The appearance of the new Bugatti Automobiles concept model, the Bolide, marks an important occasion for several reasons.
The first is easily apprehended—it’s the latest Bugatti, dream-fare for hoi-polloi auto writers, and ultimate four-wheeled status symbol for those who have enough cash to not be escorted from the dealership should they sneak in for a peek and a free spinach croissant. The second reason is this: Bugatti is making noises about retiring their W16 engine, which in less than two decades has become an industry legend.
The last reason is of course the fact that the newest Bugatti continues one of the more striking narratives of the century. The company that became an enfant terrible in the early 2000s is now entering young adulthood, and a look at the Bolide bears out the company’s evolving design sensibilities: the last few models have moved steadily nearer to track—as opposed to success trophy—and the Bolide is the most adventurous track-inspired, and track-oriented, design to yet appear from Molsheim.
The concept car’s looks push the envelope into futurism. The car weighs an astonishing 2,700 pounds, with abundant carbon fiber and titanium in the build.
The model’s power rating finds Bugatti closing in on 2,000 horsepower—this time around, the W16 can deliver over 1,824 HP at peak, with 1,364 pound-feet of torque generated and sent though the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox familiar to followers of the marque; it can hit 186 MPH in under 8 seconds, and reach a top speed somewhere above 310 MPH. The aero system tech peaks—in more ways than one—with that intake scoop, which Bugatti engineers have designed to change shape in order to tailor drag to speed.
Interesting stuff, all of it pointing to the possibility that the SCC Tuatara speed record set earlier this fall, should it be authentic, may not be long for this world. The amount of work Bugatti put into the Bolide indeed suggests it is seriously gauging interest for a production run. If that is the case, expect the numbers to be very, very limited.