Bugatti is poised to give its 16 C Galibier super-sedan concept the green light for production, following positive reaction to the concept car.
The Galibier has been on tour since last September, visiting Bugatti customers, the media and motor shows as Bugatti assesses its suitability as a replacement for the Veyron. Production of the hypercar will end in 2012.
A decision on the Galibier had been expected this spring, but Bugatti's position as the smallest of VW's brands has meant it has had to wait its turn for Group funds. Each of the 300 Galibiers earmarked for production from 2013 is expected to retail for around $1.4m.
Despite this high price, the funds required for development are small within the context of the group. But VW is currently trying to raise around four billion Euros ($5.4b) in a share sale and has frozen any announcements on new products. It is worried that committing to a new Bugatti model will have an adverse effect on its attempts to raise the funds. However, the reaction to the car has been overwhelmingly positive and Bugatti insiders claim there is now a strong will within the Volkswagen Group to make the car. It is almost certain to be signed off for production this summer after the share sale has ended.
“It will be made one way or the other,” said one insider. “We're the smallest VW Group member and there's a recession on so we've not been a priority. But we can expect to announce something by the summer; it looks good, people like it and it wouldn't be a great financial commitment in the context of the Group.”
The Galibiers are influenced by the Veyron and the fuselage styling of the classic Bugatti Type 35. Its doors and wings are constructed from aluminum, but the rest of the body is made from carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is also used in the front end of the chassis to add stiffness and keep weight down.
A weight hasn't been given, although Bugatti wants the Galibier to be the lightest car in its class. The four-seat cabin is more luxurious than the Veyron and has a more minimal design.
Powering all four of the Galibier's wheels is the Veyron's W16 engine, tuned to produce around 800hp, albeit using twin mechanical superchargers rather than the Veyron's four turbochargers. The Galibier probably won't have the Veyron's DSG gearbox, either; instead it's expected to use a conventional 8-speed automatic transmission.
But like the Veyron, it will be exceptionally fast. Bugatti tech boss Wolfgang Schreiber has said he wants the production Galibier to “be the world's fastest, highest accelerating and powerful four-door.”Mark Tisshaw/Autocar