The Bugatti 16 C Galibier concept car design has been patented at the World Intellectual Property Organization.
However, the patent is for the concept car, suggesting that the move is merely to protect the design from being copied, rather than an indication that the car has been given the go-ahead.
Bugatti’s sales director Alisdair Stewart told Autocar at the concept's launch that the decision to put the Galibier into production would be taken by spring next year after the concept car has toured the world to be put in front of prospective customers. If it does see the light of day, he expects up to 300 to be made at the company’s Molsheim HQ from 2013, costing around £900,000.
Officially the Galibier has been designed to gauge customer reaction to a four door, four seat Bugatti, but insiders are keen to make it once Veyron production ends in 2012.
"This is what the Bugatti team wants to do now we have to convince customers and the [VW] group to make it," company boss Franz-Josef Paefgen told Autocar.
The company is staying tight-lipped about technical details. But technical boss Wolfgang Schreiber admitted that he wanted the production Galibier to "be the world’s fastest, highest accelerating and powerful four-door" and hinted that maximum power would end up at around 800bhp.
The Galibier is four-wheel drive and power comes from the same W16 engine as the Veyron, albeit with twin mechanical superchargers, rather than the four-turbochargers of the mid-engined Sportscar.