On Friday, at the elite Quail motorsports gathering in Carmel, California, 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 has an eight-litre W16 engine, a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. It can reach 100 kilometres per hour in 2.17 seconds, the French manufacturer said.
“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.
“We therefore decided to make the Bolide a few-off in order to give 40 customers the opportunity to experience this incredible vehicle.”
Each one will cost €4 million ($4.69m).
A 1,450-kilogramme lightweight vehicle, the name comes from the term "le bolide", which means “the race car” in French. 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 Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) safety standards, including honing aerodynamics and handling and introducing an array of new components such as a six-point seat belt, an automatic fire-extinguishing system, pressure refuelling with a fuel bladder, and central wheel locking.
The front end is aerodynamically similar to that of a Formula One car, Bugatti said, 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 per cent of the venture, while Porsche will hold 45 per cent. In March, Porsche had lifted its stake in Rimac to 24 per cent.
The reorganisation – and now the introduction of a new big-cylinder, petrol-guzzling vehicle – is considered evidence that Bugatti in its current form lacks a vital role at parent company Volkswagen.
VW’s business strategy relies on its ability to produce and sell electric vehicles. In June, it announced it would halt sales of combustion engine vehicles in Europe by 2035.
And while VW brands such as Porsche will offer a potential 30 per cent electric mix by 2022-2023, and as much as 40 per cent by 2025, Bugatti has no such line-up on the horizon.
At the time of the announcement, Rimac founder Mate Rimac said the acquisition was “removing some distractions” from VW, saying Bugatti would become like an expensive mechanical timepiece – a beautiful, if irrelevant, status symbol.
Mr Rimac, 33, will become the chief executive of the joint venture company, Bugatti-Rimac, in the fourth quarter of this year.