► Latest on Bugatti's CUV crossover
► 'It won't be an SUV' vows chief
► But taller cross-coupe is on cards
Bugatti's SUV project is gathering momentum and boss Stephan Winkelmann has fleshed out a few more details on the new, taller kind of Bug to broaden the brand's wafer-thin sports car range.
CAR magazine asked the Bugatti president whether there was still a market for hyper-expensive luxury limousines. 'There is, but most customers for these kinds of cars, especially women, want to sit high so they can see out,' he told us. In separate interviews at the Frankfurt motor show, Winkelmann revealed that the new model would likely be a four-seat model with the capability for some off-road driving.
All the signs are pointing to a higher-riding, crossover-influenced sports car as its second model range - but it won't be a traditional SUV, Winkelmann vows.
Our artist's impressions, by Andrei Avarvarii (gallery at top of the page), depicts how a Bugatti CUV (coupe utility vehicle) could look. It's virgin white space, as the brand has never before built a 4x4. The design team, led by Etienne Salomé, is working hard to retain the Chiron and Veyron's distinctive styling DNA and translating it to new bodystyles to sate the world's wealthiest car buyers and collectors' appetite for the ultimate four-wheeled transport.
Bugatti's dilemma: a luxury limo or a sporty SUV
CAR magazine has already reported on a separate plan for a new Royale electric limousine based on the group's EV hardware from the Porsche Taycan, but Molsheim is now favouring a taller, more family-friendly Bugatti.
Revealed: earlier proposals for a new Bugatti Royale (below)
Winkelmann kicked off the Urus SUV project while at Lamborghini, but he’s on record stating ‘there will be no SUV from Bugatti’. Fair enough – but that doesn’t rule out a sporty crossover with a higher seating position than a saloon, with a body lower and less boxy than a traditional SUV.
The Bugatti president has floated a price tag of around $1 million (£800,000) and admitted he would consider a hybrid drivetrain for the new additional model range. He also ruled out an electric version of the Chiron, declaring that there was 'still a lot of time for internal-combustion engines.'
The best electric cars on sale today
Bugatti SUV: the sportiest crossover yet?
The idea is for a sexy, two-door crossover, more compact than the Urus (below) and, crucially, much lighter. It will share some componentry with the big Lambo, including the 641bhp V8, but with some serious hybridisation to take output close to four figures.
'The new car will be the greatest, most expensive car in its sector,' said Winkelmann. 'But it won't be the most expensive or extreme Bugatti. The Chiron will always be on top.'
As a result the as-yet-unnamed Bugatti crossover should eclipse even the Urus’s extraordinary performance, which bludgeons 0-62mph in 3.6sec and v-maxes at 191mph.
Bugatti may need to tap the group’s factory network to assemble the model, tipped for up to 800 units annually from 2023, although he is believed to be keen to have some degree of completion at Molsheim, the company's spiritual French home. It’s a long way from a single 16-cylinder hypercar and an obsession with top speed.
Driven: Bugatti Chiron review