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Bugatti mulling second model: report

Full house: Bugatti is reportedly mulling a new family member to sit alongside the Chiron coupe (pictured).

French hypercar maker considering expanding model line-up to two offerings

23 Jan 2020

BUGATTI CEO Stephan Winkelmann has suggested the hypercar brand is considering expanding its model range to two offerings, leaving the door open for an SUV or sedan to sit alongside the manic Chiron coupe.


Speaking to British publication Autocar, Mr Winkelmann said if the brand brings a second model into its line-up it will be for more everyday use.


“If we speak about a second model as Bugatti, I am convinced we don’t have to do a car which is only for weekends,” he said.


“This is a car to be used on a daily basis. It has to have a different shape [to the Chiron] and have a different mission.”


Using a different shape to the Chiron means a four-door sedan or SUV are the most likely body style, with parent company Volkswagen Group able to provide donor vehicles if Bugatti decided to go down that route.


If it chose so, Bugatti could use VW Group’s MLB-Evo platform that underscores a number of different models across its brands, including high-performance offerings like the Porsche Cayenne, Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus.


However, despite the proven performance of the MLB-Evo platform, Mr Winkelmann said the brand would use its own bespoke underpinnings.


Introducing an SUV would place Bugatti as the latest in a long line of performance car manufacturers to turn to high-riding wagons in order to satiate the market’s considerable desire for hi-po SUVs.


When asked by Autocar whether the iconic 8.0-litre quad-turbocharged W16 petrol engine would carry over to other models, Mr Winkelmann said the massive engine would be kept exclusive to the Chiron.


“If we do something outside of the hyper sports car business, there will be a car that is not in the direction of the W16,” he said. “In my opinion, electrification would be the right approach.”


Mr Winkelmann dismissed the suggestion of a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, saying that such a set-up would “never have cutting-edge technology” worthy of a Bugatti.


Instead, if a new model were to be launched, it would be a pure-electric version that would have to at least rival the outputs of the Chiron, which currently stand at 1103kW/1600Nm, up to 1176kW in the Super Sport version.


Mr Winkelmann said that repeatable acceleration and top speed would be a priority for a Bugatti EV over range, and that developing the appropriate technology for such a car would likely take at least five years.


If Bugatti instead opts for a more luxurious four-door sedan body, its own version of something to compete with the Bentley Flying Spur or Porsche Panamera would be the most likely entrant.


Introducing a more high-volume model would not ruin the super-exclusive nature for the Bugatti brand, with Mr Winkelmann saying production would be limited to few hundred units per region.


“If we’re talking about a car that would be in the low thousands, we’re talking 300 cars in America, 300 cars in Europe, 300 cars in Asia and so on,” he said.


“At the end of the day, there would be close to zero visibility [of these cars] so there would be no impact [on exclusivity].”


He was also under no illusions about where a second Bugatti model would sit in terms of priorities for the VW Group, adding that doubling the range of the company would also require significant internal commitment.


“For Bugatti, it is a good opportunity and could be a winner,” he said. “But I also see that a big group like VW Group has a lot of priorities.


“It is in the midst of an electrification revolution and it must decide where to spend its money.


“A second model would mean doubling the size of the company or more. It’s clear we need 100 per cent commitment from everybody - it’s not enough that I’m convinced!”

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