One of the most special cars that debuted at 2018’s Monterey Car Week was the Bugatti Divo, the latest and most hardcore offering from the French super sports car creator. Using the Chiron’s formidable underpinnings, the Divo has been developed as less of a continent-crossing GT car and more of a winding back road beast.
Unveiled at the Quail, the Divo does not replace the Chiron but rather embraces Bugatti’s history in coachbuilding. Offering new bodywork and several track-inspired modifications, the Divo’s production is limited to just 40 examples and the price tag makes the €2.5-million ($3.8-million Canadian) that Bugatti charges for the Chiron seem quite reasonable.
Named after the Targa Florio-winning French racing driver Albert Divo, this racy new Bugatti retains the Chiron’s monstrous 8-litre W16 (that’s 16 cylinders) with four turbochargers and the same buck wild power output of 1,479 horsepower (more than double that of the Ferrari GTC4Lusso I recently wrote about).
Where the Divo sets itself apart is in its application of both slight weight savings (it is some 77 lbs lighter than a Chiron) and advanced aerodynamics. While the top speed is limited to just 380 km/h (versus the Chiron’s tested limit of 420 km/h), the Divo can lap Volkswagen’s Nardo test track a full eight seconds faster than the Chiron. The savings in weight, combined with 198 lbs of additional downforce at speed, means that the Divo moves more like a racecar than it’s GT-minded sibling.
In explaining the creation of the Divo, Bugatti president Stephan Winkelmann said, “To date, a modern Bugatti has represented a perfect balance between high performance, straight-line dynamics, and luxurious comfort. Within our possibilities, we have shifted the balance in the case of the Divo further towards lateral acceleration, agility, and cornering … the Divo is made for bends.”
Indeed, with a NACA air duct–equipped roof and a new height-adjustable rear spoiler (23 per cent wider than the wing on the Chiron) alongside updated chassis and suspension settings, the Divo wants to carve corners and make the most of a curvy bit of road.
While the Divo is still a heavy car by any modern measure (weighing over 1,900 kg), it should have little trouble shooting from one corner to the next, thanks to enhanced lateral acceleration and improved grip. Furthermore, it’s hard to call the development of the Divo into question when all 40 examples were sold by the time the car was shown to the public at the Quail. That’s right—with a listed price tag of €5,000,000 (roughly $7.6-million Canadian), the entirety of the Divo’s production was sold pre-release.
Taking an established chassis and updating the bodywork for a new design and purpose is a return to Bugatti’s roots and, in a market currently crazy for restomod recreations of vintage cars, it would be undeniably exciting to see coachbuilding find a renaissance in the coming years. Until then, if you’re driving along some excellent backroad and suddenly find your rear-view mirror full of carbon fibre and the hills reverberating the sound of 16 howling cylinders, pull over and let the Divo pass.
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