Tesla Roadster vs. Bugatti Chiron: What’s Your Dream Car?


Tesla Roadster vs. Bugatti Chiron: What’s Your Dream Car?

Bugatti or Tesla—both of them could be dream cars.  But which one should be yours?  Should you go with performance or technology, the uncommon or the rare?  Both have so much to choose from that it can be difficult to decide on one.  

Tesla Roadster vs Bugatti Chiron. The Tesla Roadster is more affordable than the Bugatti Chiron, but both cars look amazing and earn high marks for performance. Ultimately, you will have to decide between the advanced technology of the Tesla versus the raw power of the Bugatti Chiron, and of course, how much money you want to spend.

If it’s your dream and money is no limit, then why no go for the Bugatti worth millions of dollars. The problem is that while the prices are vastly different, the Tesla can offer many new and cool advantages over not only Bugatti’s Chiron, but over internal combustion engines in general, and, even over most other electric cars. 

RoadsterKey Pro: affordable luxury car that has the look and feel of a sports car while being electricKey Con: lacks the performance of the Bugatti
BugattiKey Pro: clocked over 300 mph—definitely high performanceKey Con: Extremely expensive and rare

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and explore each car in more detail.  We know what our favorite is—after finishing our guide, you should feel confident in your choice.

The Roadster

Tesla’s new roadster has been making headlines ever since the new Tesla semi was introduced. It has been claimed that Tesla’s roadster can hit 0-60 mph in just 1.9 seconds. This is a huge challenge to the highest end manufacturers around the world, and it even beat the supremely expensive Bugatti Chiron. 

This Roaster has supercar-like qualities, and yet its price is fairly reasonable at only $200,000. If you go to the Tesla website, you can reserve the Tesla Roadster for a deposit of only $50,000. If you want it immediately, then you can pay $250,000 all upfront. 

This chart displays the most important characteristic of each car:

 Tesla RoadsterBugatti Chiron
Acceleration 0-60 MPH1.9s2.4s
Top speed250+MPH261MPH
Mile range620 miles286 miles
Seats4 seats2 seats
Price $$200,000$3,000,000

It is crazy to see how similar these cars are when the prices are so different. But, when it’s your dream car, does the price even matter that much?

The Tesla Roadster has made appearances at car shows in Switzerland known as the Grand Basel. This show only shows off the best of vintage and modern cars. The most exciting and sought-after car in this show was by far the Tesla Roadster

One thing you may notice when looking at the Tesla Roadster is that it doesn’t have any side mirrors. The interior is also minimal and unique.

As EV Cones said after seeing pictures of it,

“Looks really sharp in white!! Love it.”

Power

The Tesla Roadster contains a 200kWh battery that doesn’t just allow a massive range but has a ton of power as well. Power, or kW, is how much “oomph” the car can produce as opposed to the energy factor, which is kWh. Energy is storage, and this allows the car to travel farther without needing a recharge, which the Roadster excels at as well. 

Tesla has a reputation for using batteries that have a very high energy density and a low power density. This means that they have to use a lot of batteries to hit the desired power levels. The opposite of these types of batteries would be supercapacitors, which have a lot of power density but fairly bad energy density. 

Those Teslas that have bigger batteries will have much more power, quicker acceleration, and longer ranges. The original Roadster had the biggest battery at the time of a 53kWh battery. This gave it a low-end torque and a good amount of power for a smaller model car. 

The problem is that when you reach higher speeds, there isn’t as much power or “oomph.” You wouldn’t say this car has violent speed, whereas your head would be thrown up until 50 mph it wouldn’t feel as powerful beyond that, certainly when compared to the Bugatti Chiron. 

The Roadster was designed with a two-speed transmission so that it would hit an acceleration that of 60-120 that rivaled the 0-60 time. This objective didn’t pan out, so instead, Tesla went back and changed the cars to have a “1.5” powertrain, which is much simpler and increased the performance in many other areas. 

Since this testing phase, Tesla has stuck with single gears by using dual-motor versions of the Model S. These have different ratios on the front and rear axle, which increase the efficiency of the car at higher speeds. 

Torque and power are not the same. Think about it like this–torque gets you off of the line while power helps you hit those top speeds. Keep in mind that “peak torque” doesn’t mean that much, and it means even less on internal combustion engines since their peak numbers aren’t always available. 

It is only within a certain RPM range that these horsepower values are accurate. This is one of the reasons why internal combustion cars have so many gears. They are always trying to stay within the most optimal RPM range. 

Electric motors have the unique ability to provide their maximum torque at an RPM of 0. It is this significant advantage that allows them to accelerate so fast. 

If you look at a graph of their torque, you will see that it is flat and drops off at a certain point, depending on the power going to the battery.  Horsepower = torque X RPM so as the torque starts to drop and the RPMs get higher the horsepower stays relatively the same. 

The new battery presented in the Tesla Roadster is about twice the size of the Model S, which can deliver about 778hp. It’s fair to estimate that the new Roasters will have about 1,300 horsepower give or take.

Aerodynamics

To hit the high speeds of 250mph, it not only takes a lot of horsepower to overcome the drag, but it also needs a low enough drag coefficient. By using the drag equation, you can find this coefficient and calculate how much drag you can have and still reach your desired speed. 

Supercars aren’t meant to be slippery. If they didn’t have enough drag, they would be lifted right off the ground. This phenomenon is why you see wings and some active spoilers on cars that hit these high speeds. However, the Roadster doesn’t come with any of these.

Wings disturb the air by pushing it upwards, and the opposite and equal force pushes downwards on the car. This is called downforce. If a car needs some help in cornering or sticking to the ground, then these techniques are implemented. 

There is a natural lift that occurs on vehicles that are traveling at high speeds. This works very similarly to an airplane wing. Take Formula One, for example. These cars have a Cd of about .7 (Bugatti Chiron has .36). This is because they need massive amounts of downforce to take the high speed turns they do. 

Since wings are disturbing the air, it is a better practice to focus on devices that are more “aerodynamically efficient.” This refers to the ability to create downforce while also giving off the least amount of drag possible. 

One of the best regions to focus on for this is the underbody of a car. Tesla places the battery at the very bottom of the car, which gives it a very naturally flat underbody. 

In addition to this significant configuration, they also use a device to keep the airflow steady throughout the car and as undisturbed as possible. When air flows quickly, it not only gives the car less drag but it also creates a fair amount of downforce. 

At the Roadster’s top speeds, this is very important because it essentially helps it “stick” to the road. Its cornering ability is greatly increased because the tires have a much more downward force.

Tires

The Tesla Roadster makes use of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 325/30ZZR21 (104Y) rear and 265/35ZR20 front. The Porsche 918 Spyder has the same exact same tires.

The tires themselves are street legal, but they are mainly focused on track performance, while wet conditions are not recommended. 

This newer Roadster is heavier than the original, which means it has to have larger tires with bigger contact patches. Getting a 0-60 time in under 2 seconds means you need a lot of rubber to be in contact with the road. The stickier this rubber is, the more forward motion the car will be able to generate. 

Weight

While the older Roadster tried to stay as light as it could since it was started by the great car designer Colin Chapman who said: simplify, then add lightness”. He tried to make his cars have incredible performance while also being as light as possible. All unnecessary weight was cast out. 

It isn’t that likely for the new Roadster to be close to the older one’s weight, mainly because the new battery that is about twice as big is very heavy. The pack alone will weigh about 2,000 pounds.

Next, you have to add on three electric motors, an aluminum chassis, carbon fiber, or fiberglass body, and at this point, the car is about 4,000 pounds. The original Roadster was only 2,723 pounds. 

This weight isn’t out of the ordinary for supercars nowadays. Many of them are within the range of 3,500 – 4,400 pounds. The Chiron is one of the heaviest at 4,400 pounds. 

Weight shouldn’t be considered a disadvantage when it comes to top speed. The disadvantage comes from vehicle handling and cornering, which the Tesla Roadster already excels at. 

Bugatti Chiron’s Specifications

The Chiron uses an engine that was also used in the Veyron. This is a 7,993 cc (8.L) W16 engine that is quad-turbocharged. It isn’t exact because it has been adequately updated.

The Chiron has torque that starts at 2,000 RPM and goes until 6,000 RPM. When further comparing the Veyron Super Sport and the Chiron, you can see that the Veyron Super Sport generates 220 kW less than the much newer Chiron. 

Similar to the Chiron, the Veyron makes use of a carbon fiber body structure that has an all-wheel-drive system and an independent suspension. 

In 2017, the Chiron hit a new world record by reaching 249 mph (400km/h) in just 32.6 seconds. After this amazing feat, it needed to break for 9.4 seconds to return to a 0 mph. 

There is an electronic limit that prevents the Chiron from going past 261 mph without using a key for overriding. The reason for this is that the manufacturers felt that the stress at this high speed would be too much, and there is no tire currently being produced that could handle it properly. 

Only 500 Bugatti Chirons are being reported to be in production. Already, upwards of 200 of them have been bought by people all around the world. 

The Chiron brings in almost 300bhp more than the Veyron Super Sport, which has 1,183bhp. Like the Tesla Model S, the Chiron can get to 60 MPH in less than 2.5 seconds. Unlike the Tesla, however, the Chiron can hit an astonishing top speed of 261 mph. 

There are some rumors floating around that the Chiron has hit 288 mph before. This presents mind-boggling opportunities for cars that could nearly break the tough 300 mph barrier.

Chiron’s World Records

The Chiron has been confirmed to be faster than its predecessor, the Veyron. It has:

  • Accelerated 0-62 mph in 2.4 seconds
  • Accelerated 0-124 mph in 6.1 seconds
  • Accelerated 0-186 mph in 13.1 seconds 
  • Accelerated 0-248.5 mph in 32.6 seconds

The test driver, Andy Wallace, drove the Buggati on August 2, 2019, and hit a speed of 304.77 mph. This was using a pre-production Chiron Super Sport prototype in a test facility owned by Volkswagen in Ehra Lessien.

This magnificent top speed record has since been verified by TÜV, Germany’s Technical Inspection Association. This is the very first time a production vehicle has ever broken the 300-mph obstacle. 

The engineering firm Dallara, and tire manufacturer Michelin collaborated over a period of six months. The car’s length was eventually increased by 248.9 mm, and it utilized a fitted laser-controlled ride height system to reduce its overall drag. 

The rear wing, which is electronically controlled, was removed and replaced with a long tail that had a rear wing with a short cross-section to reduce the drag even more and improve the overall aerodynamics. 

Due to this extremely high speed, a roll cage was added to the vehicle to ensure that all the drivers would remain safe. The passenger seat was also taken out so that data systems could be added and record the run.

One feature of this Bugatti that was also on the Bugatti Centodieci was an exhaust system that reduced aerodynamic drag by a large margin. This engine has been modified to produce 1,600 PS; 1,578 horsepower with absolutely no changes to the gearbox and its system of all-wheel-drive. 

Chiron’s Marketing

There have been many different ways that Bugatti has marketed the Chiron to get the word out and show it off. In one of these, Lego re-created a life-sized 1:1 scale model of the Chiron in China. It used more than 1,000,000 total pieces and 339 unique types of LEGOs. 

The only exception was the official Bugatti badge, steel frame, the wheels, seat belts, steel drive chain, and a steel roll cage. The engine was made from 2,304 LEGO power function motors that are used in standard models. 

This LEGO version of the Chiron can produce 4 kW and 92 N⋅m of torque. Eventually, this car was driven by the official test driver for Bugatti, Andy Wallace.

Bugatti’s Chiron did a lot of the marketing for itself when it was breaking a bunch of records. But to be fair, the Tesla Roadster has also been pretty revolutionary, and it has many of its own records to tout. 

How Do You Buy a Chiron?

In case you weren’t aware, the Chiron is an extremely expensive car. £2.5m is the asking price of this exotic car. Anyone buying the car must first put down a £200,000 deposit before they can fully buy the car. 

The salesmen for the Chiron are always looking for potential customers. They seek to establish relationships with these clients through showrooms and other means. 

Anybody can walk into the showrooms and get a close look at these cars. But salesmen are looking for a specific demographic. These kinds of cars are usually bought by car collectors who have yachts, real estate, art collection, airplanes, and more cars than they do fingers. 

Personal invites are usually sent to such people, and if you don’t have an inventory such as this, it is unlikely you will be headhunted by salesmen. 

Obviously, each buying experience is unique to the individual, so there isn’t a set procedure that is guaranteed to work every time. Essentially, it is fairly difficult to purchase a Chiron even if you have the money because they are becoming so rare.

The Takeaway

If you have more than enough money to afford one of these cars, then you should evaluate what is of the utmost importance to you. Is it seating? Range? Acceleration? If it is any of these, then the Tesla Roadster is the clear choice. 

If you are a car collector and like the status of Bugatti cars, and you wanna get as close as possible to 300 mph, then the Bugatti is your dream car.  Plus, if you have to have that truly rare car—then go for the Bugatti.  Order it now if you want one. In addition, there is a limited number of these cars in circulation, so if you’re interested, a trip to London to check out this showroom might be in your future.

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Greg

Hi, I'm Greg. My daily driver is a Tesla Model 3 Performance. I've learned a ton about Teslas from hands-on experience and this is the site where I share everything I've learned.

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