Bugatti won't make a hybrid, but an EV remains on the table

Ronan Glon

Bugatti is in an exploratory phase as it seeks ways to expand its lineup during the 2020s. Adding a second model to its range is almost a given, and electrification is possible, but the company's chief executive revealed he doesn't believe hybrid technology is the right solution.

Speaking to Motor Authority, Bugatti boss Stephan Winkelmann said the internal combustion engine is "the right way to go" and "the real state-of-the-art powertrain." He backed up his argument by pointing out a gasoline-powered engine like the Chiron's W16 delivers limitless power and incredible acceleration without adding an excessive amount of weight or creating a packaging nightmare.

Launching a second nameplate positioned below the Chiron remains one of the CEO's priorities. While it sounds like the model won't receive hybrid technology, Winkelmann is open to the idea of releasing an electric car that will deliver zero-emissions performance. He outlined a battery-powered, 2+2 model with a relatively high seating position, and more ground clearance than a standard luxury sedan. Increasing the distance between the tarmac and the rocker panels doesn't necessarily mean releasing an SUV, however. Bugatti previously told Autoblog it is not planning on making an SUV. And, it's important to note a final decision on the model hasn't been made yet.

Winkelmann also closed the door to a modern-day interpretation of the gorgeous Galibier concept (pictured) unveiled in 2009 and often rumored to be a candidate for production. The close-to-production design study took the form of a four-door sedan with an evolution of the Veyron's 8.0-liter W16 engine mounted in front of the passenger compartment rather than behind it. The executive explained an updated version of the concept would compete in a segment that's "going down." He added Bugatti would need to make long- and short-wheelbase variants to cover the global market.

Bugatti has offered stately sedans in the past, so the heritage is certainly there, but one of the issues with making a long-wheelbase four-door is that it would undoubtedly attract chauffeur-driven motorists, notably in China. Winkelmann stated he believes Bugatti makes cars that should be driven, not ridden in. That's a strong hint that the second model — regardless of what it looks like, when it makes its debut or what it's powered by — will be engineered as a driver's car.

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