Bugatti puts RM50 million Centodieci through strenuous hot-weather tests in Arizona
A three-week vacation in America driving Bugattis. Sounds like the dream, huh? And it probably is, though this was no holiday, rather some stern hot-weather testing for a bunch of engineers working on the new Bugatti Centodieci.
Yep, if the Chiron Super Sport is just a little too common for your tastes, the limited-to-ten, £9m (RM51m) Centodieci ought to answer your concerns. Inspired by Bugatti’s Nineties leviathan – the EB110, a quad-turbo nutcase sold before anyone had uttered the word ‘hypercar’ – it ought to be a truly special thing.
We dearly hope its ten owners do more than scurry it away in storage to be brought out for a tootle to the nearest concours event. Not least Bugatti’s given it the full engineering job, including that three-week sojourn to 50-degree Arizonian heat.
In fact, it’s been subjected to even greater scrutiny than the Chiron, of which 500 are being made. “The Centodieci’s newly developed bodywork, airflow changes, and its engine bay cover manufactured from glass mean the temperature behaviour is quite different, especially in such extreme heat conditions,” says André Kullig, the car’s project manager.
The car's fitted with 200 sensors to feed the data back to Bugatti HQ. Not everone on the test team gets to top up their air miles...
“This hot weather endurance test is fundamental for us," Kullig continues, "as it is the only way we can ensure that the Centodieci, like every Bugatti model, offers a flawless, reliable, and safe drive in extreme heat – even though our customers may never subject their cars to such extreme conditions.”
Driven to almost 2,800 metres in altitude, it’s a proper rough ride. “The engineers relentlessly expose the Centodieci to a demanding test programme,” we’re told. “It’s pummeled by rough roads, subjected to low-speed stop-start traffic, left standing in the blazing sun with the air conditioning on full blast and driven at 320km/h (198mph) on a closed road environment.”
And presuming it survives that, and makes it back to Europe? Why, the small matter of a 30,000km test route to complete its development process. Only once it’s reached the end of that will the production line for those ten customer cars burst into life.