I Test Drove a Bugatti, and Now I Want to Drive it Everywhere

It's cool to go to Costco, right?

September 28, 2018

By Jason Tchir / Photo: Jason Tchir

I’ve just signed a waiver saying that I was an “experienced driver of high-powered supercars.”

It isn’t true. I’ve never driven a supercar, let alone a $4-million one.

“So, you don’t know that you’re not,” says race-car driver Butch Leitzinger, who’s about to take me out for an hour in a Bugatti Chiron, one of only 500 that will ever exist.

The Chiron starts at $3,093,000 USD ($4,010,299 CAD). Sitting in the driveway of a West Vancouver mansion, it looks like it should cost even more. Only three will make it to Western Canada.

I tell Leitzinger I’m nervous—and not just because I’ll owe 5,000 euros if I scratch anything.

The car has 1,500 horsepower (that’s 100 times more than my Fiat) and can go from 0-100 km/h in 2.4 seconds.

There are entire YouTube channels dedicated to people crashing supercars. So I’m relieved that Leitzinger is driving first.

“I don’t expect you to really believe me until you get behind the wheel, but it’s an incredibly docile car to drive,” Leitzinger says. “Normally cars like this are pretty angry—they’re like the horse trying to come back to the barn—but with this, it’s like driving around town in a Bentley.”

The interior is a cocoon of aluminum, space-age carbon fibre and orange leather. I can’t stop thinking about is how much everything costs. Even the engine sounds like money.

We switch at the Cypress Mountain lookout. As I pull out onto the road, I’m reminded that I’m in a supercar. It’s not the way it drives. It’s the way everyone else drives when they’re around it.

An SUV slams on its brakes and backs up—on the road—to get our photo. A van in front of us drifts into the opposite lane while the driver gets his shot.

There’s nobody ahead as we take the ramp onto the highway, so Leitzinger tells me to punch it. But I just press on the pedal sheepishly, thinking of 5,000 euros.

As we keep driving—toward Horseshoe Bay and onto the Sea to Sky—I start to relax. The Chiron is an easy, pleasant car to drive. Even accelerating, you can control it with two fingers on the steering wheel.

“Quite often we hear, ‘Where will I drive at 260 miles an hour?’” Leitzinger said. “But that’s not what this car is about.”

If it held anything more than two people and exactly one carry-on-sized bag, I could picture taking it on Saturday runs to Costco (practicality’s likely not an issue for the average Bugatti owner, who has 42 cars at home).

We’re almost back, and I ask if I can try slamming on the pedal again. We get off the highway and then head back on. This time, I don’t hold back.

It’s like launching the Space Shuttle. We instantly hit 100-and-something. I can’t stop grinning.

“It pushes your heart back in your chest, doesn’t it?” Leitzinger says.

 

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