Back in 2019 Bugatti unveiled , an incredible -based one-off inspired by the lost Type 57 SC Atlantic. It was said to be the most expensive car ever sold at the time, but the car on display at the Geneva Auto Show wasn't the final car -- it was just a design model with no interior. Now, two years later, the production La Voiture Noire is complete and ready for delivery, and it's glorious.
Crucially, the car's dramatic proportions have remained intact, and they might have even improved. As it's based on the Chiron, La Voiture Noire has its quad-turbo 8.0-liter W16 engine mounted behind the seats, but it has an elongated hood that gives the car the proportions of a front-engine, rear-drive GT. The production car retains the prototype's peaked windshield, though the A-pillars aren't as flush because the car shares its glass and pillars with the Chiron. Sadly, this also means it loses the prototype's central windshield wiper.
Some of the details are slightly different, mostly due to production feasibility. The fuel-filler cap on the prototype was on the rear haunches, but in the production model it's located ahead of the scoops aft of the side windows, the same location as the Chiron. The angled front fender vent has been moved onto the door itself instead of the door seam forming the edge of the vent, and there's a new vertical vent right behind the front wheel arches. But impressively, pretty much all of the car's cutlines have remained the same.
The front end is pretty much identical. The headlights have the same complex LED design, which is made from 25 individually milled pieces on each side, though there's a new sunken lower section housing the main beams. The production model's huge horseshoe grille and giant intakes are present, as is the patterned venting on the hood. All of the grille mesh has been 3D printed, and it looks amazing. Like on the prototype the production model has a large panel covering the engine, which is perforated with the same pattern as the front hood and has an aluminum spine detail, though it gains some additional venting at the roof and the end of the rear deck.
That rear end is dominated by a flowing LED taillight that follows the contour of the open rear end, and the vents and diffusers are identical to the prototype. The production car still has those six huge exhaust tips, a nod to the original Atlantic, but sadly the Bugatti script at the rear doesn't seem to light up. The wheels have the same complex design, but they lose the center-locking mechanism in favor of normal lug nuts, and there's no longer stickers on the tires. There is one more major difference: while the prototype's entire body was finished in exposed black carbon fiber, the production La Voiture Noire is slathered in a deep black paint.
Bugatti didn't release any photos of the interior, but a spokesperson told us that it looks basically the same as the Chiron's -- because of safety regulations, the company isn't able to change much. But there are some special details like a rosewood shifter and drive mode switch and unique turned aluminum trim, and the cabin is trimmed in rich Havana Brown leather.
The development process for La Voiture Noire was no different from a regular Bugatti production model despite the two-year timeframe. The massive changes to the wheelbase, bodywork and cooling system meant the car had to undergo extensive testing in digital simulators, wind tunnels, on test tracks and proving grounds and on real-life roads. Every new component had to be rigorously measured and tested, and the car even needed to meet crash safety regulations.
La Voiture Noire wasn't commissioned by a customer as is typical with coachbuilt cars from brands like Rolls-Royce. Instead, the idea for the car stemmed from Bugatti's designers and executives, and when the idea was presented to a long-time customer and fan of the company, he immediately accepted the offer to buy the car. (The owner also ordered a Divo in a matching spec.) While La Voiture Noire was originally said to cost $12.5 million, Bugatti says the final sale price was $13.4 million before any taxes.