Dieselgate be darned: Bugatti may build a super sedan after all

2009-Bugatti-16-C-Galibier-Concept
2009 Bugatti Galibier Sedan Concept
When Volkswagen’s Dieselgate scandal began to unravel and the financial fallout became more clear, some of the first words out of the automotive group were that non-critical projects would be dropped.

Among the projects in jeopardy was the long-rumored Bugatti four-door sedan. Who needs a multi-million-dollar super limo, after all? Well, reason not the need. Apparently, the luxury marque thinks there are at least enough potential customers to warrant a production model, because Bugatti’s president, Wolfgang Duerheimer, hinted that it may be the company’s next project.

“I can’t get the idea for a four-door limousine out of my head,” said Duerheimer during an interview with Bloomberg at the Geneva Motor Show. It’s one of the options we might look into again as a possible next project.” It’s possible that the positive reception of the brand’s new $2.7 million Chiron is stoking the executive’s flame, but seemingly oddball exclusive models are hot these days. Consider how many super luxury automakers have or are building crossovers.

Speaking of which, when Duerheimer was asked whether Bugatti would join Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini in building a sport utility vehicle, his answer was simply “no.”

Still, the Galibier concept from 2009 has many obstacles in its path to production. Each of Volkswagen’s brands are under a microscope to cut costs since the group admitted to tampering with emission control devices on 11 million diesel cars. Bugatti, unlike other Volkswagen marques, operates on a different level, however. With each car costing millions of dollars, the profit margins are high, but so are the development costs. For the Chiron, customers put down $250,000 before ever driving the car. Standard rules don’t apply to that level of luxury.

Duerheimer also mentioned that an electric model is under consideration. Though the Chiron stuck with a quad-turbocharged 8.0-liter 16-cylinder motor, “that doesn’t mean we abandon this topic forever,” said Duerheimer. If Bugatti can keep weight down while getting enough electric power, a hybrid or EV will happen.

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