Motoring / Cars and Bikes

The World’s Most Expensive Car Debuts

Two years after its unveiling, Bugatti’s “La Voiture Noire” is ready for its debut on 31st May.

May 19, 2021 | By Abram Yum
Image Credit: Courtesy of Petrolicious

The French marque made waves two years ago at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show when it unveiled a one-off hypercar built to celebrate its 110th anniversary. It was dubbed, “La Voiture Noire” (The Black Car). The car that was showcased then was of course just a design concept, it wasn’t even a working prototype and Bugatti said then it would require about 18 to 24 more months of development. Since then, little has been heard about this exclusive hypercar, save for a couple of pictures taken in April, supposedly of the La Voiture Noire being taken on a test drive. However, it seems the wait is finally over as Bugatti recently posted a series of pictures on the brand’s Instagram profile which showed the car parked next to iconic French landmarks. Their final post alluded to the hypercar’s official release date on 31st May 2021.

We covered the Bugatti La Voiture Noire in an earlier post so in the interest of time, we’ll briefly cover some of the features which make it such an exceptional automotive. The La Voiture Noire takes inspiration from one of Bugatti’s most historically significant cars, the Type 57SC Atlantic. Specifically, it was inspired by the second Atlantic ever made, chassis number #57453, which belonged to Jean Bugatti, founder Ettore Bugatti’s second son. This specific automotive is where the modern model got its name from.

Two features of the Bugatti La Voiture Noire are immediately reminiscent of the Type 57SC Atlantic. The first is an exposed fin running down the centre of the modern hypercar, starting from the hood and subtly joining the flowing lines of the perforated rear of the car. This elegantly echoes the Type 57SC Atlantic’s legendary dorsal seam. The second feature is the exhaust system which consists of six pipes protruding from the rear of the automotive.

The exposed spine echoes the dorsal seam of the Type 57SC Atlantic
Just like its 1930s predeccesor, the La Voiture Noire has six straight exhaust pipes

While it takes some design cues from the Atlantic, the car actually uses the Chiron as a base and even shares the same engine, an 8.0-litre, 16-cylinder quad-turbo W16 engine which produces 1479 hp of power and a 1180 lb-ft of torque. It will reportedly exceed the base Chiron in terms of speed owing to its lighter weight and superior aerodynamics. With the W16 engine, the La Voiture Noire will go from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 60 mph) in just 2.5 seconds and have a top speed of 420 km/h (261 mph).

To construct the sleek black shell that gives the car its name, Bugatti opted for the use of bespoke carbon fibre. The body consists of a single piece of the futuristic material, which contributes to the La Voiture Noire’s reduced weight while retaining structural strength. Additionally, the design of the wheels have been updated since its first reveal in 2019. According to designer Frank Heyl, the wheels on the final model will be engineered to follow the spokes’ load path and will utilise 3D printing to minimise the material used for further weight reduction.

Bugatti has yet to release any details regarding the car’s interior design, creating an air of mystery around what lies behind the black doors. It is reported that the concept vehicle showcased at Geneva had heavily tinted windows as the design had yet to be finalised with the owner of the vehicle.

As we get closer to the reveal date of the La Voiture Noire, there have been rumours floating around regarding the as yet unnamed owner of this one-off hypercar which cost a hefty US$18.9 million and over 2 years of dedicated, hard work. Many believe the owner to be either soccer star Cristiano Ronald or Ferdinand Piech, the former chairman of VW Group. Whoever owns it, we’re sure that they’re in for a real treat once Bugatti hands over the reins. For now, all the rest of us mortals can do is wait, and set reminders for 31st May, awaiting the launch of the most expensive car ever produced to this day.

Update: Bugatti has revealed the final version of the coachbuilt coupe. Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti, said in a statement, “With the completed La Voiture Noire, we are demonstrating once again that we develop the world’s most sophisticated hyper sports cars.”

While we now have clear idea of the coupe’s exterior, we are still waiting with bated breath for Bugatti to release images of the La Voiture Noire’s interior.

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