Much More Than LEGO Bricks Went Into Designing This 3,599-Piece Bugatti

The LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron is a beast of a set that took a year-and-a-half to design. Here, from the project's lead designer, is how it came together.

This story was produced in partnership with LEGO Technic.

You (probably) can’t afford a Bugatti Chiron — the price tag starts at $3 million — but you can a just-as-satisfying facsimile of the supercar with the LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron. This LEGO build is just as much a collector’s item as the real thing, and one that you can actually share with your kids.

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LEGO’s Technic line of projects is by far the brand’s most challenging and complicated and thus require a lot of time, effort, and love when designing them.  “Technic is a bit more complex than other lines of products in LEGO,” says the project’s lead designer, Aurelien Rouffiange. “We have a lot of functionality, like gearing we want to recreate, and we have a high love of detail and authenticity in the functions.”

The LEGO Technic team knew they had to follow up with something truly special after the success of their Porsche 911 model. And while the design team had tons of debate about which car to pick next, the choice seems obvious in hindsight.

“We want to have a better looking model each time,” says Rouffiange, “with more functionality, so actually, the Bugatti Chiron was the perfect mix. It was what we could think of as a nice next step.”

More like next leap. The Porsche model consists of 2,704 LEGO pieces. The Bugatti Chiron has a whopping 3,599 LEGO pieces. That includes five pieces that LEGO has never made before, including the hyper-specific rim of the Bugatti, the car’s unique disk brake for the front wheels, and the unique elements of the gear box.

With 3,599 pieces, this LEGO Bugatti will be one rewarding build.

Posted by Fatherly on Monday, October 22, 2018

Furthermore, this LEGO car has moving engine pistons and actual front-wheel steering as you turn the driving wheel. “We wanted to create the highest level of authenticity in the look and functionality,” says Rouffiange. “That includes creating the 16-cylinder engine that you have on the back of the car, which will then be connected to a gear box. That gear box is connected to a four-wheel drive. When you push the model with your hands on the table, the wheel spins, and that will activate the gear box that will then drive the motor.”

The project began in July of 2016, when Rouffiange took a look at the car and created the initial sketch of the exterior. “The very first sketch of the Bugatti was nothing like what we see today,” he says. “It was a bit bigger. A bit bulkier.”

He then met with the team at Bugatti. “We presented the first sketch and they liked it,” he says. “Then the day after I received a PDF with ten pages of feedback.”

It went back and forth like that for a while. Rouffiange would examine the car with the Bugatti team and go to work. It took them a total of six months to design the exterior, six months to design the interior, and then six months to put the designs together into the finished product. The Bugatti Chiron is a small car, and his chief challenge was to cram the maximum amount of functionality into the smallest area possible. “Even the real car is packed,” he says. “Everything is there. There is no room for anything else. I felt the same when doing the LEGO Technic model. It was like, ‘Wow, everything is squeezed.’

“I think I had around 50 to 70 different builds of the car before I finally nailed it to what we have today,” he says. “It was a lot of trial and error.”

To help kids and parents in constructing the car, the team split the build into six different sections, each with multiple split bags that correspond to different sections of the car. “It’s really to make it easier,” he says, “so it’s not so overwhelming. Each time you finish one numbered bag, then it’s like a little achievement to yourself as well.” Rouffiange estimates it’ll take a newbie 16 to 20 hours to build; an experienced LEGO Technic builder could probably make it in under 10 hours.

For Rouffiange and team, designing and building the Bugatti Chiron was worth the sweat. It all came together for him when, after the LEGO build was developed, he got to ride in a real one at the launch event in Wolfsburg, Germany.

“It was insane,” he says. “The speed of the car and the way it drives, the stability, everything. It’s a beautiful, elegant car, but it has the strength of a beast at the same time. It’s really a perfect mix between beauty and engineering for sure.”

We’d say the same about Rouffiange’s LEGO Technic build. You can buy your own for $350 at Shop.LEGO.com today — and get to building and bonding.

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