This is the first prototype of the £9m Bugatti Centodieci

By topgear, 20 February 2021

That great lump of unobtanium scaffolding pictured above will eventually Megazord into a) a rolling homage to Roman Artioli’s underappreciated EB110 from the Nineties, and b) something capable of inflicting a Streetfighter II-style ‘Perfect’ on your wallet.

That said, it’ll also deliver a hadouken on your senses too, because it is the Bugatti Centodieci. And though sculpturally it is a brilliant reimagining of the car that kept Bugatti in the hypercar game, mostly it’s really, really fast. Chiefly because it’s more powerful than the Chiron from whence it came (1,600hp plays 1,500hp), and 20kg lighter.

Revealed back in the summer of 2019 when human interaction was acceptable, the Centodieci formed a part of Bugatti’s slew of limited editions (the others being the La Voiture Noir and Divo). Each represented a different philosophy. Each was based on the Chiron.

And lo, each requires a very specific development process. The Centodieci – that name referring to Bugatti’s 110 years in the business when revealed – undergoes body, aero, engine and transmission calculations, before many simulations occur. The engineers mimic the airflow and “check all components down to the smallest screw”. Take a look at how intricate the thing is above, and then tell us you envy this particular job.

Simultaneously, the design team checks the styling, adjusting the “curvature of the components according to the incidence of light so that the appearance is homogenous in all lighting conditions”. A Big Job, basically.

The rolling chassis was recently treated to a HIIT session on Bugatti’s dynamometer in Molsheim to ‘check all the drivetrain functions’. The next stage is making the exterior work with that 8.0-litre W16 engine, itself on display behind a glass surface.

“In the next few months, in addition to building the exterior and running more advanced simulations in the wind tunnel, we’re very much looking forward to going out on the test track to start tuning the chassis,” explains André Kullig, Bugatti’s technical project manager for one-offs.

Bugatti reckons on having the scaffolding suited and booted and delivered to the ten Centodieci customers next year.

STORY Vijay Pattni

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