French automaker went for the gimmick and missed badly

Bugatti promised to make waves at the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and it certainly lived up to that promise with the debut of the Centodieci hypercar. Limited to just 10 units — “centodieci” is Italian for “one hundred and ten” — the Centodieci is Bugatti’s long-rumored homage to its EB110 supercar, which many consider as the forefather of both the Veyron and Chiron. The intent and motivation behind the Centodieci are admirable, and the car itself comes with the kind of power, performance, and technology you’d expect from Bugatti. It’s also priced like a Bugatti as each of the 10 units will come with a starting price of almost $9 million. But as far as the design and execution of the said design are concerned, Bugatti left a lot to be desired.

Bugatti Centodieci is an EB110-Inspired Hot Mess
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I understand the headlines surrounding the Bugatti Centodieci and, in many ways, I’m as floored with the hypercar like most people.

It’s a fitting tribute piece to the Bugatti EB110, the indirect predecessor of the Veyron and Chiron and supercars.

Even if the EB110 was a different incarnation of Bugatti, it still traces its roots to company founder Ettore Bugatti. Paying tribute to the EB110 is cool, especially these days when the ‘90s supercar has evolved into a unicorn of its own, a must-have addition to the collections of all discerning Bugatti collectors in the world. The Centodieci also comes with power and performance credentials that are expected for a car wearing the Bugatti badge. It’s loaded on technology, too, and after painstaking process, Bugatti even managed to make it 20 pounds lighter than the Chiron. All of these qualities make the Centodieci worthy of its stature.

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But I can’t get past the way it looks. I just can’t. I can’t get past the absurdly small horseshoe acting as the nose of the Centodieci. I understand that it’s a nod to the EB110’s small horseshoe, but there’s a reason why the Veyron and Chiron sported bigger horseshoes: it’s an evolution of a design that doesn’t look as good today as it did more than 20 years ago.

The horizontal aero panels on opposite sides of the horseshoe are nods to the EB110.

I’ve no issue with these panels. They play important roles in drowning out the duck-faced vibe of the tiny horseshoe in the middle. The front lip spoiler is fine, too. It doesn’t scream off the page, but it’s not invisible either. It’s there to serve its purpose. Unfortunately, the Centodieci’s headlights are not invisible, even if you kind of want them to be. They’re ridiculously thin, making it seem like the Centodieci has a perpetually fixed squinting face. The placement of the headlamps is interesting, too. They sit so far up the hood that it looks like they are part of it. You don’t have to look far to know where Bugatti got the inspiration for this design — the EB110! — but the interpretation is polarizing, to say the least

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Other significant design details include the absence of the C-shaped B-pillar that has come to define both the Veyron and Chiron. You can’t find it in the Centodieci because it’s not there. Instead, Bugatti installed five diamond-shaped air inlets that feed air to the hypercar’s 8.0-liter W-16 engine.

You can see the powertrain in all its glory through a patch of visible glass that once again draws inspiration from the EB110.

The Centodieci’s rear section is arguably its best-looking section, but there are also so many things going on in that space. The neatly arranged strip of lights combines to make a provocative looking taillights section. The rear spoiler and the bumper with the mesh grille are both enormous in their own ways. Then there’s the rear diffuser, which is also massive on its own. Everything’s huge in this section of the Centodieci, and, in some ways, that contributes to its pleasing aesthetic.

Bugatti Centodieci is an EB110-Inspired Hot Mess
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Overall, the Centodieci looks like a suit of armor that Bugatti designed and dropped on an existing Chiron. It’s not a fair assessment because the Centodieci is supposed to be its own model, created to pay tribute to the Bugatti EB110 and celebrate Bugatti’s 110th anniversary. On the other hand, the Centodieci is a Chiron, albeit one that’s wrapped up in a different body. Strip all the panels away and you’re essentially left with the underpinnings of a Chiron, including the massive 8.0-liter quad-turbocharged W-16 engine that produces1,600 horsepower.

As a result, the Bugatti Centodieci is capable of sprinting from 0 to 62 mph in just 2.4 seconds, 0 to 124 mph in 6.2 seconds, and 0 to 186-mph in just 13.1 seconds.

Its top speed is limited to 236 mph. This “limited” top speed remains one of the biggest mysteries surrounding the Chiron, and, now, at least, the Centodieci can share in that burden, too.

Bugatti Centodieci is an EB110-Inspired Hot Mess
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Bugatti Chiron Performance Specs
Bugatti Centodieci Bugatti Chiron Bugatti Divo Bugatti La Voiture Noire
Engine 8.0-liter W-16 8.0-liter W-16 8.0-liter W-16 8.0-liter W-16
Horsepower 1,600 @ 7,000 RPM 1,479 Horsepower 1,479 Horsepower 1,479 Horsepower
Torque 1180 lb-ft (est) 1180 lb-ft 1180 lb-ft 1180 lb-ft
Transmission Seven-Speed DCT Seven-Speed DCT Seven-Speed DCT Seven-Speed DCT
0-62 MPH 2.4 Seconds 2.5 Seconds 2.3 Seconds 2.4 Seconds
0-124 MPH 6.1 Seconds 6.4 Seconds 6.5 Seconds 6.4 Seconds
0-186 mph 13.1 Seconds 13.6 Seconds 13.4 Seconds (est) 13.6 Seconds
Top Speed 236 MPH 261 MPH 236 MPH 260 MPH
Weight 4356 pounds 4,400 pounds 4,323 pounds 4,300 pounds

I’m not opposed to anyone who looks at the Bugatti Centodieci and sees a far more aggressive interpretation o the Chiron with touches of the EB110 sprinkled in for good measure.

The Centodieci isn’t an ugly car in the same manner as the Orichi.

I just don’t think that it looks as good as Bugatti wanted it to look. There are some design elements taken from the EB110 that work and there are some that don’t work. I’m on the camp of people who think that Bugatti got a little too cute in designing the Centodieci. At the end of the day, it’s still a Bugatti. No one, not even me, can take that away. It still costs around $9 million, making it one of the most expensive Bugattis ever made.

There are a lot of things about the Bugatti Centodieci that stand out. I just don’t think its design is one of them.

Further Reading

1994 Bugatti EB110 GT High Resolution Exterior
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Read our review of the 1994 Bugatti EB110 GT

1992 Bugatti EB 110 SS
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Read our full review on the 1992 Bugatti EB 110 SS.

2018 Bugatti Chiron High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Bugatti Chiron.

The Buggati Chiron Sport Weighs Less, Gets Carbon Fiber Wipers and a New Exhaust Layout; Costs an Extra $1 Million Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Bugatti Chiron Sport.

2019 Bugatti Divo Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Bugatti Divo.

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