Believe it or not, Bugatti actually had a rather long and roller-coaster-like lifespan before the Veyron was ever a glimmer in Volkswagen AG’s eyes. In fact, Bugatti outdates its ownership group by roughly 28 years, as VW was founded in 1937 and Bugatti in 1909. Unlike VW, though, Bugatti never fully recovered from WWII, and fizzled away into automotive has-been in the 1950s, despite a few ailed comebacks in the late-`50s and early `60s.
When Romano Artioli bought the rights to the Bugatti name, his first release under the newly acquired name was the extremely advanced 1991 Bugatti EB110 GT. Unfortunately, the EB110 GT, despite its advancements, never really took off, which was mostly attributed to the global recession at the time taking its toll on the automotive industry.
The EB110 GT lasted through the 1995 model year, but only a total of 84 of them were ever built within those five model years. In addition to the 84 completed models, there were 11 incomplete models that were purchased by B Engineering during Bugatti’s bankruptcy proceedings, which later became the basis for the Edonis sports car.
As you can see, the EB110 GT had a storied and tragically short life that was chock-full of unrealized potential, due to economic woes. Well, RM Auctions is giving you a chance to own a piece of Bugatti history by offering up a 1994 Bugatti EB110 GT in Monaco from May 11th to 12th, 2012.
How does this one technical marvel stand up to today’s supercars and is it really worth picking up with all of the supercars available?
Click past the jump for the answers in our complete review.
RM Auctions makes no mention to this Bugatti being restored, so we can safely assume that the excellent condition body is its original factory condition. The outside of this aging grey supercar is both stunning and oddly unique. Its side profile meets your typical 1990s supercar look, as it almost has the same shape as the Lamborghini Diablo.
The front end is where the oddness begins. It has fixed headlights similar to those on the Ferrari 512M, but they are more wide than they are long. On the outermost edge, small parking lights protrude from the headlight lenses. It also appears as if there are projector lights on the outermost edge of the headlights, which was unheard of in the 1990s.
On either side of the hood, near the front, you will see recesses that appear to be air ducts of some sort. These ducts almost resemble those found on the front of the Ferrari Enzo, only smaller and to the outside of the headlights.
The front of the EB110 GT nosedives at a fairly sharp angle, giving this supercar a wedge design. The only grille on the front end is integrated with the front bumper and is a two-bar style. On each side of the grille are air ducts to provide extra cooling to the braking system.
Down the side you’ll see the vertical opening doors, much like Lamborghinis of the era. It also features another set of air ducts directly in front of the rear wheel, which cool the rear brakes. An odd thing – and slightly tacky – is the addition of a two-piece side window, similar to the system found on the defunct Subaru SVX. This system has a window within a window, with the innermost window rolling down and the outermost one remaining fixed.
The backside is not free of its own oddly unique additions. The taillights are horizontally positioned ovals with dozens of small horizontal lines through them. There are also 10 small rounded-rectangle holes between the taillights that are obviously to help cool this beast’s engine down. There is also what appears to be an electric spoiler, much like you would find on the Veyron today. The rear bumper is satin black and has three large rectangular openings, with the outermost openings housing each of the two exhaust pipes. There is also a strange light in the middle of the bumper that we can only assume it the center-mounted stop light.
The entire body is made from lightweight aluminum panels. Making the EB110 GT even more unique for its era is that these aluminum panels come mounted to a carbon fiber monocoque chassis. The EB110 GT was the first car ever to use a carbon fiber monocoque, which French aviation company Aerospatiale built for Bugatti.
The exterior of this supercar was not only advanced and very sexy for its era, but it also carries well into the modern era. We can say with plenty of certainty that very few people with basic car knowledge would place the EB110 GT as a mid-1990s ride.
The interior of this 1994 Bugatti EB110 GT is relatively tame compared to its exterior. It features dual leather racing-style seats, which are adjusted via electronic controls mounted next to the seats, and burled wood grain trim around the instrument cluster and center stack.
Just like the exterior, the entire interior is fitted in grey, though several varying tones of grey. The steering wheel is a surprisingly simple tri-spoke wheel with the famed “EB” logo in the center. The dashboard, glove box door, and center console are wrapped in medium-grey leather with white stitching.
Also included on this supercar is an automatic climate control with a digital interface. A neat thing about the climate control system is that the defrost vents are moveable, just like the main vents, so you can direct the air to the exact point you need to on the windshield. If you have ever owned a car with a slow-sloping windshield like this one, you can appreciate that, as they are famous for fogging up and taking forever to clear up.
The audio system is a Nakamichi brand and includes a standard tape deck. From the looks of the tape deck, there must be a CD changer mounted in the EB110 GT, as it has CD changer controls.
The interior is one of the few areas that the EB110 GT just does not stack up well against the more modern supercars. Driving a supercar with a tape player is about as odd as you get.
Engine and Drivetrain
Let’s have a look at what really makes a supercar super, the engine and drivetrain.
This 1994 EB110 GT has a compact 3.5-liter DOHC engine that somehow manages to house a total of 12 cylinders. What’s even more amazing is that this lightweight and compact engine also manages to pump out 561 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 456 pound-feet of torque at 3,750 rpm. The only reason this V-12 can hit those numbers is thanks to four, yeah we said four, IHI turbochargers forcing air into the intake. This 561 horsepower wallops its closest competitors at the time, the Lamborghini Diablo and Ferrari 512M, by a whopping 36 horsepower and 28 pound feet, and 128 horsepower and 89 pound-feet, respectively.
To boot, the Lamborghini has 2.2 liters of additional engine displacement and the Ferrari has 1.4 additional liters. That is quite a feat, but it goes to show what a little boost can do to a well-tuned machine.
Hooked up to this compact powerhouse is a six-speed manual transmission, giving it one extra gear over the Diablo and 512M. The transmission was engineered so that when you shifted at peak power, the following gear would place you at roughly 3,500 rpm, placing you just before the peak torque range. This definitely helps deliver head pinning acceleration.
To make matters even more exciting, the Bugatti EB110 GT also comes with an advance all-wheel-drive system. This AWD system throws 73 percent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels and 27 percent to the front wheels at all times. This allows a slight oversteer without sacrificing acceleration traction.
The engine and drivetrain combines to propel this 3,567 lb. supercar to 100 km/h ( 62 mph) in just 3.6 seconds, so we can estimate its 0-to-60 mph time at about 3.5 seconds. It also hit a top speed of a 213 mph. These ratings are 0.4 seconds faster to 60 mph and 3 mph higher than the Diablo, and 1.2 seconds and 16 mph higher than the 512M. Those are quite impressive numbers against the top supercars of its era.
Handling and Braking
At each corner of the EB110 GT is a double wishbone suspension system, which features two control arms – one upper and one lower. On the front end you have a single shock absorber between the control arms and on the rear end you have dual shock absorbers between the arms.
On the front and rear of the EB110 GT, you have hydraulic Brembo brake systems. The front and rear rotors measure in at 13.07 inches in diameter, giving the 110EB GT plenty of rotor for the pads to grab onto.
At each front corner you’ll see a 9-inch x 18-inch BBS wheel wrapped tightly in high performance Michelin Pilot SX rubber and on the rear you’ll find 12-inch x 18-inch BBS wheels with the same Michelin rubber. The tires on the front measure in at 245/40ZR18 and the rears are a massive 325/30ZR18.
With only 39 percent of the weight of this supercar in the front, it is obvious that Bugatti was more interested in creating a power house supercar than one that is nimble. This means that this car is definitely tuned more for a straight track than the twisty stuff.
For a supercar of this stature that also doubles as a collector’s item, you would expect a sky high price. RM Auctions only anticipates this EB110 GT fetching €220,000 to €260,000 ($288,903 to $341,431). That’s really not too bad considering this supercar from 1995 can nearly hang with more modern and more expensive 2012 supercars.
We already had a brief look at its competitors of yesteryear, now let’s fast forward and see how it stands up to modern day supercars.
We’ll start off with the 2012 Lamborghini Aventador and its base price of $387,000, which is about $46,000 more than the highest anticipated auction price. The Aventador is the king of the supercars for now, at least until the Ferrari F70 HY-KERS comes out, as it cranks out 690 horsepower and 509 pound-feet of torque from its 6.5-liter V-12 engine. This launches this raging bull to 60 mph in just about 2.8 seconds, clipping the 17-year-old Bugatti by just about 0.6 seconds.
The Aventador’s seven-speed, paddle-shifted dual-clutch transmission is a definite improvement over the Bugatti’s traditional six-speed manual. Add in the Lambo’s launch control and hill-start assist and it simply kills the Bugatti’s less modern systems. Add in that the Lambo definitely out handles the Bugatti and in a pure driving sense, the Aventador is still tops.
On the outside, the Aventador is simply outrageous, but it is a little too outrageous for some people. The Bugatti is as unique as the Aventador, but not nearly as over-the-top strange as the Lambo.
On the inside, the Lamborghini looks like the flight control panel on a NASA space shuttle. We don’t want to have to ask for clearance to take off from every stoplight, so we’ll take the simple and refined interior of the Bugatti any day of the week.
The other modern day competitor to the EB110 GT is the $320,580 2011 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano F1 Coupe. This top-level Ferrari has a mammoth 611-horsepower, 6.0-liter V-12 engine that also cranks out a less-than-excitable 448 pound-feet of torque. Despite its higher power, the 599 can’t quite hang with the Bugatti to 100 km/h ( 62 mph), as it takes it 3.7 seconds – 0.1 seconds slower than the EB110 GT.
As with the Lamborghini, the Ferrari will certainly out maneuver the Bugatti on a twisty road course, thanks to its sophisticated suspension and traction control systems.
In the looks category, the Ferrari wins hands down. It is sexy, sleek, and a breath of fresh air for supercar lovers everywhere. The only thing we take away from the Ferrari is that it is a little Jaguar-like in the looks department.
In the cockpit, the Ferrari is far less complex than the Lamborghini, just as a supercar should be, but it is still much more cluttered and confusing than the Bugatti. We have to give the advantage to the EB110 GT’s interior here, tape player and all.
Picking out a supercar is definitely a dilemma that anyone would be happy to have on their hands. The deal here is that this Bugatti is a 17-year-old supercar that was way ahead of its time. Unfortunately, it comes close but does not quite stack up to modern day competitors, but that is not the point here. The point is that you will be getting an extremely rare model that is nearly what you would get today, for a fraction of the prices of these top-lever supercars.
It is likely that this Bugatti will continue to rise in value each year, whereas the Ferrari 599 and Lamborghini Aventador will drop significantly once you purchase them. The true test is if you can live without the modern amenities included with the 599 and Aventador in order to enjoy this collectable relic?
If so, you get the TopSpeed seal of approval on this purchase. You simply can’t beat the price for the dollar and the fact that it will go nowhere but up in value from here.
Value will keep increasing
Powerful and fast
Can’t compete to modern supercars in terms of power
Outdated features (tape player)