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How to build a Bugatti Chiron in 20 steps

2y ago

99.8K

- Maybe you’ve seen the Molsheim chateau, but that’s not where the action happens. This cool metal structure adjacent to the chateau is the 1000m2 Atelier, the actual factory where up to 70 Chirons will be built this year
- Shaped like Bugatti’s horseshoe badge, the Atelier was upgraded for Chiron production and makes McLaren’s hyper-clean factory look like a backstreet garage. It’s not just a pretty space either: it’s designed to dissipate any electrostatic charge
- There are no robots or conveyor belts on this production line. Each car moves through 12 stations, worked on by hand, much like in an Formula 1 workshop
- The mighty 8.0 W16 engine isn’t built on site but comes pre-assembled from VW’s Salzgitter plant. Before it arrives in Molsheim it’s already been run on a test bench for eight hours, meaning no boring running in period when the customer gets the keys
- Next, the engine is installed in the rear section of chassis along with the suspension. Together they weigh 628kg, about the same as a Caterham R500 with two men on-board. Hi-tech torque wrench tells the technician when the right torque is reached
- This is where the car is really born. Using a special sliding rig, Bugatti technicians mate the chassis monocoque with the engine and suspension assembly. The two are secured by 14 titanium bolts weighing only 34g each
- The wheels are bolted on and the car moves to the next station where it's filled with oil, brake fluid and coolant - which travels through three different water pumps and along pipes with the same girth and flow rate as a fire hose. Now it’s time to
- Now it’s time to start the engine. Bugatti had to install a new dyno for Chiron production because the old one couldn’t cope with the new car’s 1479bhp (1500PS) and 1180lb ft (1600Nm).
- Each car is fastened to the floor - and not just with a couple of old ratchet straps, but special rods - and covers 60km as the engineer checks the operation of the clutch, transmission, ABS, ESC and air flow meter, including under full acceleration
- It takes three weeks to paint a Chiron because every one of up to eight layers on the body must be painted by hand, and then sanded and polished before the next coat can be applied. Visible layers of carbon fibre get six layers of lacquer
- Before being mated with the rolling chassis, body parts are test fitted to jigs at the new technology centre and examined under lights to check for defects
- It takes three to four days to fit and adjust the panels on each Chiron, Bugatti technicians using a special gauge that measures gaps of different thicknesses
- Body panels fitted, the Chiron takes a shower. Each car is subjected to monsoon conditions for 30 minutes to check for leaks. Only after the leak test is the interior trim fitted
- A two-person team takes three days to finish each interior, which might be fully trimmed in leather, or a combination of leather and carbon. Customers can choose from 31 different leathers, as well as 30 stitching, 18 carpet and 11 seatbelt colours
- It’s almost time for the test drive. But first the car is smothered in plastic to keep the paint pristine. It takes two whole days to apply and remove the film
- The car’s final wheels are swapped for test versions in case the engineer kerbs them at McDonald's on the way back and the tracking is adjusted before the test drive starts
- Each car covers 300km on test – more than some Chirons will do in a year with a customer at the wheel. Those kms include a 155mph trip down a runway at Colmar, at which point the Chiron still has 106mph to go before it hits its limiter…
- Back from test and with the protection removed, the car moves to the light tunnel where an auditor checks every square inch for defects
- Imagine Bill Ford Jr coming down to kick the tyres on your new Focus before handing you the keys. At Molsheim no Chiron is cleared for delivery without the okay from this man. He’s Christophe Piochon, a Bugatti board member responsible for production
- Finally, after a two-month build process – and around nine months from initial configuration - involving 1800 parts fitted by a 20-strong team, the Chiron is ready to leave Molsheim
- But the Bugatti team is still watching… The Flying Doctors troubleshooters are standing by ready to jet off and fix any breakdown in your £2m hypercar and presumably grovel profusely for your forgiveness

Take a look inside Bugatti’s Molsheim factory as it prepares the first Chirons for delivery

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