As a gigantic LEGO nerd and a gigantic car nerd, the last few years have been pretty great. LEGO's Speed Champions range has brought us brick versions of Le Mans prototypes like the Porsche 919 Hybrid and Audi R18 e-tron quattro, and classics like the Ferrari 250GTO and Ford GT40. (In fact, all of the above might be within arm's reach on my increasingly messy desk). For those willing to spend a little more, the LEGO Technic line has bigger replicas you can build, like the yet-to-be-completed LMP2 car still in its box here in my office. (I may have a LEGO problem.) But none of them compare to LEGO's latest creation: a full-size, drivable Bugatti Chiron.
Earlier this year, LEGO Technic released a $349, 3,599-piece scale model of the Chiron, but this latest creation is way more impressive. Made from more than a million pieces, it's the first fully functional, self-propelled life-size LEGO Technic car ever built. In fact, LEGO says it's the first non-glued LEGO Technic model of such complexity ever made.
"This life-size model is a first of its kind in so many ways and with it, we wanted to push the boundaries of our own imagination," said Lena Dixen, senior VP of product and marketing at LEGO. "Our Technic designers and the engineers from the Kladno factory in the Czech Republic, the place which also builds the impressive models for LEGO Stores and LEGOLAND parks, have done an amazing job both at recreating the Chiron’s iconic shapes and making it possible to drive this model."
The Chiron uses 339 different Technic elements, many of which are used as load-bearing components. It even has working headlights—featuring the first use of some new types of transparent Techic bricks. The car weighs 3,306lbs (1,500kg), and even the powertrain is made from Lego: 2,304 of the little electric motors to be precise.
This gives the Chiron somewhat reduced performance compared to the ones Bugatti makes in Molsheim, France. One of those has 1,500hp (1119kW) and a top speed in excess of 261mph (420km/h); the LEGO Technic Bugatti makes just 5.3hp (3.9kW) and tops out at 12.4mph (20km/h).
LEGO even got Le Mans-winning racer and latterly Bugatti test driver Andy Wallace to test the creation at the Ehra Lessien test track in Germany. "When I first saw the LEGO Chiron, I was immediately impressed by the accuracy of the model and the minute attention to detail. In fact, from about 20 metres away it's not obvious that you are looking at a LEGO car," he said. "I can only imagine how much time and effort went into making this model. Driving the LEGO Chiron was a great experience, which I thoroughly enjoyed. All those years ago I could never have imagined that one day I would actually drive a LEGO car!"
The whole thing certainly puts my idea of building a LEGO Concours d'Elegance in my office to shame.
Listing image by Lego