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Bugatti Galibier ne Royale: the full scoop lowdown (2011)

By Tim Pollard and Georg Kacher (artist’s impression by Motor Forecast/R Varicak)

Spy shots

29 July 2009 14:53

CAR has uncovered more details on the new Bugatti super saloon, currently dubbed the Royale (although Atlantic is another possibility). It’s one of two Bugattis pencilled into the product development cycle between now and 2018 – and the supersaloon is set to replace the Veyron, which is nearing the end of its 300-strong limited production run.

The new Bugatti saloon is depicted in our artist’s impression, which is based closely on the teaser image that leaked out on a VIP invite to prospective owners. They are being shown the car at an exclusive event around the Frankfurt motor show 2009, although it is unlikely to go on sale until 2011 or beyond.

New Bugatti Royale: the lowdown

Bugatti’s new saloon will sport the Veyron’s W16, but mounted up front instead of amidships as in the 253mph sports coupé and roadster. Direct injection could figure this time, however, and the limo is tipped to be rear-wheel drive, making it the first modern Bug to eschew 4wd.

The sturdy Ricardo-developed seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox is also carried over on the new C21 Royale. The Veyron’s drivetrain has cost so much to develop, that the bean counters insist on reusing as much as possible rather than re-engineering everything.

How on earth do they make the Bugatti business model stack up?

Volkswagen AG chairman Martin Winterkorn reportedly told analysts in the past year that he would fund new Bugattis by using the company’s modular luxury car matrix. In principle, it mimics the platform sharing lower down the VW/Audi/Skoda/Seat foodchain – allowing multiple luxury models to be spun off a common engineering base.

That points to some engineering commonality between new Bugattis and future top-end Bentleys, including perhaps the new 2010 Arnage replacement. The Bugatti Royale will use a longer wheelbase than any related Bentley, however.

Is the new Royale the spiritual successor to the 1930s one?

You bet. Six production Royales were built between 1929-1933, powered by a 13-litre straight eight. Known formally as the Type 41, it’s one of the mostly highly regarded luxury cars of all time.

The new Bugatti Royale will be built to exact customer specification with fully coachbuilt options such as an XXL wheelbase, a full-length sunroof or a retro-look aerostyle body all feasible.

And one rumour doing the rounds suggests that the accountants have this time written off the up-front costs so that every new model wearing the trad horseshoe grille can – theoretically – turn a profit.

>> Silhouette image of Bugatti courtesy of Pistonheads