Bugatti has started testing the La Voiture Noire, a stunning one-off unveiled at the 2019 edition of the Geneva auto show. The coupe will be street-legal, so it needs to go through the same tests as a regular-production model.
Photos posted on social media show what looks like a La Voiture Noire prototype undergoing a series of evaluations. It’s getting sprayed by thousands of gallons of water to ensure it’s water-tight, and it’s being put through its paces at high speeds on a test track. Bugatti said it has invested over 65,000 engineering hours into the project.
The effort put into fine-tuning the La Voiture Noire shows it’s much more than merely a rebodied Chiron. While the two cars are mechanically related, the La Voiture Noire wears a specific design penned as a tribute to the Type 57 SC Atlantic built between 1936 and 1938, and all of its exterior panels are new. And yet, it needs to meet the same quality standards as a series-produced car, which explains why putting it on the road is easier said than done. That’s also why an anonymous collector paid nearly $19 million including taxes and other fees for the right to own it.
One of the Chiron-sourced bits underneath the body is Bugatti’s mighty, 8.0-liter W16 engine. It relies on four turbos to develop 1,479 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque, and it spins the four wheels via a 7-speed automatic transmission. Performance specifications haven’t been released yet, but there’s no doubt it will be damn quick.
Bugatti began delivering the Divo in 2020. It will send the La Voiture Noire to its enigmatic new home in 2021, and Centodieci deliveries are scheduled to start in 2022. Executives have often stated their intention to jump-start the coachbuilding industry, so we’re hoping the brand releases additional one- and few-off projects in the coming years.