For US$5.8 million, Bugatti’s new supercar will turn corners faster than ever

The Divo is said to have significantly higher performance in terms of lateral acceleration, agility, and cornering. (Bloomberg pic)

NEW YORK: It’s road legal, but built for the track, and aimed at the speeding heart of the Chiron-owning public. Today in Monterey, Calif., Bugatti unveiled the €5 million (US$5.8 million) Divo. Only 40 will be made, considerably fewer than the 500 examples produced of the US$3 million Chiron.

The jump in price is due to changes in the car’s aerodynamics program, modifications to the chassis, and suspension upgrades. As a result, the Divo is 77 pounds lighter than the Chiron, with 198 pounds more downforce and better lateral acceleration.

Those details make up for the fact that, with an electronically limited top speed of 236 mph—nearly 30 mph less than the Chiron’s top speed—the Divo will be slower on a straight line.

For this car, straight lines aren’t the point. Around a track, the Divo will beat the Chiron all day long.

“The Divo has significantly higher performance in terms of lateral acceleration, agility, and cornering,” says Stephan Winkelmann, president of Bugatti. “The Divo is made for corners.”

It maintains the massive 8-litre, 1,500-horsepower, 16-cylinder engine and the wide, low footprint of the Chiron and Veyron. But new inlets, vents, and edges carved out of its slimmer body increase airflow for downforce and keep the brakes and engine cool—a constant challenge in the world of hypercars.

Along the top, the roofline with a drastic dorsal fin forms a uniquely shaped duct to optimize air intake. In the back, a new spoiler acts as a brake and can be set to varying angles for different driving modes. And a newly designed, wide front spoiler guides more air to the front inlets that help cool the car at high speeds.

Engineers saved weight by adjusting the front diffuser flaps, reducing the amount of insulation, and installing a lighter sound system. In addition, as Bugatti puts it, “stowage compartments on the central console and in the door trims have also been omitted.” In other words: Goodbye, cup holders.

On the front end, daytime running lights set on the outer edge give the car a wide, menacing look. The front splitter has an upper section in matte silver that makes the Divo look lower and underlines the optical illusion created by the wide-set headlights.

At the outer edge, the fins look wider and brighter; toward the centre of the car, they look narrower. The effect looks like a gradual light fade across the back of the car.

According to Bugatti, all 40 Divos have already been purchased, which is not surprising. The brand has said its average owner has, statistically speaking, 2.5 Bugattis in the garage: one to drive, one to preserve, and one placed on order.

Brett David, chief executive officer of Miami’s Prestige Imports, confirms that purchase mentality among the world’s most wealthy.

“It is becoming increasingly easier to do deals on seven-figure cars rather than US$200,000 to US$300,000 cars,” he says. “People realize it’s an appreciating asset. They’re having opportunities to see increased value and increased profitability in these cars—and they want something they can really drive, rather than just let sit in a garage.”

Production of the Bugatti Divo starts soon in Molsheim, France.