The man in charge of Bugatti, Stephan Winkelmann, is no stranger to speed. He ran Lamborghini in his last role, and now the cars are more powerful. The man knows about horsepower, and he has plans for Bugatti.
While his former company begins to work electrification into its lineup with supercapacitors and hybrids, Winkelmann doesn’t see the need for hybrids at Bugatti. The internal combustion engine is the “right way to go for us,” he told Motor Authority.
“The combustion engine is the real state-of-the-art powertrain,” Winkelmann said. The reason? Power is limitless, the acceleration is incredible, and adding electrification also adds weight. It could also require a longer wheelbase, he said, when speaking of electrifying the current Chiron.
However, Winkelmann noted that the automaker takes social responsibility seriously. To offset the CO2 emissions from its Chiron hypercar, offices, and factories, the team is working on a reforestation project with French officials to plant more than 4,000 trees. That’s today, and the effort will continue with other measures going forward.
Bugatti has achieved big things with the internal combustion engine. In September, the brand’s quad-turbocharged 8.0-liter W-16 helped a Chiron prototype become the first production car to break the 300-mph barrier. While Bugatti claims the car could’ve gone faster than the recorded 304.773 mph, Winkelmann says Bugatti is done with top-speed records for at least as long as he’s in charge. Breaking the 300-mph barrier was a feat of engineering for Bugatti, a “technological demonstration.” Past that, there’s no real engineering change that takes place by going 330 or 340 mph, Winkelmann said.
That’s not to say Bugatti isn’t looking to the future.
Bugatti Veyron and Galibier 16C concept
Bugatti is an automaker with a single product: the Chiron. That could soon change. Winkelmann said it might be time for a second model line as “Bugatti can do much more than just one car or one model.”
Somewhat ironically, that will likely be an electric vehicle.
While Winkelmann will consult with the company’s board of directors to decide what the second Bugatti model line will be, he noted that he envisions an all-electric 2+2 four-seater with a higher seating position and more ground clearance than a sedan.
Notably, Winkelmann said this all-electric 2+2 would not be an SUV. Rather, he sees it as an all-weather vehicle.
For those who loved 2009’s Bugatti Galibier concept, Winkelmann said that car is not happening. The Galibier was a four-seat “limousine” (actually, a hatchback/sedan) with the brand’s familiar 8.0-liter W-16 engine. It was stunning, but Winkelmann noted the sedan segment is “going down.” To make a sedan, Bugatti would have to create a long wheelbase version for the North American and Asian markets and a short wheelbase for Europe. This doesn’t jibe with Winkelmann’s view that Bugattis are meant to be driven, not driven in.