Bugatti 18/3 Chiron

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Bugatti 18/3 Chiron
Bugatti Chiron (8162).jpg
Manufacturer Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S.
Assembly ItalDesignMoncalieri, Italy
Designer Fabrizio Giugiaro (ItalDesign)
Body and chassis
Class Concept car
Body style 2-door coupé
Layout Mid-engine, four-wheel drive layout
Engine 6.3L W-18
Successor Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4

The Bugatti 18/3 Chiron was a 1999 concept sports car designed by Fabrizio Giugiaro of ItalDesign. It is a mid-engine design with the same W18 engine found in the EB 118 and EB 218 concept cars. Bugatti named the Chiron in honor of Bugatti racing driver Louis Chiron.

Name origin[edit]

The Chiron 18/3 is named after Bugatti race driver Louis Chiron. The "18/3" represents the engine's 18 cylinders distributed into three banks of six cylinders each.


Fabrizio Giugiaro of ItalDesign was responsible for the design with input from Hartmut Warkuss from the VW design center in Wolfsburg. In creating a logical successor to the EB110, they had the unique opportunity to style Bugatti's flagship model. Important design elements include the return of the classic horse shoe grille, inset front lights, converging front hood and an exposed intake plenum. All of these elements would eventually be integrated into the final production model.

Subtle details of the Chiron included eight spoke wheels wrapped in 20 inch tires that were similar to the cast aluminium wheels first found on Louis Chiron's Type 35B. Lighting on both ends of the car was cutting edge, with triple Xenon headlights and stretched turn signals.

Airflow management was a large consideration in the concept design. The small shoehorn radiator couldn't provide enough air for the massive 6-liter engine so a large aperture was needed below it. Much of this air was extracted though vents located forward of the front wheels. A smaller system was used on the side of the car for the rear brakes. Eventually it was these cooling systems that delayed production of the final version.

Aerodynamics were another key consideration in the design. Like the Diablo, the Chiron had a rear bumper with integrated diffuser. At high speeds a retractable rear wing was deployed much like the EB110 supercar.

Inside the car was stripped out, but covered in Blu Pacifico and Sabbia leather. Aluminium accents were used as well as a removable watch on the passenger side.

Since all Italdesign cars were built as fully working models, it should be no surprise that they utilized Lamborghini running gear. Specifically they sourced the viscous traction 4WD chassis from the Diablo VT. In 2000 VW completely revamped the body and chassis of the car with the Bugatti 18/4 Veyron prototype.


The 18/3 Chiron uses the same W18 engine, permanent four wheel drive powertrain that first appeared in the 1998 EB118 and the 1999 EB218 concept cars.

Power comes from a Volkswagen-designed, 555 hp (408 kW) and 479 lb·ft (650 Nm), W18 engine. The 18/3 Chiron's W18 engine is composed of three banks of six cylinders with a sixty degree offset between each cylinder bank. In contrast, the W16 engine in Bugatti's first production car, the 2005 Veyron EB 16.4 features two banks of eight cylinders in VR configuration.