Bugatti spent the lead-up to the Geneva Motor Show talking about its Type 57 SC Atlantic, a car that's been captivating people for the better part of 80 years. Bugatti is not reviving the Atlantic, but it did lean on that design to create a wild one-off.
Bugatti revealed La Voiture Noire (which literally translates to the black car) on Tuesday, a one-of-one creation that is meant to incorporate the idea of grand touring into a car with immense amounts of power and equal amounts of luxury. It also costs an immense amount of money, with the final price tag from Bugatti coming in at a cool 11 million euros ($12.5 million) -- before tax. That's how you make an appearance at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.
It's not exactly hard to tell who built La Voiture Noire. The car is still quintessentially Bugatti, with a front end that's closer to the aerodynamic Divo than the O.G. Chiron on which it's based. However, the nose eschews the hardcore aero of the Divo in favor of some different vent arrangements, more pronounced front lights and dimples (or something) on the hood. Some folks were expecting some sort of wild Atlantic recreation, but it's clear that Bugatti stayed rooted in modern design for La Voiture Noire.
The dorsal fin, which is a staple of the original Atlantic's design, lives on here. It starts just above the grille and makes its way to the roof through a centrally-located windshield wiper, continuing down the car's long body and terminating just ahead of the Bugatti badge. The rear end marks a serious departure from both the Divo and Chiron, with a single lighting element going from side to side. Everything beneath that light is a continuation of the front end's grille design. There are six tailpipes and, in true 2019 fashion, the Bugatti script out back illuminates.
Even though it has more tailpipes than the regular Chiron, the powertrain appears to be the same. Bugatti says that La Voiture Noire sports an 8.0-liter 16-cylinder engine that's good for a shade under 1,500 horsepower and about 1,180 pound-feet of torque, the same as the Chiron.
The car is already sold and is rumored to be going to Ferdinand Piech, Ferdinand Porsche's grandson and the chairman of VW Group from 1993 to 2002. Bugatti wouldn't say who the lucky person is, naturally, saying only that the person in question is a "Bugatti enthusiast." No duh. Will it carry the same cachet in 80 years' time that the Atlantic does today, though? That's perhaps the most interesting question of all.
Originally published March 5 at 12:10 a.m. PT.
Update, at 2:41 a.m. PT: Corrected the pre-tax price, which fell prey to a rounding error.