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We Spoke With Bugatti: Chiron Owners Will Never Go Faster Than 261 MPH

And that's still faster than any Veyron owner can go.

The Bugatti Chiron has its top speed limited to 261 mph. The fastest-ever Bugatti Veyron, the Super Sport, had its top speed limited to 258 mph. Yet over the weekend Jalopnik stirred up controversy by claiming the Chiron is “not as fast” as its predecessor. What is the basis for the claim? The fact that Bugatti has yet to demonstrate that an unrestricted Chiron will be faster than an unrestricted Veyron. This is completely ridiculous.

We spoke with Bugatti Head of Communications, Manuela Hohne, to finally get to the bottom of what is essentially a non-story. Ms. Hohne was quite categorical in her response: “In regards to the Chiron’s top speed, there’s nothing new here. Nothing has changed. 420 kph (261 mph) is the Chiron’s homologated top speed limited for road use and that won’t change.” In regards to the ‘speed key’ Ms. Hohne added: “We announced this in Geneva back in March. There is a Top Speed mode on the Chiron, which is unlocked with a ‘top speed key.’ (By the way, the Veyron uses exactly the same system). That key will enable the Chiron to go faster than the 380 kph (236 mph) and hit 261 mph.

"We set that homologated top speed in line with our tire manufacturers, and only Bugatti will be able to go quicker than that when it makes the speed world record attempt.” And in response to why Bugatti is waiting until 2018 to beat the Veyron’s speed world record, the message was loud and clear: “Production of the Chiron will begin at the end of this autumn. We always said the world record attempt would not take place before 2018 and, again, nothing has changed.” Remember that it took Bugatti a couple of years to unleash the Super Sports’ full potential after revealing the car, deactivating the electronic speed limiter for its test driver, Pierre Henri Raphanel, who went on to set a top speed world record of 267.856 mph.

There is no doubt that when the time comes for Bugatti to push a Chiron to the edge, it will comfortably beat a flat-out derestricted Veyron. Bugatti chairman Wolfgang Durheimer has said “I know it will be faster” and that beating 268 mph will be easy. After speaking with Bugatti Engineering Chief, Willi Netuschil, Autoblog revealed it will be “around 285 mph” but the speedometer on the Chiron goes to 310 mph, so it could well push 300 mph. Nobody knows for sure at the moment. Not even Bugatti. It’s all speculation. But that doesn’t make the Chiron “not as fast” as its predecessor, as Jalopnik claims.

Yes, 268 mph is faster than 261 mph, but Jalopnik has, perhaps unwittingly, more likely disingenuously, compared the Veyron’s unrestricted world record speed to the Chiron’s restricted top speed in making this false assertion. The fact of the matter is that from day one, Chiron owners will be able to go faster than Veyron Super Sport owners. So the Chiron is faster than the Veyron in terms of its restricted top speed for road use, which is the one that really matters. The world record top speed is just for bragging rights. And these will come too. We’ll just have to be patient and wait until 2018.

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