They say you never forget your first. In this case, my first is a hypercar and it’s a doozy. It boasts an 8.0-liter engine with 16 cylinders and four turbochargers, a price tag of more than four million dollars, and a top speed of 273 mph. Yep, my first hypercar drive is in the 2022 Bugatti Chiron Super Sport.
The Super Sport fits in the middle of the Chiron range, though there is nothing middle-of-the-road about it. With more power than the base Chiron, it’s faster, but it doesn’t have the bonkers top speed of the Super Sport 300+, which reached 304.773 mph. The Pur Sport is the Bugatti for dynamic handling, and this Super Sport functions more as a grand touring car. You know, a 1,578-hp GT. Sounds perfect for a relaxing drive up the coast.
Approaching the car I’m pretty anxious. I don’t have the kind of insurance that will cover me if I $#%* up this beautiful car. The long tail means it will take up 10 more inches of linear space in collectors’ palatial garages than the standard Chiron, but it maintains the same width, height, and wheelbase. There is plenty of carbon fiber here, and I cannot get over the rear end. I love the split rear window, sleek wing, and stacked quad tailpipes. It’s a butt I want to get friendly with.
The familiar horse collar Bugatti grille up front is flanked by jeweled LED headlights with large intakes below. Above the front fenders sit attractive air vents that consist of nine holes on each side in sets of three. They harken back to the EB110 Super Sport, but also provide high-speed stability as the car approaches 250 mph.
I’m surprised the Super Sport doesn’t have millionaire doors—you know, the kind that open upward. It’s easy to get in to, no climbing over a wide door sill is necessary, and once in my rear fits snuggly into a well-bolstered, if lightly cushioned, seat.
The cabin is pretty sparse, especially considering the price. It lacks high-tech screens and gee-gaw features. Instead, four configurable digital dials stacked vertically on the dash display either HVAC controls or driving data like max power used, g-forces, and the like. A small shifter sits below. The flat-bottom steering wheel has audio controls and a few buttons to access information in the gauge cluster. More importantly, this is where the drive modes are located, as well as the start button.
I take a deep breath and push that button. Immediately, a rumble fills the cabin like nothing I’ve ever heard, and heads turn to see what is making that glorious noise. It is I, queen of everything, about to embark on the luckiest two hours of my life.
Any delusions of wringing this thing out are put to rest as soon as I pull out into traffic. It’s 3:00 pm in Los Angeles and I’m in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Pacific Coast Highway. Remarkably, this hypercar isn’t begging me to go, well, hyperspeed. It’s perfectly happy toddling along with the flow of traffic, be it 20 mph or 55 mph. I feel an occasionally thunk as the 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox shifts into first gear when rolling to a stop, but I never feel like the car is begging me to rip around a Toyota Corolla, middle finger extended yelling, “I’m in a Bugatti, suckaaaaaas!”
Not that I would ever perform any overly aggressive moves with all these cars around. Driving a Bugatti in traffic means keeping your senses on high alert. I leave a good six feet in front of me at stop lights and I’m constantly looking at other drivers, admonishing them to stay in their lanes. At one point a motorcycle rips by me on the shoulder, cell phone out and livestreaming to the Tok Tiks or whatever the kids are using today. I hope it was worth it buddy because you gave me a bit of a code brown.
The Chiron Super Sport has three drive modes. I stick with EB, the Bugatti equivalent of Normal mode, but there is also an Autobahn mode that lowers the front end and sharpens everything for high-speed cruising, plus a Handling mode that is best left to folks driving on a track with lots of insurance.
Even in EB mode, the suspension feels impressively stiff, enough that I wonder how bone-shattering a Pur Sport would be. In the Super Sport I can feel every pebble and find myself avoiding even the smallest imperfection on the road.
The Super Sport doesn’t have any advanced driver aids like adaptive cruise control or active lane control and, frankly, I’m fine with that. I want to drive this car, not be subject to the whims of some computer. However, I do wish for blind-spot monitors as the visibility is limited.
After 45 minutes or so of cruising in traffic, my babysitter, er, Bugatti representative tells me to turn off PCH and onto a curvy road. There is still a lot of rush hour traffic, but it gives me the chance to put the hammer down a few times and experience all 1,180 lb-ft of torque.
Holy shit is all I have to say. I’ve been in plenty of high-torque electric vehicles and this is a completely different experience. It takes a hot second for the turbos to spool up, but then the Chiron Super Sport roars to life, leaving behind it’s pussycat GT demeanor and transforming into a mean feral tomcat that’s just escaped the death needle at the pound. Seemingly endless amounts of power rushes to the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, 355/25ZR21 in the rear, 285/30ZR20 in front. I immediately start to scream/laugh as my tummy does flip flops and my mind tells me what an idiot I am. I am pinned in a Bugatti, and I am ruler of it all!
The Chiron Super Sport weighs in at a heavy 4,400 lb or so, but with the mighty W-16 rearward of the cabin putting all that power down to all four wheels, it hardly matters. Bugatti says the Super Sport can rocket from 0 to 62 mph in 2.4 seconds, hit 124 mph in 5.8 seconds, go to 186 mph in 12.1 seconds, and reach all the way up to 249 mph in 28.6 seconds. It tops out at 273 mph.
I’m quickly approaching a BMW X5, so I hit the pedal to engage the large carbon-ceramic brakes and the car slows confidently. I’m not sure of my top speed, but I can tell you that when I hit the brakes and look down the speedometer says 85 mph and I’m in second gear. Close to the limit of the car? Uh, no, but three or four seconds of thrills are better than no thrills at all.
I get to maintain a bit of speed around some sweepers and find the steering to be nicely weighted and accurate. I don’t expect to make any mid-corner corrections and I’m right. That might change when on a track, but, alas, that is not for me to find out. It’s time to head back down PCH and give the Bugatti back.
Round-trip my drive is about 50 miles and I am so giddy I forget to check my fuel economy. However, the EPA gives the Bugatti an efficiency rating of 8 mpg city, 11 highway, 9 combined. My quick little adventure likely burned six or seven gallons of fuel. Further, the Chiron Super Sport runs on 93 octane, which isn’t available in California or many parts of the country. The Bugatti team had to use specially purchased 101 octane for my joyride. Of course, when you’re buying a car that starts at $3.825 million, you’re likely not worried about gas prices, amirite?
My tester’s options cost twice as much as my house and include a $222,500 paint job, a $62,000 glass roof, $12,500 for the comfort seats—they don’t have much padding but are surprisingly comfy—and $2,500 for something called Hidden Delights. I don’t know what they are. They were, apparently, very well hidden.
All told you’re looking at $4,301,450 for the 2022 Bugatti Chiron Super Sport. While I certainly didn’t get to experience the car’s peak performance, I feel lucky that my first hypercar experience delivered a little bit of mayhem at the behest of my right foot. Very lucky indeed.