Bugatti introduced the limited-edition Divo at the 2018 edition of the champagne-soaked Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, but bringing it to sunny California was only half the battle. The small French company spent two arduous years fine-tuning the model before it could begin production. The development process is finally done, and Bugatti announced the first examples will soon be delivered to customers around the world.
It's no secret that the Divo (pictured) is based on the Chiron, but there are enough differences between the two models to warrant a two-year development cycle. It's notably 77 pounds lighter, and it generates 198 additional pounds of downforce. It was designed with handling in mind, so it's capable of holding 1.6 g around a corner. The tradeoff is that its top speed checks in at 236 mph, which less than what the Chiron achieves.
Bugatti engineers relied on computer simulations to get a head-start on setting up the chassis; they had access to parameters like the amount of load on each axle before the first prototype turned a wheel under its own power. They then carefully adjusted the suspension and re-tuned the steering to make it sharper. Test mules covered over 3,100 miles on testing grounds, race tracks (including the Nürburgring), and public roads.
From a design standpoint, the Divo borrows styling cues from some of the projects Bugatti previously worked on but canceled. It's not all about style, though; many of the changes are also functional. The redesigned front spoiler adds downforce, the air vents chiseled into the front end increase airflow, and the 72-inch-wide wing helps keep the rear end planted to the ground when going around a bend. Engineers even tweaked the roof panel.
"The Divo is entirely different to drive than the Chiron, even though both are fitted with the powerful W16 engine," Lars Fischer, Bugatti's head of chassis testing and application, said. He added it's faster and more predictable to drive through corners, yet it remains relatively comfortable to drive daily.
Forty examples of the Divo will be assembled by hand at Bugatti headquarters in Molsheim, France. Pricing starts at €5 million, a sum that represents $5.4 million. Enthusiasts who want to add one to their collection will need to shop used, because every example was spoken for before the model was unveiled to the public.
"Every Divo customer owns a Chiron, knows what the brand stands for and is a true Bugatti enthusiast. Our customers instantly understood the sporty approach of the Divo and supported our project," company CEO Stephan Winkelmann said. He spearheaded Bugatti's recent coachbuilding projects, like the Divo and the Centodieci. Having the trust and support of a loyal customer base can't be underestimated. Not every carmaker can successfully convince its fans to spend a seven-digit sum on a car they haven't seen — let alone driven — yet.
Looking ahead, the one-off La Voiture Noire will head to its new home in 2021, and production of the Centodieci will begin in 2022. Chiron production continues, Bugatti unveiled a sharper variant named Pur Sport in 2020, and Winkelmann has recently hinted there's space in the range for a second model positioned below it. Autoblog learned from a Bugatti representative that the long-rumored car will not be an SUV, however.