‘If you do it then it’s not something that needs to be done only once, but all the cars need to be built in a certain way.’

Bugatti has held the bragging rights of producing the world’s fastest production car for most of the 21st century, but new CEO, Stefan Winkelmann, says he doesn’t see the speed record as being integral to the future of the brand.

Despite having a quad-turbocharged W16 engine making 223kW more than the one in the Veyron Grand Sport, the Chiron is currently pegged to at a lower top speed, with production versions limited to 420km/h.

There’s no doubt it could go considerably faster with the leash taken off, but Winkelmann says doing so isn’t a priority.

“I think it could easily go 440km/h or 450km/h,” Winkelmann told CarAdvice at the Monterey Car Week in California, “but we’ve not made the test. If you do it then it’s not something that needs to be done only once, but all the cars need to be built in a certain way.”

In other words, it would have to be repeatable – something that hasn’t been the case with the ultra-speed records claimed by Hennessey and, more recently, Koenigsegg, which took an owner’s Agera RS to a 457km/h record on a closed stretch of public road in Nevada last year.

Instead Winkelmann says that the Bugatti Divo that was unveiled at Pebble Beach gives a better indication of the brand’s performance aspirations. That limited-to-40 hellion is slower than the Chiron it’s based on – restricted to a mere 380km/h – but is said to be considerably more dynamic.

“Top speed is one slice of the performance cake, but being so far at the edge in terms of performance brings penalties,” Winkelmann said.”If you want to look more into lateral acceleration you have to compromise on longitudinal acceleration.

“With the Divo we had to make that decision and I think it was the right one. Absolute top speed is not on the agenda at the time being.”