At this year's Geneva Motor Show, Bugatti unveiled what it says is the most powerful, fastest, most luxurious and most exclusive production super sports car in the world: the Bugatti Chiron (pronounced Shee-ron). Bugatti says it will produce no more than 500 units, with each priced at €2.4m (£1.9m, $2.6m). More than 150 orders have already been placed and deliveries will begin in October; one customer is understood to have ordered six, each requiring a €200,000 deposit.
The successor to the 1,000B-bhp, 245mph, Bugatti Veyron, the Bugatti Chiron puts out 1,500 horsepower and has a top speed which is limited by default to 236mph; to reach the higher speed of 261mph (420km/h) a special "Speed Key" must be inserted. The Chiron can hit 100km/h (62mph) in "less than" 2.5 seconds and can accelerate to 200km/h in less than 6.5 seconds and to 300km/h in under 13.6 seconds. The Chiron has five drive modes: Lift, Auto, Autobahn, Handling and Top Speed; the first four are activated via a dial on the steering wheel, while the last is activated via the "Speed Key".
The car's analogue speedometer goes all the way around to 500km/h. Bugatti says it opted for an analogue dial rather than a digital display so that passers-by can see the numbers go all the way to 500, and not just a blank computer panel when the car is switched off.
The Chiron is built on a fully carbon-fibre unibody, unlike the Veyron whose rear section was steel. According to Bugatti: "If all the fibres used in the monocoque were laid out end to end, they would stretch nine times the distance between the earth and the moon."
Another mind-boggling fact: The two main catalytic converters are about six times as large as the unit fitted to a medium-sized car; the active surface of all six catalytic converters used for exhaust gas treatment corresponds to the area of more than 30 football pitches.
The car was named after Louis Chiron, a legendary racing driver who won virtually all the major grands prix for the brand in the 1920s and 1930s. His name is more closely connected with the history of Bugatti than any other racing driver. The brief for the Chiron can be summarised in one sentence: "Make the best even better," said Wolfgang Dürheimer, president of Bugatti Automobiles.
Bugatti says each Chiron is one of a kind – as individual as its owner. Achim Anscheidt, director of design at Bugatti, said: "It is important for a Bugatti to have a certain stylistic longevity so that it is still perceived as precious in 10 or even 50 years."
The 2016 Geneva Motor Show opens to the public on Thursday 3 March, and it runs until 13 March. IBTimes UK is in Geneva, so keep your eyes peeled for much more coverage from the show, including more on the Bugatti Chiron, over the coming days.