42083 Bugatti Chiron was unveiled at a special event at The LEGO House yesterday as you will have seen if you follow us on Twitter or Facebook.
It's the second 'ultimate Technic' supercar to be released, two years after 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS, and is built to the same 1:8 scale as the Porsche.
Thanks to LEGO's community team, who pulled out all the stops to get one to us in good time, we've had our hands on the 3599-piece set for a week or so, so have had time to build it and prepare this review for publication the day after it was revealed.
Read on to find out if it's the set for you...
The Bugatti Chiron is one of the fastest production road cars in the world. Its 8-litre 16-cylinder engine generates 1500bhp which propels it from 0-62mph in 2.5 seconds and delivers a top speed of 261mph.
It's also one of the most expensive, starting at a mere 2.4 million Euros...
Here's a photo of the version LEGO has modelled:
Box and contents
The box is compact and heavy, around 6kg.
The back shows the rear of the vehicle and some of its details.
Lifting the lid reveals six boxes inside, one of which holds the wheels. Images on each combine to show a view of the front right of the car.
The instruction manuals are above the below the middle box and have the same pictures on their covers as the box. The individual boxes are made of sturdy cardboard which should prevent the books from shifting about and damaging them, which was a problem with early versions of the 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS
The bottoms of the five boxes have a different image on them and once they've been emptied you can place them back in the box to reveal a view of the rear of the car:
Instructions come in two books, one 306 pages, the other 318. The first book starts with images and information about the design process of both the model and the real car.
Overall, there are 970 instruction steps in the two books.
There's also a sticker sheet but they are not too numerous.
There are a number of interesting new parts in the set, all of which are revealed early in construction.
There's a new 20-tooth gear (the blue one) the same size as the standard one (tan), but designed for use in gearboxes in conjunction with the gear shifter ring, like the 16-tooth red one.
These two parts are also used in the gearbox and the orange one will revolutionise gearbox design by allowing gears to be shifted by rotation rather than by using the change-over catch that has been a feature of all gearboxes until now.
The yellow one effectively extends the reach of the gear shifter ring by 1 unit.
Finally, there's a new wheel mount complete with disc brake which, as you'll see later on, vastly improves the appearance of the finished model
While building the model you are invited to listen to episodes of a podcast at lego.com/technicpodcast as you progress through it. Each one talks about what you're currently building and the challenges the designers faced. It was not online when I built it so I can't tell you anything more about it, unfortunately. It's a great idea, though!
The parts are contained in the six boxes.
Box one contains parts for the engine and gearbox which is, as you'd expect, the most complex and challenging part of the build. You will not want to make a mistake here otherwise you'll be disassembling the whole thing and starting from scratch.
First the rear axle and suspension is constructed, before the gearbox is built as a subassembly and attached to it.
You can see how the orange shifters work. As they are rotated a quarter turn they move the gear shifter rings from top, to middle (disengaged) and to the bottom, then back again. Each one moves two rings; you can just about see the other pair below them.
Take a good look at the gearbox at this point of the build because you won't see much of it again because the engine is mounted directly above it.
Before moving on with construction I highly recommend that you check the gearbox works by turning the axles to change through the gearbox to ensure it all runs smoothly because it will be virtually impossible to make corrections later.
The 16 cylinder behemoth is apparently the most complex Technic engine ever made.
Next we turn our attention to the front of the car, including the steering and gear shifting paddle mechanism.
The gear paddles are implemented very differently to those in the Porsche. There's a very clever ratchet system which, on each push on a paddle, rotates an axle, the one with the orange 180 degree angle element, a quarter turn. Pushing the left paddle rotates it one way, push it right and it rotates the other. This axle, is, of course, eventually connected to the gearbox above.
Now comes the marriage, 'the high point of the Chiron chassis assembly', apparently, when the monocoque chassis and engine/gearbox assemblies are brought together.It's replicated here by joining the front to the back.
After a few pieces have been added to connect them together a successful marriage has been achieved.
At this point it's worth having a look at the bottom of the car. A criticism of 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS was that the gearbox and engine were not visible at all on the finished model. That's almost the case here, because the engine is above the gearbox but there is at least a gap in the chassis through which you can see the lower gear shifter rings moving back and forth.
The hard stuff is done, and now we move from instruction book one to two to tackle the bodywork, starting with the rear end.
When blurry pictures of the set surfaced a few months ago it looked as if the back end was black but thankfully that is not the case; it's dark blue, and it looks great.
The vehicle has a rear wing that automatically raises and angles to provide downforce or braking power. You'll see it action below.
The back end looks fantastic. The single strip of red light across the back has been cleverly replicated using a red flex tube held in place at the ends by stud shooters.
Now we turn our attention to the interior. Dark tan has been used for the leather and it looks fantastic, luxurious even. As a result, four Technic pieces have been cast in that colour for the first time.
Next the dashboard and front wings are added.
Steering is, as you would hope, facilitated through the steering wheel, while the gear shifters sit below it. There's not much legroom as a result! Stickers provide details for the dashboard.
The doors and front of the bodywork are added next, using medium azure pieces, many of which have been produced in that colour for the first time.
The trademark Bugatti horseshoe grill finishes off the front; you'll get a better view of it later on.
A few more bits and pieces are added, including the windscreen surrounds and the flex tubes which create the distinctive 'C' that defines the vehicle's shape. Then, the wheels and tyres are attached to complete the model.
Finally a 'tool' -- the purpose of which will be demonstrated later -- is built, along with some branded luggage.
I built the model over the course of two days and I estimate it took a good 10-12 hours to do so.
The completed model
I'll let you savour these images of the completed model uninterrupted.
1. The bonnet opens
This allows the custom Bugatti luggage to be stowed. The real car has a bit more stowage space than this but not much. I guess if you can afford one you can also afford to have someone follow behind in a van with all your weekend requisites.
There's also a tile underneath the bonnet with a unique code printed on it (which I've blurred out) which unlocks online content on the Technic website. I've not checked out what that is yet.
2. The rear wing can be adjusted.
Remember that grey tool? It replicates the 'go faster' key that comes with the real car. It's inserted behind the rear wheel, When rotated it raises the spoiler and when turned a bit more it tilts it.
It's a neat touch but to be honest it's a lot of faffing about and it's much easier just to lift it by hand.
3. The doors open
This reveals the sumptuous dark tan leather interior and details on the inside of the doors.
4. It can be steered using the steering wheel
There's no external knob to do so, you need to reach in and turn the wheel. There's not a lot of movement in the front wheels, I suspect not as much as the real car.
5. All wheels have suspension
However, the weight of the body is such that after pressing down above a wheel, the chassis does not return to its original position (thanks to Sariel for pointing this out).
6. You can change gear
This is of course the most important mechanism, and the one that's responsible for the majority of the model's complexity. There's a gear lever on the central column it which can be shifted forwards and backwards, and there are gear shift paddles either side of the steering wheel, as seen in the pictures above.
The instruction manuals do not describe the operation of the gearbox but I've subsequently learned that it's 8-speed. Unfortunately, because the gearbox is hidden away it's difficult to tell exactly how it works. Unlike the Porsche, however, it is possible to see some of the cylinder heads so in theory we should be able to determine the effect of the gearbox on the engine as you push the car along.
Certainly from my experiments so far, pushing the central gear lever back causes the engine to 'rev' rapidly when the vehicle is pushed but whether it's actually doing so in reverse is hard to tell.
Pushing the lever forwards causes the engine to 'rev' much more slowly as you push the car, but it actually takes a bit of time before the cylinders start moving, so much so that I wondered whether it was working at all at first.
The difference in revs when you subsequently change gear using the paddles is not really noticeable, and there is no way to know which gear you are actually in because the paddles can be pressed ad infinitum, cycling from bottom to top gear, then back to bottom again.
I guess it would have paid to examine it more closely during the first stage of construction before it was covered up. All you can do once the car is built is hold it in a precarious position so you can see the gearbox through the small hole in the bottom of the chassis and operate the paddles at the same time, which is easier said than done.
The set provides and long and satisfying build. There is little repetition -- mainly just left- and right- hand assemblies -- and, apart from the engine and gearbox, it's not particularly complicated or taxing.
The completed model looks absolutely stunning. The dual-tone colour scheme makes so much more attractive than a single-colour model. The dark tan interior contrasts perfectly with the shades of blue.
But does it look like the real car?
Of course the limitations of the Technic system has required some compromises but I reckon the designer, Aurelien Rouffiange, has done an excellent job of translating the sleek and sensual lines of the bodywork into Technic.
The main distinguishing feature of the car is the swooshing 'C' shape that delineates the colours. I'm not entirely convinced by the way it's been recreated and I suspect many of you will be disappointed by the use of a flex tube. But, without new pieces there was no other practical way to do it.
The other thing that bothers me slightly is the bonnet. Bugattis have a distinctive, almost bulbous, front end around the horseshoe grill and I'm not convinced that's been replicated here particularly well, if at all. The grill surround itself is fine, just not the area around it.
Nevertheless, minor niggles aside, it really is a beauty and a joy to behold.
The gearbox is undeniably very cleverly implemented and the new parts that have been produced for it make it work so much better than that in the Porsche. However, all that effort has effectively gone to waste if it, and the effects of operating it, can't be really seen. It is, of course, nice to know that the insides match those of the real car but for some Technic fans that will not be enough.
This set has 800 more pieces than the 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS so we'd expect a higher price, and we have one: US$349.99, 369.99€ and £329.99. The disparity between prices in the different markets is once again very disappointing.
That's a huge outlay, then, and it will be competing with many other awesome recent releases for your hard-earned, but if you're a Technic fan this is probably a set you've been waiting patiently for and you will not want to pass it up.
Overall then, an excellent model, a satisfying build and if you can afford it I highly recommend it.
My super-car collection is looking almost as impressive as Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen's... :-)
Many thanks to the LEGO group for providing the set in such a timely manner for this review, which is an expression of my own opinions.