Bugatti has been going back and forth regarding the launch of an SUV, and the latest info, coming from CEO Stephan Winkelmann himself, isn’t that enlightening as to whether or not they’re going to make it.
In a sit-down with AutomobileMag, Winkelmann confirmed that the design of the SUV is complete. However, the board of management has yet to approve it, despite receiving positive feedback from potential customers.
“The design is done”, said Winkelmann when asked about the fast SUV. “Some potential customers have seen it, and they liked it. One or two influential people in Wolfsburg were complimentary about it. But at this point, there is no budget and no decision.”
So, why did they choose to go down the crossover lane instead of, say, a super saloon or a hypercar with an electrified powertrain? “Because crossovers are in strong demand. So far, nobody is doing a high-performance, high-end luxury CUV. Because of the battery situation, it’s too early for an electric hypercar”, Winkelmann explained.
“Having said that, the more generously packaged CUV would almost certainly be battery-powered. With the Galibier Concept, Bugatti has in 2011 demonstrated that a super luxury sedan is compatible with our portfolio. But time has moved on, and I’m skeptical that a sedan can generate enough volume in today’s commercial environment. After all, we’re not talking 100 cars a year here, but 600 to 800.”
The SUV isn’t the only big news from Bugatti, who might also decide to build a meaner version of the Chiron to crack the 500 km/h (311 mph) barrier.
In spite of previously denying a top speed run or the development of the rumored Chiron SS (SuperSport), Winkelmann admitted that “it is still a possibility”. However, “there are quite a few ifs involved, like if someone is willing to supply suitable tires, or if the return on investment meets the target.” They won’t turn to electricity for the extra power, though, at least not now.
What the future holds for the Chiron is still unknown, but some sort of evolution is being planned. Bugatti’s CEO left the door open for a number of options, including more power, less weight and new body styles. The only thing that’s certain is that it will stay with us for quite some time, as “we may stretch that cycle via an interim update”.
A drop top version isn’t being ruled out either, although “if the roof must come off, this can only be done properly, with a reengineered and much stiffer monocoque”, said the exec. “So, let’s wait and see.”