Geneva, as usual, was a launchpad for supercars this year. It seemed like every boutique supercar manufacturer was in attendence, but all eyes remained on the two biggest names in the business. Both Koenigsegg and Bugatti revealed their production hypercars, and in turn two very different ways of reaching 250 mph.
Making echoes of the Veyron in 2005, it’s a wonder the Bugatti Chiron was created at all. 11 years ago, when the first production Bugatti Veyron strutted its stuff on public roads for the first time, contemporary critics were stunned a multi-national automaker as large as Volkswagen could pull-off such a masterstroke. Fast forward to 2016 and we have a new Bugatti yet again stunning the world, this time under the shadow of VW’s neck-deep diesel emissions scandal.
Underneath the rather familiar exterior of the Chiron lies a variant of the Veyron’s 8.0-liter, quad-turbo W-16 engine. This time around, the engine spits out a monumental 1,479 hp and 1,180 lb-ft of torque, thanks in part to new electric turbochargers. Power is sent to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
The claimed top speed of at least 261 mph falls short of the outgoing Veyron SS’ 268 mph, but Bugatti is keeping the true top speed obfuscated for unnamed reasons. They do confirm that with a special package, in a certain environment, with a fleet of factory engineers present, the Chiron will get to 280 mph.
The Bugatti might have been the king for a brief moment, but Koenigsegg was ready for the Molsheim monster. The Swedish madmen yanked the covers off their newest megacar, the Koenigsegg Regera. We saw the prototype version of this car at the 2015 Geneva auto show, but now it’s back on the show floor in production form, and it means business.
It matches the Chiron power for power, with 1,500 hp from an engine nearly half the size, half the cylinders, and half the turbos. Where the Chiron is decidedly old-school in powertrain tech, the Koenigsegg is bleeding edge, with a hybridized 5.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine. The V-8 features an electric motor attached to the crankshaft, which works in tandem with the dual electric motors mounted in the rear wheels.
The Bugatti shifts its gears with a tried-and-true dual clutch gearbox. The Regera manages to putter around without any gearbox at all. Instead, power is routed through a final drive differential, with electric motors providing the initial power. Once the car is moving at an unspecified speed, the V-8 engages, and fills the gaps in torque.
So here is how the two missiles face off in performance: The Chiron has the edge right out of the gate, thanks to all-wheel drive. 0-60 is blitzed by the Chiron in just 2.5 seconds to the rear-wheel drive Regera’s 2.8 second 0-62 mph run. The Chiron still has a hair’s edge to 125 mph, taking just 6.5 seconds to the Regera’s 6.6-second charge to 124 mph. Suddenly, the Koenigsegg digs in, beginning to strut away from the Frenchie toward 186 mph. Koenigsegg claims a 10.9 second 0-186 mph sprint compared to the Bugatti’s 13.6 second run. Oh boy.
The beating doesn’t stop there, as Koenigsegg claims the Regera will brush up against 248 mph in an eye-watering 20 seconds, on to its rev-limited top speed of 254 mph. The Chiron would eventually catch up and pass the Swede, with a top end of 261 even without Bugatti’s special 280 mph package.
It’s not just performance and execution where the two uber-coupes differ. Where the Chiron will see 500 examples over the course of its production, the Regera will follow in typical Koenigsegg fashion favoring extremely low batches of cars. Expect a production run under 25 units.
While the Regera will certainly pack a wildly special and well-designed interior, it is hard to top the Bugatti’s opulence. Inside, the Chiron features as much metal, leather, and carbon fiber as a Bentley Mulsanne, with the craftsmanship to match.
So, there you have it. Two very different ways to reach ridiculous speeds. Only one question left to answer: Which one would you make space in your driveway for? Or maybe sell your driveway and your whole house for?