Modified Chiron hits 490.3 kmh (304.7mph) – but it’s not an official record-holder yet

The Chiron has always been a ‘big numbers’ car: 1102kW, 8 litres, 16 cylinders, $4.5million… we could go on. But unlike its Veyron predecessor, the Chiron has always been missing one key figure, indeed the figure that went on to define said earlier car and was its underlying reason for being: an all-out top speed. Now, though, Bugatti has removed the 420kmh limiter on a near-production version of the Chiron, enabling it to smash through the 489kmh barrier at the VW Group’s Ehra-Lessien test facility in Germany.

There’s been a good reason for Bugatti’s hesitation to let the Chiron run unrestricted, namely the lack of a production tyre able to carry those speeds. It looks like the company’s patience has paid off, though, as the Chiron has not only beaten the Veyron Super Sport’s 429kmh, but put an enormous gap between it and the current car by reaching 490.3kmh. It also trounces the 445kmh set by the current holder of the fastest production car record, the Koenigsegg Agera RS.

Specifics of the Chiron that hit that figure remain vague at the moment. Bugatti will confirm more at a later date, but we do have images of the car that broke the record and it does feature quite a wide range of modifications compared to the standard Chiron, all in the name of helping it achieve that record-breaking speed.

The all-carbonfibre bodywork, for instance, looks longer than the standard Chiron’s, with an extended rear overhang and tail in a similar vein to that seen on the McLaren Speedtail. The hydraulically actuated rear wing maintains its position relevant to the rear axle, though, meaning the trailing edge of the bodywork is fixed, with a redesigned lower diffuser and vertically stacked exhaust outlets helping clean the airflow.

The nose is also new, and features a deeper splitter, a wider grille and more heavily raked headlight openings. There are also nine small portholes drilled into each of the front wings, likely reducing air pressure in the wheelarches to keep the front axle on the ground.

This specific Chiron also features a variation on the Veyron Super Sport’s carbonfibre and orange livery, alluding to the fact that this car is a record-breaker. Bugatti says this is a near-production prototype, but hasn’t confirmed whether this ‘longtail’ variant will be a production model, which would be necessary for it to officially take that title of the ‘world’s fastest production car’. But whatever the specifics, the Chiron looks to have finally made full use of its quite spectacular capability.