Bugatti Is Making the Bolide Hypercar Concept a Reality
(Bloomberg) -- On Friday, at the elite Quail motorsports gathering in Carmel, Calif., Bugatti collectors got their wish: The Bolide is now a reality.
First unveiled in October 2020 as an “experimental” hypercar concept, the 1,824-horsepower Bolide boasts an eight-liter W16 engine, a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive. It can reach 62 mph in 2.17 seconds, according to the French manufacturer.
“Following its presentation, a significant number of enthusiasts and collectors asked us to develop the experimental Bolide as a production vehicle,” Bugatti President Stephan Winkelmann said in an Aug. 13 announcement. “We therefore decided to make the Bolide a few-off in order to give 40 customers the opportunity to experience this incredible vehicle.” Each will cost €4 million ($4.69 million).
A 3,196-pound lightweight, the name comes from the term le bolide, which means “the race car” in French. Indeed, the Bolide produced for consumers will not be legal for driving anywhere but on a track.
Bugatti engineers are working to conform the experimental concept car to Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) safety standards, which includes honing aerodynamics and handling and introducing an array of new components such as a six-point safety seatbelt, an automatic fire-extinguishing system, pressure refueling with a fuel bladder, and central wheel locking.
The front end is aerodynamically similar to that of a Formula 1 car, says Bugatti, while the visually striking rear diffuser and a dominant rear wing produce high downforce for optimum traction. The car sits very low to the ground, with a large air intake scoop on the roof and an ultra-sporty seat position. The two-tone paint job will come standard.
The Bolide news arrives amid big changes at the 112-year-old marque, based in Molsheim, France. On July 5, Porsche and Rimac Automobil announced a plan to fold Bugatti into a joint venture called Bugatti-Rimac. The deal stipulates that Rimac will hold 55% of the venture while Porsche will hold 45%. In March, Porsche had lifted its stake in Rimac to 24%.
The reorganization—and, now, the introduction of a new big-cylinder, gasoline guzzling vehicle—is seen as evidence that Bugatti in its current form lacks a vital role at parent company Volkswagen AG. VW’s business strategy relies on its ability to produce and sell electric vehicles: In June, VW announced it would halt sales of combustion engine vehicles in Europe by 2035. And while such VW brands as Porsche will offer a potential 30% electric mix by 2022-3—and as much as 40% by 2025—Bugatti has no such lineup on the horizon.
At the time of the announcement, Rimac founder Mate Rimac characterized the acquisition as “removing some distractions” from VW AG, saying Bugatti will become like an expensive mechanical timepiece—a beautiful, if irrelevant, status symbol. The 33-year-old Croat will become the CEO of the joint venture company, Bugatti-Rimac, in the fourth quarter of this year.
Deliveries will begin in 2024.
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