Bugatti’s Toying with the Idea of a New Model That Isn’t an SUV, Except It Could Pass Off as an SUV
Isn’t this just a case of semantics?by Kirby Garlitos, on
Bugatti’s desire to build up its lineup is one of the worst kept secrets in the auto industry. The French automaker wants to diversify its lineup with a model that will offer a completely different experience from the Chiron and all its derivatives. An SUV has been talked about so many times already, but it seems that Bugatti isn’t leaning in that direction, or at least that’s what it’s claiming.
Company boss Stephan Winkelmann recently talked to CAR Magazine and emphatically shot down rumors that Bugatti is considering developing an SUV. As far as what Bugatti is considering, let’s just say that even if it isn’t an SUV, it might actually be one anyway.
Bugatti operates on a different level than most automakers. That’s an established fact. Apparently, it also operates under different definitions of certain body types that are now prevalent in the business these days. See, when Bugatti CEO Stephan Winkelmann revealed to CAR Magazine that the company will not develop an SUV, he didn’t leave much room for interpretation. Sure, there are plans to expand the automaker’s lineup beyond the Chiron hypercar, but an SUV is out of the question, or at least that’s what Bugatti’s big boss wants us to believe.
Turns out, the model that Bugatti is considering is a high-riding, four-door vehicle.
Think about that for a second. What does a “high-riding, four-door vehicle” sound like? It sounds like an SUV, or, at the very least, a crossover, doesn’t it? CAR Magazine has a more straight-to-the-point description of the model-in-question, describing it as a “sporty crossover with a higher seating position than a saloon, with a body lower and less boxy than a traditional SUV.”
Ok, so we can establish that Bugatti doesn’t want to build a traditional SUV. We can throw out models like the BMW X7 and the Mercedes GLS Class as possible comparisons because they’re, more or less, considered as traditional-looking SUVs. You can even look at models like the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, Bentley Bentayga, and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan as unrelated models to what Bugatti’s cooking up.
If anything, the only SUV that’s in the market that could potentially fit Bugatti’s description of one is the Lamborghini Urus.
There’s no mistaking that the Urus is an SUV. Lamborghini calls it one and everybody who has seen it in person will tell you the same thing. But the Urus’ design, particularly its supercar-like profile, does stretch our imaginations on what a super-luxury, high-performance SUV could look like. Perhaps Bugatti’s design team is looking into building something similar because the Urus does look like a high-riding supercar.
There’s also a scenario where Bugatti’s just trying to throw us off the scent, especially now that rumors of a possible Bugatti SUV are all over the place. Maybe Bugatti wants to divert attention away from that rumor by shutting it down completely. After all, the kinds of descriptions we’ve received from these sources are descriptions that you can use to describe an SUV. Four doors? Check. High-riding? Yep. Even the phrase “sporty crossover” is a giveaway. Maybe Bugatti just doesn’t want to be bothered about it so it’s shutting down any whispers about a possible SUV, even if it’s building one. Stranger things have happened in this business.
On the flip side, there is also a world where Bugatti’s actually planning something completely out of left field.
After all, high-riding vehicles don’t necessarily have to be crossovers or SUVs. Sporty wagons also sit higher above the ground than most sedans and sports cars. The Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain, Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, and Audi Allroad are good examples of that. Then there’s the possibility of a coupe-crossover. The BMW X6 doesn’t fit the profile of a stand-up, boxy SUV anymore than I fit the profile of an NBA player. It has a coupe-like sloping roofline mixed in with the beefiness of a crossover.
I’m not saying that Bugatti’s plans for this new model will follow the parameters of the above examples, but given the information we know at this point, there’s a world of possibilities on what the French luxury car brand is planning for. Whatever it is, you can be sure that everyone’s going to talk about it once more concrete information becomes available.
In the meantime, Winkelmann added that this new model will be “the greatest, most expensive car in its sector.” That seems to indicate that the segment it’s going to occupy already exists. That’s another thing worth speculating about. Just don’t expect this model to as expensive or as extreme as the Chiron. Winkelmann also made that clear to CAR Magazine, saying that the automaker is planning to price this model at around $1 million. The goal at the moment is to have the model ready for primetime by 2023, and if everything works out according to plan, Bugatti wants an annual production of 800 units.
That last point is interesting, too.
The prospective volume of this new Bugatti is a lot higher than the Chiron, which Bugatti is limiting to around 500 units throughout its production run.
It’s the same strategy it employed with the Veyron where 500 units were built over a 10-year production run. This new Bugatti, though, will have a production volume of 800 units per year. That’s an interesting strategy on its own, especially coming from an automaker that’s known far and wide for touting exclusivity above all else.
|Bugatti Centodieci||Bugatti Chiron||Bugatti Divo||Bugatti La Voiture Noire|
|Engine||8.0-liter W-16||8.0-liter W-16||8.0-liter W-16||8.0-liter W-16|
|Horsepower||1,600 @ 7,000 RPM||1,479 Horsepower||1,479 Horsepower||1,479 Horsepower|
|Torque||1180 lb-ft (est)||1180 lb-ft||1180 lb-ft||1180 lb-ft|
|Transmission||Seven-Speed DCT||Seven-Speed DCT||Seven-Speed DCT||Seven-Speed DCT|
|0-62 MPH||2.4 Seconds||2.5 Seconds||2.3 Seconds||2.4 Seconds|
|0-124 MPH||6.1 Seconds||6.4 Seconds||6.5 Seconds||6.4 Seconds|
|0-186 mph||13.1 Seconds||13.6 Seconds||13.4 Seconds (est)||13.6 Seconds|
|Top Speed||236 MPH||261 MPH||236 MPH||260 MPH|
|Weight||4356 pounds||4,400 pounds||4,323 pounds||4,300 pounds|
Read our full speculative review on the 2022 Bugatti SUV.
Read our full review on the 2019 Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+.
Read our full review on the 2020 Bugatti Centodieci.
Read our full review on the 2019 Bugatti La Voiture Noire.
Read our full review on the 2018 Bugatti Chiron.
Source: CAR Magazine