TEST: Bugatti Divo – TopGear – TopGear magazine France

We didn't believe it anymore, but yes. I know, I'm lucky. One scorching Sicilian afternoon, I was given the keys to a five million euro Bugatti Divo, and told to go and ride it on the roads of the Targa Florio. Only constraint, I had to take in the right seat the Bugatti test driver Andy Wallace – the man who recently exceeded 490 km / h in the Chiron Super Sport, and who had already reached 386 km / h at the wheel McLaren F1 – just keep an eye on me. But when your chaperone has a resume like that and he's an incredibly nice guy on top of that, it's not really a constraint anymore.

5 million euros … excluding taxes, or about 6 million euros including tax. You know it ? Too late, the 40 copies are all sold. And that wouldn't have been enough, since you also had to have a Chiron in your garage to claim to be on the list. Or, failing that, add one to the invoice, for a total approaching 9 million. It will be for next time…

In any case, it's a good deal for Bugatti: 40 cars in addition to the 500 Chiron planned, at double the price. Since the presentation of the Divo in 2018, the brand has given the cover with other one-off based on the Chiron, The Black Car (one copy, 11 million HT) and the Centodieci (ten copies, 8 million HT). Not to mention the special versions of the Chiron (Sport, Pur Sport, Super Sport 300+).

Visually, already. Between the gathered optics, the protruding front blade, the bodywork ventilated throughout and the enormous hydraulically controlled rear spoiler 1.83 m wide (23% more than that of the Chiron, since you ask the question), it is clearly a much more aggressive reinterpretation of the same silhouette. Some say it has lost its elegance, but I am not one of them. In a sober livery like the navy blue carbon of this example, it is even a splendid piece of design, with a powerfully intimidating presence but a real delicacy in the treatment of details. Take the taillights, for example: it looks like a contemporary art installation, but they're perfectly functional, and lighter than the Chiron's.

Not really, no. Bugatti makes it clear that the goal is not to cut down on the vibrator. The Divo is more of a dynamically sharpened road car: sharper than a standard Chiron, but not as drastic as a Chiron Pur Sport. Still, it's much more than a pretty carbon fiber body thrown over a Chiron chassis. The springs and shock absorbers have been firmed up, the camber increased, the weight has been reduced by 35 kg (thanks to the new rims, the absence of active aero at the front and the increase in carbon elements), and downforce reaches 436 kg at maximum speed, restrained to 380 km / h (90 kg more than on the Chiron). All of this allows the Divo to gain eight seconds on the 6.2 km Nardò handling circuit compared to the Chiron, which is no small feat.

Affirmative. The price doubles, the power does not move. Normally, we would cry scandal, but when the base is a W16 8.0 l quad-turbo of 1,500 hp, capable of propelling this machine of 2 t in 2.4 s … let's say forgive them. The bridle at 380 km / h instead of the 420 of the Chiron? This is just to prevent the tires from eventually falling apart due to the added downforce and camber. Immediately, we want them much less, necessarily.

It is roughly taken from the Chiron, with a few twists like the asymmetric biton treatment to emphasize the cockpit. We also note the knee pad on the transmission tunnel, embroidered with a Divo logo (in case you forgot which car in your fleet you are driving), slightly more enveloping seats, and fixed door bins rather than retractable. That's all. Here again, we are satisfied with that, the interior of the Chiron already being a marvel of simplicity and quality. We have a soft spot for the small screen on the thumbwheel at the top of the center console, which shows the maximum power you've put out recently. We achieved 1325 hp on a short straight line, which is objectively very honorable given the condition of the roads.

Hmm. The old stands, nothing to say, it was superb. But the roads themselves were very poorly surfaced, narrow, winding, and overrun with rental Fiat Punto speeding either 17 km / h on the correct side or 170 in front. However, it turned out better than I feared. When we look at the numbers, materials, cost and size of the Divo, we expect an insortable diva, with poor visibility, bumps at low speed, inertia in the turns … but no, nothing of all that.

Note that I drove Veyrons a long time ago, but never the Chiron, so the experience was completely new to me. It didn't take long for me to realize the genius of this car: offering capabilities barely imaginable while being almost as easy to drive – cliché alert – as a Golf GTI DSG. On these roads one could not be more inhospitable for a supercar, the Divo was breathtakingly relaxed.

It started from the first few meters. I expected it to feel heavy and bulky and its inertia to kick in, but it's just the other way around. The steering is always light, which does not prevent it from being direct, limpid, and communicating perfectly with the front axle. Touch the accelerator and the response is immediate. There are certainly 16 cylinders to wake up, but it goes smoothly at low speed, before the thrust builds up relentlessly if you don't let go of the accelerator. It's gradual: a first natural, atmospheric jump, then the kick in the buttocks of the first two turbos, comparable to that of a "normal" supercar. Resist the temptation to take it easy and it’s the pinnacle, the W16 unleashed at full blast through hyperspace, as you suddenly wonder if you've grabbed a change of underwear.

The fact that the Divo manages to find traction on this corrugated iron is no less impressive. Every pothole, every root is absorbed, the cushioning is never brittle, and between the bumps, she always finds a way to keep her four treads in contact with the ground, and to exploit as best she can his power. It's obvious that this combination of grip, vigor and control of the body movements will lead to top-notch lap times on the track, but you never feel like you're behind the wheel of this kind of car. Above all, it comes across as the ultimate hyper-GT.

Absolutely unique. A cacophony of intake roars, exhaust rumbles and turbo sighs, making it seem like the Industrial Revolution is unfolding just behind your right shoulder. There are also continual little clicks but don't worry: it's just the sound of smartphones taking pictures of you along your journey. How do you say in Italian, "it's more or less a Chiron, but more aggressive, more agile and twice as expensive", already? I'll have to get this tattooed on my forehead the next time I drive a Divo in Sicily.

And how. The name of this car is a tribute to the French driver Albert Divo, race winner in 1928 and 1929 at the wheel of a Type 35. This is why Bugatti came with his own Type 35, a sumptuous and valiant little car. powered by an 8-cylinder in-line 2-liter engine. I wasn't allowed to drive it – it's not for lack of asking… – but after watching Andy Wallace perform the 92 steps one by one to start it up, I was pretty happy to be in the passenger seat, leaning on the spare wheel, ears saturated with the wind and the roar of the exhaust just below me. The perfect conclusion to an amazing day.

TEST Bugatti Divo TopGear TopGear magazine France - TEST: Bugatti Divo - TopGear - TopGear magazine France

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