If you were to see the Bugatti Chiron parked next to the Tesla Model P100D, you might think these two vehicles have nothing whatsoever in common.
Bugatti’s newest model, the Chiron, named after Monegasque racing driver Louis Chiron, is a carbon fiber and titanium work of art. It produces 1500 horsepower from its 8.0-liter, 16-cylinder engine and four two-stage turbochargers. Top speed is estimated to be 288 mph (463 km/h), although it is electronically limited to merely 261 mph (420 km/h).
Tesla’s Model P100D, sitting next to it, is a subdued—and staid—picture of 21st century forward thinking and advanced programming. More of an electronic device on wheels than any throwback gas-snorting beast. It runs at the behest of the electrons in its two motors rather than the explosive force of combusted gasoline vapor.
No dramatic hood lines. No rear spoiler. It even has four doors and a trunk.
What you might not realize is that these two vehicles are just about the fastest way to get from standing still to 60 miles per hour in a current production vehicle. If you want to go out today and buy a sub-2.5 second 0-60 performer, these are your two options. (Delivery times may vary.)
This linking attribute is, of course, sheer acceleration. Stuck to the back of your seat, can’t move your head, record setting for a production car kind of acceleration. You can take on anybody from the line—unless they have a LaFerrari, in which case it’s a little questionable.
Both vehicles have different modes that enable their highest performance capability. The Tesla requires a bit of touch-screen work to enable Ludicrous mode (with a cheeky accompanying option of bowing out by pushing the “No, I want my Mommy” button).
Ludicrous mode sets up the process of preparing the battery and motors for maximum output. It requires a similar technique to a cheat in a videogame—specifically timed button pushes, as well as brake and accelerator pedal stepping.
Bugatti has four drive modes—accessed with a rotary selector. Standard is for everyday driving, Lift raises the car for more clearance, Autobahn lowers the front end and adjusts the rear spoiler, while Handling Mode increases the car’s performance through the curves. Either of the last two will give you access to Top Speed Mode, which requires an additional key that fits into a slot by the driver’s seat.
This kind of performance requires a few extra steps, rather than simply jamming on the accelerator.
Of course, the Tesla is no supercar. Once it reaches the 60 mph mark, the Bugatti is going to surge—and will continue to rocket ahead. The P100D has an electronically controlled top speed of a mere 155 mph—similar to other luxury vehicles of a similar class.
Interior trimmings of the two are quite different as well. Besides having half as many doors and seats, the interior of the Bugatti is sumptuously luxurious, with carbon fiber and titanium details, as well as sleek round gauges popping out of its center console.
The center console of the Tesla, by contrast, is a 17” touchscreen. The rest of the interior follows along with the theme of computer programmed minimalism. It also offers the now well-known feature of self-driving mode, as long as your firmware is updated, of course.
For the trip around town, perhaps to go shopping with friends—certainly with more than one friend, since the Bugatti is a two-seater—your choice might be the Tesla. It also offers a range of more than 300 miles per charge, which should take care of range anxiety for all but the most far-traveling commuters.
For the driving enthusiast, nothing can compare with the Bugatti. Sheer speed coupled with agile handling, electronic assistance for all situations, gigantic breaks and super-sticky tires deliver the ultimate experience on four wheels.