What would you say if someone offered you a chance to drive a $3 million super sports car? And what if that sports car was one of only 500 custom made Bugatti Chirons?
If you are like me, you would say, “Can I just ride in the passenger seat?”
I drive a Mini Cooper Clubman. It has a big trunk and enough space to fit my two kids. My husband and I once had a two-seater. That was before the aforementioned kids.
Just being in the car and getting a whiff of the million-dollar new car smell would be enough of an experience. Plus, what if I crash this car in these Miami streets? My kids scratched the door of my Mini Cooper two weeks after I drove it off the lot.
Luckily for me, I was paired with Butch Leitzinger, former Bugatti racer and Official Driver, whose calm demeanor gave me the confidence to get behind the wheel.
The Bugatti was silver and blue with camel interior and lined with with blue thread. In the passenger’s seat, your legs can extend almost completely. Once the motor starts humming, you can feel it in your back, like a massage chair.
Leitzinger took the wheel for the first leg of the trip, which was the only chance I really had to feel the Chiron’s 1,500 HP. On the I-95 ramp heading to downtown Miami he gunned it, and I felt like I was on the Pirate Ship at the Youth Fair. For about five seconds. It was my first and only taste of the Bugatti’s acceleration, which goes zero to 62 in 2.4 seconds. Stupid Miami traffic.
Bugatti is beyond a mid-life crisis mobile for hedge fund types or a toy for trust fund babies. This car is for the 1 percent of the 1 percent. Like, Arabian sheikhs and the guy who has the patent on the color blue.
In Miami, maybe 12 will be sold, says Leitzinger. The waiting list to get a Bugatti is two years. A team of 20 employees takes six months to pop out one car. Only 70 can be made a year. Bugatti hasn’t made a new car since the 2009 Veyron. So not only do you have to be rich but also have to be patient.
Leitzinger and I switched seats at Crandon Beach Park, and when my foot found the accelerator, I expected the car to leap off like an antsy pony. But no, this car is “docile” (Leitzinger’s word). See, Bugattis are the kind of car that are ready for the race track but still give a nice ride at lower speeds, he told me. Still, I was white knuckling the steering wheel with my hands at 10 and two like a grandma. At one point my cameraman, who was driving alongside me, had to gesture at me to speed up so he could get a shot. That’s how slow I was going.
Finally, as I accelerated over the ramp back to I-95, I tried to see if I could get another taste of the zero to 62 acceleration. What I got was a mouthful of 4 o’clock traffic.
Even a Bugatti has to deal with that in Miami.