a dry weight of just 2,734 pounds, giving it an insane power-to-weight ratio. To keep the car light and trim, Bugatti says it used a special carbon monocoque with single-fiber tensile strength seen only in the aerospace industry. Further weight reductions were made in the drive system. A lightweight push-rod suspension system and magnesium wheels complete the package.
Bugatti is also introducing a unique roof scoop. When the Bolide is driven at slow speeds, the surface of the scoop is smooth. At higher speeds, bubbles emerge to reduce the aerodynamic drag of the scoop by 10 percent. Resulting downforce is 3,968 pounds at the rear wing and 1,764 pounds at the front assuming a speed of around 200 mph.
The Bolide’s low-slung proportions were inspired by the X-planes of yesteryear, specifically the Bell X-1 that exceeded the speed of sound under the command of Chuck Yeager. As for the paint job, Bugatti looked to its own history. About 40 percent of the car is painted in a re-interpretation of the French Racing Blue color, while the remaining 60 percent is naked in visible carbon.
And now, for the final explosion: This is all fantasy. Bugatti hasn’t made a decision on entering the Bolide into series production. Let’s hope it does. We can all use another escape in today’s world of uncertainty.
This story was originally published on October 28, 2020.