$30 Mil Worth of New Bugattis Battered by Arizona Desert Heat, All Pass With Flying Colors


Extreme heat can break any typical car. It’s a good thing then that the Bugatti Centodieci isn’t just a typical car. It’s more like the automotive equivalent of a science fiction spaceship come to life and given four wheels.

It can’t get hot enough in any Western European country to make the $9 million hypercar sweat, so sending one along with two Chirons to the scalding hot deserts of Arizona would more than make up for the positively mundane weather systems back home.

Temperatures in the deserts of the Southwest US can reach as high as 50°C (122°C). If the Centodieci can keep the occupant cool and air-conditioned under hard acceleration in these conditions, it’d be fair to call the car “well-engineered,” to say the very least.

The nearly $30 million convoy consisting of the Centodieci, the Chiron Pur Sports, and Chiron Super Sports set off from California on an 800 kilometer (500 miles) excursion across the Central Pacific Highway through San Diego before turning east towards Arizona. The trio ascended up winding roads on Mount Lemon just north of Tuscon to test everything from braking to acceleration to driver comfort up the daunting mountain in the sweltering heat.

Even as the blazing sun and asphalt hot enough to cook breakfast on pounded and battered the three multimillion-dollar hypercars, the HVAC never so much as faltered on any of the three cars. Even as it was pushed to almost 200 miles per hour (320 kph) on a closed road course.

“During hot-climate testing, we focus specifically on the chassis, engine, transmission, thermal management, and electrics as well as on the vehicle as a whole,” said Pierre Rommelfanger, Head of Overall Vehicle Development at Bugatti. The team checks interior components and body parts for thermal expansion, look, and feel, leaving no detail unchecked, no matter how small.

The Centodieci is a car most people will never get to see in the flesh. But if you ever get so lucky, you’ll almost assuredly never forget the moment. Unfortunately, there are not many people to stare at it in the Arizona desert.