Next year marks the 110th anniversary of Bugatti, which is quite a milestone for a carmaker that doesn’t build mass production sedans or pickup trucks. Bugatti is a French automaker founded by Italian-born Ettore Bugatti – at the turn of the last century – to build race cars and, later, luxury Grand Tourers. In this century Bugatti is still going strong – albeit as a subsidiary of Volkswagen – and building some of the most fantasy-inducing hypercars on the market. How does one celebrate this milestone? Well, if your budget is supported by one of the largest auto manufacturers on the planet, your engineering team has a blank check to construct something that sums up the technology of the era. And that ‘something’ is – for 2019 – the Bugatti Divo.
Bugatti debuted the Divo over the weekend. A limited edition, the Divo celebrates 110 years of speed and coachbuilding on a limited production run of just forty. The Divo is a leaner, meaner, corner-carving variant of the Bugatti Chiron.
The Divo pays tribute to the history of the Bugatti’s coachbuilding by being a rolling chassis with attached body. The design of the Divo is one of purpose, with each line meant to manipulate the air around it for maximum performance. Yet, it keeps true to its roots with design cues taken from the Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic, which can be seen in the C-shape line and central fin. The whole design manages to create nearly 200 pounds of downforce more than the Chiron, and laps eight seconds faster around the Nardo handling circuit, while weighing 35kg less.
Powering the forty Divos will be Bugatti’s signature 8-liter W16 producing 1,500 horsepower, helped by four turbos using two-stage turbocharging and intercooling system. Matched with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, the Divo will crack 0-60 in 2.4 seconds and rush onward to a limited top speed of 236 mph! Bugatti built the Divo to take corners and not – notably – to break straight line speed records.
I’ve made my peace with this reality: I will have more luck buying Lotto tickets than I have of getting a chance to drive a Divo around a city block. I love the blue wall design on the Divo’s Michelin tires, and wouldn’t be surprised if it caught on as a trend for other super and/or hypercars. (Maybe I can buy a tire.)
Let’s see, what am I forgetting to mention about this amazing piece of automotive engineering? Oh yes, the price – 5.8 million dollars. Safe to say, most of these cars will never see speeds above 150.
As Hunter S. Thompson wrote, “Too weird to live, too rare to die.” Which I feel sums up most of Bugatti’s cars. They are amazing machines that often don’t get the workout they were designed for. Not enough experienced drivers with that kind of cash. Not enough places on earth to fully stretch their wheels. But we love to daydream about what it would be like behind the wheel, and that keeps them – and us – alive.