Stephan Winkelmann, CEO of Bugatti, has a hit on his hands with the Bugatti Chiron supercar, launched in 2016. But one supercar rite of passage has gone so far unfulfilled, as noted in a recent CNBC report: The top speed test. When Winkelmann was asked whether any of his clients cared about the official top speed of the Bugatti Chiron, this was his answer:
"I know this for sure. I don't even know how fast our car can go."
The $3 million Chiron came on the scene as the latest in a prestigious dynasty of top-speed supercars, after the Bugatti Veyron set a top speed record of 267.8 miles per hour. So it was assumed that the Chiron would inherit the mantle, since it comes equipped with an even greater amount of horsepower. But the speed test, which was supposed to happen sometime this year, still hasn't, and sales of the Chiron don't seem to have suffered for its absence. Winkelmann says he's already sold more than 320 out of the car's first production run of 500, and there's a production backlog stacked up for the next three years. And those cars are being sold with limiters that cap the car's top speed at a still-explosive 261 miles per hour.
Speculation on why the company hasn't subjected the Chiron to an official top-speed test comes down to multiple factors. There's the aforementioned idea that it simply doesn't matter to customers, who according to Manhattan Motorcars president Brian Miller, "are buying a work of art, the official top speed is less important." There's also the fact that the car's top speed could be purely theoretical due to the physical limits of its wheels and tires ("Michelin is reportedly working on it," says CNBC). But there's a more sinister possible reason, at least from Bugatti's point of view.
That would be the Koenigsegg Agera RS, a supercar made by Bugatti's competitor, which claimed its own top speed record of 277.9 miles per hour after a speed test in November. That test remains unofficial since Guinness World Records was not present to verify it, but it's possible that it scared off Bugatti from doing a speed test for the Chiron until they're absolutely certain they can beat that figure. As for Winkelmann, his rationale for why it hasn't been done is much simpler:
"I have a lot on my plate. The speed test is not my priority. I think we have a lot of things to do."
That will have to do for now, since the company hasn't revealed any other reason for the lack of a Chiron speed test.