• Ettore Bugatti Is Probably Flopping in His Grave Over The News About a Bugatti SUV

An electric SUV would probably work if Bugatti develops it the right way

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Bugatti, the purveyor of one of the world’s most extreme performance cars, has reportedly gotten weak in the knees at the prospect of doubling its entire model lineup, increasing its portfolio from one vehicle to two. As if having the mind-boggling Chiron hypercar in the fold isn’t enough, Bugatti is setting its sights on developing, of all things, an SUV. Mind you, it’s not just a regular SUV that Bugatti is starry-eyed about; the French automaker wants an electric SUV to form a formidable one-two punch with the Chiron. No word yet on whether this plan has any legs to it, but it seems that the people within the company are already working on laying the groundwork for its development. Somewhere, wherever he is, Ettore Bugatti must be scratching his chin wondering what an electric SUV would do to the status of his marquee.

An Electric Bugatti SUV?

2010 Bugatti 16 C Galibier
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Even after automakers like Lamborghini, Bentley, and Rolls Royce jumped on the SUV bandwagon, even after Ferrari announced plans to develop its own SUV, even after all that, the mere thought of Bugatti joining the craze sounded ridiculous. And yet, here we are.

The French automaker, which is known for building exotic cars and nothing but exotic cars, is reportedly working on an SUV. I’d like to say that the world is coming to an end, but that wouldn’t be accurate. But it is a seismic revelation, especially when you consider the automaker’s past aversion to building anything that isn’t a performance car. That is, after all, one of the reasons why the Galibier never amounted to anything. But where the supposed luxury saloon failed, the electric SUV is expected to make that breakthrough, in no small part due to Bugatti CEO Stephan Winkelman’s goal of adding another model to join the Chiron in the Bugatti lineup. It’s unclear if Winkelmann has thrown his full weight behind the development of an electric SUV, though if he has, it would be a stunning reversal from his comments earlier this year when he emphatically shut down the prospect of a Bugatti SUV, saying that “it would not do justice to the brand or its history.”

2020 Bugatti Galibier High Resolution Exterior
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Obviously, a lot can change in the course of a few days or weeks in the auto industry, let alone the seven months from the time he made that comment in an article published on the official Bugatti website. Perhaps Winkelmann has changed or perhaps he still holds the same position but was overruled by the folks that run the Volkswagen Group, Bugatti’s mothership. Either way, a Bugatti SUV is reportedly in the works, and in the event that it does get the green light, it could arrive with an all-electric setup in place.

This is where it gets interesting because the report from AutomobileMag suggested that if Bugatti proceeds with the development of an all-electric SUV, it’s not going to do it alone. Not only will it have the full might of the Volkswagen Group at its disposal — there are whispers that Bugatti would utilize a new hypercar platform for its SUV, one that will be shared across different models, including a future Lamborghini and the Porsche 918 Spyder successor — but it could also bring in outside help to get the project going. One company that was mentioned was EDAG, a renowned automotive research and development firm that has dabbled in concept car production in the past, most recently in 2015 with the launch of the EDAG Light Cocoon. In addition to the German outfit, Bugatti could also tap Magna Steyr to handle the production of its all-electric SUV. If this happens, the all-electric Bugatti SUV would join the Mercedes G-Class, BMW 5 Series, Jaguar E-Pace, Jaguar I-Pace, BMW Z4, and Toyota Supra as models that the company is building in its sprawling production facility in Graz, Austria.

Rimac Tech Could Meet Bugatti Design

2020 Bugatti Galibier Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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It seems, given the rumored lay of the land, that the key to unlocking Bugatti’s plan for a three-door crossover not only rests on the support of the VW mothership but, just as important, on the partnerships and collaborations the French boutique can strike with outside firms to develop the model. EDAG and Magna Steyr were mentioned, but the report also brought up none other than Rimac, the Croatian automaker that’s responsible for the two of the most extreme hypercars in the world, the Concept_One and the C_Two.

Now, this sounds like a pipe dream to a lot of people, but the report mentioned that not only is it possible, but Bugatti has already reached out to Rimac to discuss the framework of developing a suitable EV drivetrain. It’s unclear if Bugatti plans to use said drivetrain on its rumored three-door crossover, but you can connect the dots and you’ll likely arrive at the same conclusion. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, right? Besides, the conversation doesn’t appear to be completely one-sided; Rimac has reportedly conveyed its willingness to sell its 1,850-horsepower C002 rolling chassis — the same chassis it uses on the C_Two hypercar — complete with all the control electronics and batteries.

Ettore Bugatti Is Probably Flopping in His Grave Over The News About a Bugatti SUV
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For what it’s worth, a Bugatti-Rimac partnership could melt the auto industry to its core. We’re not talking about just two automakers here; we’re talking about two supercar brands that have reached the pinnacle of their respective segments. These two brands have established themselves in ways very few of their peers have been able to do. Granted, both have done it in dramatically different ways, but they nevertheless occupy the same stratosphere. If Rimac gets involved in the development of Bugatti’s rumored three-row crossover, then all bets are off. Completely.

Rimac C_Two Specs

Power 1,408 kW (1,914 hp)
Motor torque 2,300 Nm
Wheel torque 1st gear 17,047 Nm
Wheel torque 2nd gear 8,227 Nm
0-60 mph 1.85 s
0-100 km/h 1.97 s
Top speed 412 km/h (258 mph)
Range 550 km WLTP (342 miles)

Final Thoughts

Ettore Bugatti Is Probably Flopping in His Grave Over The News About a Bugatti SUV Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Obviously, all of these remain matters of speculation. Until Bugatti officially confirms plans to build a crossover, it’s probably best to take it with these rumors with a grain of salt. But don’t let that douse your excitement, too. If it does happen, Bugatti is reportedly planning to sell just 600 units of the model with each unit priced between $850,000 to $1 million depending on the specification. Give these rumors time to incubate and see where it goes. That’s the best way to approach this. But it is an exciting proposition, isn’t it?

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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