Why This End-Of-An-Era Bugatti Could Break Auction Records

The W16 engine was a game changer for Bugatti when it first debuted commercially in the Veyron. From a design standpoint, the engine is a bit of an oddball configuration. For starters, it's huge, clocking in at a full 8-liters, making it only slightly smaller than the monstrous 8.4-liter V10 used in the last generation Vipers. Instead of a more conventional layout of two banks of cylinders, the W16 has four banks of cylinders, making it essentially two V8s stuck together. Lastly, it has four turbochargers that boost the horsepower well into four figures. The W16 (which is being replaced by an as-yet-unrevealed hybrid engine) is what allowed the Veyron, the Chiron, and the subsequent Bolide to break speed records and push Bugatti immediately to the top of any extraordinarily wealthy customer's wishlist. But that era is coming to an end as the last W16-powered Bugatti, the Bugatti Chiron Profilée is heading to auction.

The word "inexpensive" doesn't even belong in the same galaxy as "Bugatti" much less the same thought. Almost three years ago, a 2012 Veyron Super Sport sold for a "bargain" at $1.65 million at R.M. Sotheby's in Paris. Not to be outdone, Chirons hover around the upper end of $3 million. But the one-off Bugatti Chiron Profilée could beat them all.

The last W16 Bugatti

The one and only 2022 Bugatti Chiron Profilée is heading to R.M. Sotheby's auction in Paris on February 1st. It has an auction estimate of between $4.55 million and $6 million, making it one of the most expensive modern Bugattis ever sold at auction. A 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports sold for $12.68 million in 2020, according to Bugatti themselves. Much like the Chiron Profilée, the Type 59 is a work of automotive art. But a car from the 1930s will have a hard time reaching the Chiron Profilée's top speed of 236 miles per hour. Nor can it accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a scant 2.3 seconds.

Newer EVs like the Lucid Air Sapphire may beat the Chiron Profilée when it comes to acceleration. But the Bugatti trounces it and any other EV at sheer top-end speed. That's Bugatti's whole modus operandi. And unlike the Lucid or a Tesla, there's only one Chiron Profilée, making it more exclusive by an order of magnitude.