Bugatti's new Divo supercar costs nearly twice as much as the French company's current model, the Chiron, but it can't go quite as fast.
"Not quite as fast," in this case, means a top speed of 236 miles an hour instead of 261. It's still doubtful that most owners of either car -- the $3 million Chiron or the $6 million Divo -- will even approach those numbers. In any case, the point of the new Divo isn't ultimate speed, it's crisp handling and excitement, according to Bugatti.
"The Bugatti Chiron is a car that is known for outstanding straight line performance with luxury and comfort," Bugatti CEO Stephan Winkelmann said at the car's unveiling at The Quail classic car show in Carmel, Califonia. "We wanted to do something very different."
The Divo is 77 pounds lighter than the 4,400-pound Chiron. That still doesn't make it an especially light car, but its engine still produces the same 1,500 horsepower that it does in the Chiron. The suspension and aerodynamic design, however, are different, producing a more nimble car better suited for tracks and twisting roads.
Clearly, the designers wanted the Divo to stand apart from the Chiron, but to still be immediately recognizable as a Bugatti.
"For us designers, this meant that the three key style elements of Bugatti had to remain in place: the horseshoe-shaped front grille, the typical Bugatti signature line along the sides of the vehicle and the characteristic fin that defines the longitudinal axis of the car when viewed from above, which was derived from the Type 57 Atlantic," said Achim Anscheidt, Bugatti's chief designer.
The Type 57 Atlantic, essentially a 1930s supercar, had a curved roof and a central ridge that ran almost the length of the body. Type 57 Atlantics can be worth tens of millions of dollars today.
Only 40 of the new Divos will be made. As is usually the case with this sort of extremely limited edition supercar, all of them were already sold before the first car was revealed to the public. Bugatti will continue producing the Chiron, making this the first time in Bugatti's modern history that it will offer two different models at once.
Like Bugatti's other recent cars, the Veyron and the Chiron, the Divo is named for a former Bugatti racing driver. Albert Divo won the Targa Florio race in the mountains of Sicily twice in the 1920s. He drove a Bugatti Type 35.
Bugatti cars are not built on a production line, as most cars are. Instead, they are assembled a few at a time in very small manufacturing center. As it leaves the production facility, each car is test driven on the roads around Molsheim and at an airfield in nearby Colmar.
The company was originally founded by Ettore Bugatti in 1909 and had many years of racing success primarily in the 1920s and '30s. It also built extremely expensive road-going cars for wealthy clients, much as it does today.