Bugatti took everyone by surprise when it introduced a one-of-a-kind, $18 million supercar named La Voiture Noire during the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. We didn’t know it then but the company was already busily working on its next masterpiece, and here it is. It’s a limited-edition, Chiron-based model called Centodieci that celebrates the firm’s 110th birthday by paying tribute to the EB110 that lined every kid’s bedroom wall during the 1990s. Digital Trends got an exclusive look at it before its unveiling to bring you these pictures.
Fittingly, Centodieci translates to one hundred and ten in Italian. Bugatti wanted to honor the Italian-built EB110, one of its more obscure models, without copying it. The idea wasn’t to make a retro-styled replica of the original, Mini Hardtop-style. Achim Anscheidt, the company’s lead designer, told Digital Trends he wanted to create a tribute that’s authentic, and that has a personality of its own. The technology that seeped into Bugatti’s design studio in recent years helped him and his team take the Centodieci from a sketch on a piece of paper to a car in record time. The same process would have taken much longer, and cost much more, during the 1990s because it would have required several hundred pounds of clay.
“We’re reaching a level of virtual development that’s at least on par with the tools we used before. This is the biggest progress in car design.”
“We’re reaching a level of virtual development that’s at least on par with the tools we used before. The engineering underneath is already done, so we can use virtual data to immediately see how things are moving, or where the limit is between feasibility and design development. This is the biggest progress in car design,” Anscheidt told Digital Trends.
The end result is striking. The Centodieci wears a more angular design than other members of the Bugatti family, like the Chiron and the Veyron. Thin LEDs give it a digital stare, and the Bugatti emblem is positioned above the grille instead of in it, like it was on the EB110. Five round slots behind each side window create an additional visual link between the two cars. Out back, designers used three-dimensional lighting elements to replicate the EB110’s rear end design.
The Centodieci’s interior isn’t done yet. Digital Trends learned it will adopt the same layout as the Chiron, but it will feature model-specific trim pieces and accents. Here again, digital tools are helping Bugatti’s styling team speed up the design process. It’s easier to create an interior than an exterior, because the passengers will always sit in the same spot. The car will be viewed from many different angles, from up close, and from far away, and it always needs to look good.
The EB110 and the Centodieci are both mid-engined, and they’re both equipped with four turbochargers, a unique configuration even in the hypercar segment. But while the original came with a 3.5-liter V12, the tribute car is powered by an evolution of the Chiron‘s 8.0-liter W16 engine tuned to deliver 1,600 horsepower at 7,000 rpm. The 100-horse increase lets the Centodieci reach 62 mph from a stop in a screaming 2.4 seconds. Keep the accelerator planted to the floor, and the speedometer will display 186 mph in 13.1 seconds. Its top speed is electronically limited to 236 mph. It’s not just about straight-line speed, though. Bugatti promises the Centodieci is just as happy to carve corners.
Only 10 examples of the Centodieci will be hand-built in Molsheim, France, where the company is based. Each one is priced at 8 million euros (nearly $9 million) before options enter the equation — and you can safely bet they will. Buyers will be able to work directly with Bugatti to customize their car. Deliveries will start in late 2021, but it’s too late to buy one if you haven’t already. Collectors claimed the entire production before the Centodieci made its public debut in Pebble Beach. C’est la vie.