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Bidding Adieu to Bugatti’s W16 Engine


The 2022 Bugatti Chiron Profilée, one of one built, is the final W16-powered Bugatti. Photo Credit: RM Sothebys.

An era is ending for Bugatti, as the last available model powered by the brand’s mighty W16 engine will be auctioned Wednesday at RM Sotheby’s Paris sale. The sale is being held at the Salles du Carrousel in the Louvre Palace. The sale preview takes place tomorrow, if you happen to be in the City of Light. 

While the company had all intentions of introducing the model, the Chiron sold out during the model’s development, making this the only one the company will build. The move is no surprise given that Croatian EV producer Rimac is now in control of French supercar manufacturer.

“Unprecedented demand for the Chiron models meant that, despite all the developments and tests we had already done, we could not bring the Profilée to production,” said Christophe Piochon, president of Bugatti Automobiles.

“But how could we not finish such a beautifully designed and engineered car? Offering it for sale at auction through RM Sotheby’s will give our customers, but also Bugatti devotees around the world, a fair chance of acquiring and enjoying this truly historic car.”

So, what is it exactly?

An integrated spoiler tames this Chiron’s appearance, but not its performance. Photo Credit: RM Sothebys.

The vehicle being offered for sale, the 2022 Bugatti Chiron Profilée, is a one-of-a-kind built on the Chiron Pur Sport, the Chiron variant most geared toward racing. It was developed to offer the athleticism of the Pur Sport but without the loud visual vocabulary.

So, the Chiron Profilée wears an integrated spoiler rather than the full-width one worn by the Chiron Profilée, surrendering 20% of the Pur Sport’s downforce. Up front, the air intakes are larger, and the front splitter has been revised and the chassis sees a number of revisions, including an all-new steering and suspension settings for more responsive handling.

It all translates into some eye-popping performance numbers. The Chiron Profilée has a 236-mph top speed, as opposed to the Pur Sport’s 218 mph top speed from its 8.0-liter W16 engine and 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Achieving 62 mph (100 kph) takes but 2.3 seconds, identical to that of the Pur Sport, while reaching 124 mpg (200 kph) takes 5.5 seconds. 

And the Chiron Profilée’s odometer reads a mere 246 miles due to test mileage.

The car is finished in a special color dubbed Argent Atlantique alongside the lower body’s Bleu Royal Carbon finish. Inside, you’ll find exquisite woven leather on the center console, dashboard, door panels and rear wall. As you might expect, the blue leather seats are quilted, and the steering wheel is wrapped in blue leather to match. The instrument cluster is housed in a black anodized aluminum housing. 

The 2022 Bugatti Chiron Profilée’s cabin features woven leather trim detailing. Photo Credit: RM Sothebys.

This hypercar’s history

Debuting in March 2016 as a replacement for the Veyron, both were powered by an 8.0-liter W16 powerplant, although the Chiron’s engine was extensively updated with four larger turbochargers. But even that was not enough for the madmen at Molsheim, which led to the creation of the Chiron Pur Sport, notable for its outrageous 74.8-inch-wide rear wing. This along with other improvements allowed Bugatti driver Andy Wallace to reach a record-breaking speed of 304.773 mph in 2019.

But it was too much for some buyers, and work began on the Chiron Profilée, splitting the difference between the Sport and Pur Sport. But the Chiron’s production was limited to 500 units, which sold out during the Chiron Profilée’s development.

But there are alternatives

If you’d love a hypercar consolation prize, RM Sothebys is also auctioning a 2009 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport at the same sale. One of 58 built, it reaches 62 mph (100 kph) in 2.46 seconds with a top speed of 254 mph (408.47 kph) thanks to its W16 engine. The vehicle is expected to bring between €1.3 million ($1.4 million) and €1.5 million ($1.65 million). 

But you can buy a true Bugatti for less at the same sale, like this 1928 Type 43. Photo Credit: RM Sothebys.

But maybe you want a true Bugatti, one created by Ettore Bugatti, rather than a pricey hypercar branding exercise by Volkswagen. Then you’d want the 1928 Bugatti Type 43 Roadster by Lavocat et Marsaud being offered at the same sale. One of about 160 Type 43s produced, and wearing a Grand Sport body,the Type 43 won the 1932 Paris-Nice rally. This particular sample was initially owned by Delage factory race car driver Robert Senechal.

However, it’s not fitted with its original engine, which comes from another Type 43, a change made between 1945 and 1955. Nevertheless, this real Bugatti will cost you less than the later-day faux Bugattis, with auction estimates of €1.0 million ($1.1 million) to €1.3 million ($1.4 million).

As for the 2022 Bugatti Chiron Profilée, RM Sothebys expects the vehicle to bring a hammer price of anywhere from €4.2 million ($4.55 million) to  €5.5 million ($6 million).

Bidding begins Wednesday at 10 a.m., Eastern Standard Time. Mark your calendars — and talk to your banker.


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