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First Look: Bugatti 16C Galibier

Missing in action at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

by on Sep.14, 2009

Missing in action at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, nonetheless, there's plenty of talk about the Bugatti 16C Galibier, which could be the French maker's next supercar.

Missing in action at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, nonetheless, there's plenty of talk about the Bugatti 16C Galibier, which could be the French maker's next supercar.

One of the most talked-about products at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show actually won’t make an appearance at the sprawling Frankfurt Messe convention center.

That’s because the Bugatti 16C Galibier is at the company’s headquarters, in Molsheim, where it’s been shown, the last few days to fans of the legendary French brand – along with a number of those affluent folks who can afford to own one of Bugatti’s $1.4 million Veyron supercar.

Bugatti, the top-line marque of the Volkswagen Group, is just winding down production of the Veyron and looking for a possible replacement, explained Marketing Director Alasdair Stewart, in an interview with TheDetroitBureau.com.  It’s “one of two or three” serious alternatives, though the Galibier appears to be the most likely direction Bugatti would take – if it gets a thumbs-up from the folks most likely to buy one, according to Stewart.

The overall shape is clearly reminiscent of the Veyron, but the new 16C boasts an extra set of doors and a usable rear seat, noted Stewart, “which would make it a little more functional.”

The new car would also be produced in both right- and left-hand-drive configurations, said Stewart, “which would open up new markets to us.”  Nonetheless, Bugatti would retain its emphasis on exclusivity; as with Veyron, the company would produce no more than about 300 copies of the 4-door supercar, each going for about $1.5 million.

And lest Bugatti fans lament the idea that the brand is moving away from its high-performance roots, the marketing executive noted that, as conceived, the Galibier would maintain the Veyron’s W-16 engine, though it would switch from a turbocharger to a supercharger.  While no specifics are being released, a production Galibier would retain the all-wheel-drive configuration and, most likely, still yield something on the order of 1000 horsepower.

But it would also be able to run on ethanol, noted Stewart, stressing that like its sister division, Bentley, which is also adding a flex-fuel powertrain, “We are trying to do our part” in a world where even luxury buyers want their cars to be a little greener.  The executive admitted Bugatti is “a little worried” about increasingly stringent emissions and fuel economy regulations, which would be particular tough on high-performance, low-mileage brands, like Bugatti.

Bugatti has effectively wrapped up production of the Veyron and is now rolling out the convertible Pur Sang, or “pure blood.”  It would like to have a new model, whether the Galibier 4-door, or some other design, in production by early in the coming decade.First Look: Bugatti 16C Galibier