Bugatti is creating quite a stir at the 2019 Concours d’Elegance. After the much-anticipated U.S debut of the Bugatti La Voiture Noire at Pebble Beach, along comes the Bugatti Centodieci. In this crazy world of high-stakes number games, nothing comes close to a Bugatti, particularly one which takes inspiration from the iconic EB110.
Let’s start with the biggest potential hit on your wallet: the La Voiture Noire, which essentially means ‘The Black Car.’ Bugatti’s only building one such example, taking an estimated 2.5 years or so to craft it by hand. However, it’s also planning a limited production run of two bespoke models every year for an excruciatingly high price, starting at a heft $18.7 million. Apparently – well, depending on who you ask – it’ll be worth every penny.
The engine is a quad-turbo W16, producing 1,500 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque. With that much power, it’s unsurprising that La Voiture Noire rockets from 0 to 60 mph in a face-reshaping 2.5-seconds, and keeps on surging to a top speed of 261 mph. As I said, nothing makes the eyes water or the lips dry faster than reading the fine print of a Bugatti vehicle.
But the La Voiture Noire isn’t the solo limited-edition Bugatti coming out at the Molsheim factory right now. Echoing the historic EB110 super sports car of the 1990s is the Bugatti Centodieci, making its debut this week.
“With the EB110, Bugatti catapulted itself to the top of the automotive world once again after 1956 with a new model,” said Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti. “With the Centodieci we pay homage to the EB110 super sports car which was built in the 1990s and is very much a part of our tradition-steeped history.” Centodieci is Italian for 110, which also means the car inherited some DNA of the original EB110 sports car.
From a styling perspective, this is quite a challenge. The EB110 has a glorious wedge-shaped design, and Bugatti needed to integrate this philosophy into what is essentially a Chiron. “We faced a number of technical challenges in terms of the development and design of the Centodieci,” Achim Anscheid, Head Designer at Bugatti, explains. “Transporting this classic look into the new millennium without copying it was technically complex.”
“The challenge was not to allow oneself be captivated too much by the design of the historic EB110 – we had to create a new way of combining the complex aerothermal requirements of the underlying Chiron technology with a completely different aesthetic appearance,” Anscheid concludes.
The end result is a sportier, more aggressive, and undoubtedly more extreme version of the Bugatti Chiron and Divo, borrowing a little of the timeless appeal of the La Voiture Noire. Unlike the aforementioned hyper sports cars, though, the Centodieci takes a different route with its grille design. Bucking the trend of oversized radiator grilles, the Centodieci makes do with a smaller and less pronounced horseshoe grille, more reminiscent of the nose of the classic EB110.
The Macaron Bugatti logo is now relocated to the hood, while the deep-seated front spoiler and three-section air intakes are a direct nod to the Centodieci’s 90s inspiration. The front section is dropped close to the ground to give the car a prowling stance, further accentuated by narrow LED headlamps and daytime running lights. “Thanks to the newly developed lighting elements, we were stylistically free in the front and rear sections to pay respectful homage to the EB110 while at the same time transposing this appealing visual reminiscence into modern technology,” says Anscheidt.
The thing that stands out in terms of body design, though, is the missing C-line on the B pillar, which happens to be the most iconic styling element of the Bugatti Veyron, Chiron, Divo, and even the La Voiture Noire. You can think of the Centodieci as the black sheep in the family. The longer you look, though, the easier it is to understand the Centodieci’s design. It’s totally familiar yet entirely different at the same time. It looks serious and quite playful, although it can undoubtedly bite your hand if you’re not careful.
Instead of having a dominant and sweeping C-line in the B pillar, the Centodieci has five round air inserts that are positioned in the form of a diamond. More than just a design flourish, however, those air inserts feed vast amounts of air to the hungry W16 engine underneath.
Yes, the Bugatti Centodieci has an 8.0-liter W16 motor producing 1,600 horsepower at 7,000 rpm, allowing the car to reach 60 mph from a dead stop in 2.4-seconds, 124 mph (200 kph) in 6-seconds, and 186 mph (300 kph) in 13.1-seconds. They’re not just impressive numbers, they’re positively mind-boggling.
Bugatti says the car’s top speed is electronically limited to 236 mph (380 kph), but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Centodieci could go higher given the right weather and track conditions. One thing’s for sure: the Centodieci won’t back down from the La Voiture Noir in the unlikely event both cars find themselves at the dragstrip (or even just at the next set of traffic lights).
Should such a showdown take place, each driver could take comfort in the knowledge that the performance merits of the two cars are almost the same. Still, the Bugatti Centodieci is faster and has 100 more horsepower than the $18.7 million La Voiture Noire, and that’s no easy feat. Compared to the Chiron, the Centodieci is 44 pounds lighter, which Bugatti achieved through extensive weight-saving techniques.
The filigree exterior mirrors and windshield wiper are made of carbon fiber, for example. This helps the Centodieci to have an unbelievable power-to-weight ratio of 1.13 kilograms per horsepower. And, with a sleek body producing over 198 pounds of downforce, it produces the same level of lateral acceleration as the hyper Divo. Credit also goes to the rear diffuser and permanent rear wing, the latter of which is mechanically adjustable to deliver the perfect angle of inclination for each speed.
In short, the Centodieci is a racer fantasy come to life, and it won’t even cost you a billion dollars. To be specific, Bugatti is asking 8 million euro, or around $8.8 million (before tax) for the Centodieci, with only ten examples – all already spoken for – expected to leave the factory. And, while the car you’re seeing here is painted white, potential customers can have their Centodieci painted in the Bugatti color of their choice.
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This is just a quick glimpse of the sensational Bugatti Centodieci, probably the most out-of-this-world extreme-looking Bugatti I’ve laid eyes on. I’m planning on spending some quality time examining the car, as well as speaking with the designers and engineers responsible for the Centodieci at Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach this week, so stay tuned for more details and a video walkthrough.