Bugatti‘s next model will be a million-dollar sedan. Having relaunched the brand with the Veyron, a car that’ll never make money, Bugatti’s plan is to defray the immense cost of developing the W-16 engine, seven-speed DSG transmission, and all-wheel-drive system by reusing them in a front-engine platform.
Bugatti chairman Thomas Bscher says the new car will use a structure of mixed materials–aluminum and carbon composites. The Veyron has steel end frames, a carbon tub, and part-aluminum skin. Once Bugatti designs a new platform, it can spawn sedan, coupe, and convertible bodies.
The aerodynamics will be much easier to arrange because top speed will be limited. The turbos will be smaller for better engine response, reducing horsepower to about 950. To meet LEV2 requirements, the engine will switch to direct gasoline injection. Although some of the engineering can be scaled back because the top speed will be lower, it’s unlikely the new car can be any lighter than the Veyron because of additional wheelbase and luxury equipment.
By maintaining its price and performance points well above the level of Rolls-Royce, Maybach, and, more important, sister VW Group company Bentley, it’s possible to find a market, Bscher insists. Bugatti’s previous owner, Romano Artioli, also planned a sedan. But the Giugiaro-designed EB112 of 1993 never got beyond the concept stage.
Gordon Murray On The Veyron
My heart goes out to the Bugatti engineers in a way I wouldn’t have understood at all if we hadn’t done the SLR. With the McLaren F1, I set targets, and we saw them through. Starting with the weight and weight distribution, package, and the aerodynamics.
The SLR, like the Veyron, was done the wrong way around. The styling was done as a show car, and then they said to us, ‘Make that.’ With the Bugatti, they had two other arbitrary figures to meet, 1001 horsepower and 400 kph. So it needed 10 times as many engineers finding solutions to problems they should never have had if they’d started from the right point. And it’s not a bad car.
In aerodynamics, it’s no further ahead of the F1. In body structure, it’s behind the F1 and the SLR in that it’s a hybrid construction where they’re all carbon. But the engine and transmission are excellent. And the ESP system lets you get on with chucking the car about.
But what’s the Veyron for? It feels so big, wide, and intimidating to drive in the mountains, and vision is poor. The secondary ride harshness and noise are terrible. It has a tiny trunk and no room for the stuff you need to carry with you in the cabin. So it’s not a real-world supercar.
The real disappointment is it doesn’t feel that quick in a normal road situation. Oh, once you’re going there’s loads of torque then power and the acceleration that goes with it, but there’s turbo lag and far too much rotating mass. But they’ve done some amazing things with it. On the track, the chuckability, steering, and braking shine.
Bugatti says it’s not a track car but a road car. But I enjoyed it more on the track than in the mountains. If I had one, that’s all I’d do with it–take mates to the track and give them rides, show them what 1001 horsepower feels like when the turbos get going–and what the brakes are like. It’s brilliant at that.