Is the Lamborghini Urus about to be dethroned?

Ever since it was brought back to life in the late 1980s, Bugatti has offered only one vehicle at the time. And between the EB110 and the Veyron, there was a 10-year hiatus when the French built only concept cars. This strategy will end soon, as Bugatti finally seems ready to add a second vehicle to its current portfolio, in the form of a luxury, performance-oriented SUV.

Rumors about Bugatti planning to add a second vehicle to the lineup have been flying around ever since the company unveiled the 16C Galibier concept in 2009. For many years, it was believed the Bugatti would finally build a sedan, mostly because the French have developed no fewer than three four-door concept cars since the early 1990s. However, while Bugatti CEO Stephan Winkelmann thinks that a modern version of the Royale limousine would be popular, an SUV makes more sense financially. With that in mind, we rendered what the upcoming Bugatti SUV might look like and gathered all the information we know so far into a speculative review.

Bugatti SUV Exterior

  • Chiron-inspired front end
  • Utilitarian, yet sporty profile
  • Multi-spoke wheels
  • C-shaped trim
  • Bigger grille
  • Two-tone paint option?
2018 Bugatti Chiron High Resolution Exterior
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Note: Bugatti Chiron pictured here.

Although there's no word as to how Bugatti designers will tackle the SUV, it makes sense for the French firm to take a lot of inspiration from the Chiron.

Not only the supercar is a modern evolution of the Veyron, which pretty much defines the Bugatti of the 21st century, but it also stands as a solid and recognizable design language.

So my bet is that the SUV’s front fascia will look very similar to the Chiron’s. Our rendering illustrates just that by taking all of the supercar’s iconic features and placing them in a more massive fascia. Of course, certain adjustments will have to be made.

For starters, the headlamps will be a bit bigger. Bugatti may retain the square LED lamps, but the lights won’t be as narrow as on the Chiron. This will prevent the SUV from having a frowning "face."

2018 Bugatti Chiron High Resolution Exterior
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Naturally, the SUV will sport the traditional horseshoe grille at the center, but this element will also grow taller and wider.

Due to the grille being tall enough to run all the way into the apron, the bumper layout will also look similar to the Chiron. As in Bugatti will have no other choice but to place two intakes on each side of the horseshoe radiator. But don’t expect this vents to be as aggressive. SUVs usually have taller, bulkier outlets, so Bugatti may adopt this design, even though it could split each opening in two with a horizontal bar, just like on the Chiron.

While SUVs usually don’t require a splitter, the performance-oriented nature of this crossover will prompt Bugatti to add one. Again, it won’t be as aggressive as on the Chiron, but it will make sure the SUV has the aerodynamics required to be faster than the norm. The hood will probably resemble the Chiron’s too, so expect a V-shaped element with a slightly raised center section.

Onto the sides, Bugatti will most likely adopt a standard SUV design with four doors, black fender flares, sturdy side skirts, quarter windows, and obviously a higher suspension setup. However, the French designers will probably go with a coupe-style roofline to better express the sportiness of the modern Bugatti marque.

2018 Bugatti Chiron High Resolution Exterior
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As seen in our rendering, Bugatti might also use the C-shaped trim that surrounds the windows and the door on the Chiron.

It starts off from the bottom of the A-pillar, moves up around the windows and then descends behind the door and runs just above the side skirt until it meets the bottom of the front wheel arch. It should have the same path on the SUV, but around the rear doors and the quarter window too. Of course, due to the configuration of an SUV, it will no longer have a perfect C shape. On the other hand, it might look really cool if Bugatti places the lower edge higher above the side skirt.

It around back where Bugatti might drop the familiar Chiron design. Not because it’s impossible to create an SUV with extremely thin and wide taillights, but I think the French might opt for a more traditional look with two-piece lights that run into the tailgate. The rear end should be sportier though, with a sloping tailgate, a narrow rear window, and a diffuser-like element in the bumper. Naturally, the aero device will be flanked by two exhaust pipes on each side.

Bugatti SUV Interior

  • Redesigned on a clean sheet
  • Tech and apps form the Chiron
  • Sporty seats
  • The latest luxury features
  • Endless options
2018 Bugatti Chiron High Resolution Interior
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Well, this is where Bugatti will have to redesign everything from a clean sheet. As much as I like the Chiron’s aerospace-inspired cockpit, it’s almost impossible to transfer it into an SUV. But this doesn’t mean that the hauler won’t be as good looking and luxurious. Bugatti has all the resources it needs to deliver a world-beating cabin, even when going against Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and Lamborghini.

It’s tough to say how Bugatti’s first-ever SUV will look on the inside, but my money goes on a streamlines dashboard instead of the sturdy instrument panel seen in most SUVs.

There will be a massive, fully digital instrument cluster behind the steering and, unlike the Chiron, the SUV will also get a large display on the center stack.

Bugatti will probably borrow the tech and the apps for the infotainment system from parent company Volkswagen. I wouldn’t be surprised if it shared most of it with the Bentley Bentayga.

2018 Bugatti Chiron High Resolution Interior
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Due to its performance-oriented design, the SUV will most definitely have sports seats for the driver and the front passenger.

Actually, "sports" could be an understatement, as Bugatti might go wild and use race-spec units with integrated headrests. Although they will be wrapped in leather or Alcantara, or a combination of both, they should be made from carbon-fiber underneath.

The rear seats might not be this radical, but they will definitely provide sports car-like support. Just in case you take your friends for a ride on the Nurburgring track. Like any sports vehicle, it will have a flat-bottom steering wheel with Alcantara grips and buttons on the left and right spokes.

Since it will be more spacious than the Chiron, expect the SUV to offer more room in the door panel pockets and a few cup holders on the center console. Cup holders in a Bugatti? Welcome to the 21st century, baby!

2018 Bugatti Chiron Interior High Resolution
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Speaking of convenience, a state-of-the-art entertainment system will keep rear-occupants busy during long trips. Look for massive screens mounted in the front back seats, a premium audio system with matching headphones, WiFi, wireless charging, and everything you need to use laptops and tablets. The cooled glove box at the front could be backed by a mini fridge in the rear compartment. You can’t let that expensive champagne get warm!

Of course, no Bugatti is complete without expensive materials, so expect the SUV to be just as rich as the Chiron in this department.

Every surface that’s not aluminum or carbon-fiber will be wrapped in leather or Alcantara, but it should also feature genuine wood trim, colored carbon, and polished metals. An expensive clock on the dash and some details made with diamonds should round off the luxury offerings. Let’s face it, you can’t compete against Rolls-Royce and Bentley without a clock and jewelry.

Just like it does with the Chiron, Bugatti should offer the SUV with an endless choice of optional luxury features. Every inch of leather will be customizable, no matter whether it’s on the dashboard, the seats, or the door panels. Does your family have a crest? Do you like a certain animal? Are you celebrating the Chinese year of the dog? Well, you can have any of these stitched, embossed or sculpted just about anywhere in the vehicle.

As Mel Brooks used to say, it’s good to be the King!

Bugatti SUV Drivetrain

  • 6.0-liter W-12 from Bentley?
  • Hybrid drivetrain possible
  • Among the fastest SUVs
  • Not as quick as the Chiron
2018 Bugatti Chiron High Resolution Exterior
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Now I know what you’re thinking.

An SUV with the Chiron's quad-turbo, 8.0-liter W-16 engine would be downright wild.

Especially if it cranks out around 1,000 horsepower. Not only it would make it the most powerful factory SUV ever, but it should also be the quickest and boast the highest top speed. But as cool as that may sound, it’s not going to happen.

Before you slam Bugatti for not wanting to create a monster of an SUV, consider that the French aren’t able to do it for two reasons. First up, the Chiron is a mid-engined car. Taking a massive W-16 from a mid-ship supercar and dropping it between the front wheels of an SUV is more difficult than it sounds. It might not be impossible, but the R&D costs to develop the SUV around that massive mill are likely too big, even for Bugatti and the Volkswagen Group.

Second, while the W-16 is an engineering marvel, it’s not sustainable in a vehicle that’s bound to be more accessible and popular than a very expensive supercar. Bugatti also needs to cut down on CO2 emissions and improve its fuel economy ratings with new environmental restrictions underway. The French firm is well aware of that and Stephan Winkelmann himself said that the SUV could have a hybrid drivetrain.

2018 Bugatti Chiron High Resolution Interior
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But with no official confirmation as of yet, the only thing we can be sure about is that the SUV won’t feature the Chiron’s engine.

Motivation will come from either a smaller gasoline engine or a hybrid.

It could also have both. So what are Bugatti’s options here?

Obviously, it will most likely source any of the above from the Volkswagen Group. For the high-power gas version Bugatti will probably borrow the recently introduced 6.0-liter W-12 from Audi and Bentley. The British firm uses it in the range-topping Bentayga, in which it generates a solid 600 horsepower and 660 pound-feet of torque. Is that enough for a world-beating SUV? It definitely is, but knowing Bugatti, it will probably want a bit more oomph for its hauler. This should be a problem though, as the W-12 can be upgraded to deliver more than that.

I'd say that a 700-horsepower is definitely doable and more than enough to put Bugatti's SUV atop the Bentayga.

This output would also make it more powerful than the Lamborghini Urus, which currently holds the title for the most powerful production SUV at 641 horsepower. It’s worth noting that the twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 in the Urus is also shared with other vehicles built by the Volkswagen Group, so it wouldn’t be completely out of this world to see the same mill in the Bugatti SUV. But the 6.0-liter W-12 sounds like a better option given the company’s range-topping position among its siblings.

2022 Bugatti SUV Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop Exclusive Renderings
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Needless to say, the SUV won’t be as fast as the Chiron with this drivetrain, but Bugatti will probably make an effort to make it the fastest of its kind. This title currently goes to the Lamborghini Urus at 190 mph, while the Bentley Bentayga follows behind with 187 mph.

Could Bugatti build the first SUV to hit the 200 mph mark?

But what about hybrid power? Well, again, Bugatti has two options, both shared with products under the Volkswagen Group umbrella. The first drivetrain that makes sense is the 3.0-liter V-6 and electric motor combo in the Bentley Bentayga. Shared with the Porsche Panamera and Cayenne, this hybrid PHEV cranks out 456 horsepower and 520 pound-feet of torque combined. The all-electric range isn’t all that great at around 31 miles, but the thought of a Bugatti being able to run on electricity alone is pretty exotic.

The SUV could feature the V-8-powered hybrid drivetrain from the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid

But this isn’t the most powerful hybrid drivetrain the Volkswagen Group has. The Turbo S E-Hybrid versions of the Porsche Panamera and Cayenne are far more extreme. Pairing a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 rated at 550 horsepower and an electric motor that delivers 136 horses, the combo produces an amazing 680 horsepower and 626 pound-feet. Now this is the kind of output a hybrid SUV from Bugatti should have. Of course, Bugatti engineers could squeeze a bit more oomph so don’t be surprised if this SUV becomes the most powerful production vehicle with a hybrid setup.

It remains to be seen whether Bugatti will feature gasoline or hybrid powerplants or both, but it’s pretty certain that it will be plenty powerful and amazingly fast.

Bugatti SUV Prices

2022 Bugatti SUV Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop Exclusive Renderings
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Granted, the SUV won’t be as expensive as the Chiron, but it won’t be affordable either. There are three notable SUVs in this niche, and all cost at least $200,000. While the Lambo Urus and Bentley Bentayga start from exactly $200K, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan comes in at a massive $325,000. It’s a bit too early to talk now, but given Bugatti’s ambitions on the market and the massive amount of luxury features this SUV will have, I’m expecting it to compete with the Cullinan, if not cost even more, closer to the $400,000 mark. Ouch!

Bugatti SUV Competition

Bentley Bentayga

2017 Bentley Bentayga High Resolution Exterior
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The Bentayga is the vehicle that started this ultra-luxury trend that tops premium offerings from BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz. Launched for the 2017 model year, it’s Bentley’s first foray into the SUV market. Covered in rich materials, the interior is class-leading with amenities expected in such a vehicle. It shares design features with other Bentley models, taking most exterior cues from the Continental. As a result, the Bentayga has a sporty, muscular stance. Motivation comes from a 6.0-liter W-12 engine rated at 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque in the range-topping model. Capable of hitting 60 mph in four seconds and a top speed of 187 mph, the Bentayga is among the quickest and fastest SUVs in the world. Bentley offers three more drivetrains with this hauler, including a 4.0-liter V-8 rated at 540 horsepower and 570 pound-feet and a 4.0-liter V-8 diesel that generates 429 horses and 664 pound-feet. A hybrid was also introduced in 2018. The combo brings together an electric motor and a 3.0-liter V-6 and cranks out 456 horsepower and 520 pound-feet of twist. Pricing for the Bentayga starts at around $200,000.

Read our full story on the 2018 Bentley Bentayga.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan

2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Exterior
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Just like Bentley, Rolls-Royce decided to take advantage of the growing SUV market and build an ultra-luxury hauler. Not surprisingly, it’s also based on existing products, so it pretty much looks like a wagon version of the Phantom on stilts. Far from sporty, the Cullinan is among the very few SUVs that boasts a boxy appearance. The other one is the G-Class, but the Cullian stands out through a more massive presence. The sturdy look continues inside the cabin, but the Cullinan is packed with luxury features. It has water resistant leather, a drinks cabinet, genuine wood trim, and the company’s latest technology. You can order it with either four or five seats. Under the hood, a new 6.75-liter V-12 sends 563 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. It’s the first Rolls-Royce with all-wheel drive and four-wheel steering. It’s also the most expensive of the bunch, coming in at $325,000 before options.

Read our full review of the 2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

Lamborghini Urus

2019 Lamborghini Urus Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Lamborghini Urus isn’t exactly a super-luxury SUV, but it’s a solid competitor to the upcoming Bugatti SUV on the performance front. While it might not have whiskey glasses and a picnic table, it’s just as capable off the beaten path and you can actually take to the track thanks to its powerful drivetrain and performance-tuned chassis. The Urus draws juice from a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 engine that sends a whopping 650 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. The sprint to 62 mph takes only 3.6 seconds, while top speed is rated at 190 mph, making the Urus the fastest SUV on the market as of 2018. Pricing for this modern Rambo Lambo starts from $200,000, which puts it on par with the Bentley Bentayga.

Read our full review on the 2019 Lamborghini Urus.

Other Performance/Luxury SUVs in the Rumor Mill

2020 Ferrari Purosangue Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Bugatti isn’t the only company looking to join the SUV market. Ferrari is likely to do the same in a couple of years. Rumored to sport the "Purosangue" badge, the Ferrari SUV will be of the Urus variety. Not so much luxurious as powerful, fast, and agile. Many link its exterior design to the GTC4Lusso, but that’s still up for debate. Maranello’s SUV should arrive with at least 650 horsepower on tap and a sticker in excess of $250,000.

Having recently stepped into electric car territory, Koenigsegg is likely to jump on the SUV bandwagon too. If it does, expect an aggressive looking, highly aerodynamic crossover with a twin-turbo V-8 engine under the hood. Granted, it won’t be as powerful as the company’s Megawatt supercar, but it will boasts at least 600 horsepower. An all-electric version is also likely. Production will be strictly limited, which means an SUV could cost around $500,000 before options.

McLaren has stated many times that it won’t build an SUV in order to remain true to its sports and race car heritage. However, with the SUV market becoming increasingly more popular and profitable, the British firm could cave in at some point. If this happens, McLaren will probably deliver one of the sportiest and most aerodynamic SUVs on the market. The recently launched 4.0-liter V-8 cranks out in excess of 700 horsepower on its own and up to 1,000 horses when paired with an electric motor, so performance won’t be an issue.

Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Ferrari Purosangue.

Conclusion

2022 Bugatti SUV Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop Exclusive Renderings
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Ultra-luxury, ultra-expensive SUVs exist simply because there are plenty of rich people willing to pay for an ugly hauler referred to as sporty through fancy PR. Bugatti is well aware of that. I mean seriously now, look at how ugly and heavy the potato on wheels they call Veyron was and how much success it had with a sticker beyond the $1-million mark. The Bugatti SUV will probably have even more success, and this will prompt other performance automakers to join this niche. But while this is annoying to guys like me who don’t fancy SUVs, there is some good news in it. A popular, very expensive SUV will create the necessary financial background for a more ludicrous hypercar. Maybe one that will exceed 300 mph.

  • Leave it
    • Not yet confirmed
    • Expensive as hell
    • Somewhat ugly

Further Reading

2018 Bugatti Chiron High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Bugatti Chiron.

The Buggati Chiron Sport Weighs Less, Gets Carbon Fiber Wipers and a New Exhaust Layout; Costs an Extra $1 Million Exterior
- image 772079

Read our full review on the 2018 Bugatti Chiron Sport.

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