The next-generation Bugatti Chiron – still at least seven years from production – will have to be electrified to enhance its performance beyond the current car’s record-breaking capabilities, CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer said.
The Chiron can reach 62mph in less than 2.5sec, despite weighing 1995kg, and has a top speed of 261mph. At its heart is a quad-turbocharged 8.0-litre W16 configured petrol engine that develops 1479bhp at 6750rpm, giving the Chiron a power-to-weight ratio of 741bhp per tonne. Torque peaks at 1179lb ft from 2000rpm.
“Electrification will happen,” said Dürheimer. “The next car is a long way from being developed, but the way battery and electric motor technology is moving on – as well as regulations – it seems certain that the next car will be electrified in some way. It will still be too soon for a full electric car, I think – but electrification will happen.”
As such, Dürheimer has also declared that there “will probably never be a car with the pure mechanical capabilities of the Chiron” – and, as a result, he is considering buying one. “The fact is that it may never be beaten in pure mechanical terms makes it incredibly desirable,” he said.
In 2016, Dürheimer told Autocar that hybridisation was initially considered as a way of extracting the required power from the W16 to ensure the Chiron eclipsed the Veyron. In the end, though, the power increase was simply achieved by upgrading many of the engine’s components.
Already, the McLaren P1, LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder have employed hybrid technology to deliver hypercar performance. For instance, the P1 is powered by a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine and electric motors, together generating 903bhp. It accelerates from 0-62mph in 2.8sec, 0-124mph in 6.8sec and 0-186mph in 16.5sec.
Dürheimer also hinted that ongoing plans to introduce a second Bugatti model to the firm’s line-up could delay production of the next generation Chiron, as the firm would possibly switch to a strategy of alternating between new car launches. If that happens, a new Bugatti model could be launched around 2024 and the next Chiron not until 2032.
“We are looking at what customers want if we do something different, and we have some ideas,” said Dürheimer. “But we are not under pressure to decide – production of the Chiron is expected to last for around eight years. We are at the predevelopment phase, preparing technically and asking clients what they expect.”
Dürheimer declined to reference any bodystyles for such a vehicle. The Bugatti Galibier five-door fastback concept was shown in 2009 but did not get the go-ahead for production. However, the concept of a more practical but still standard-setting high-performance vehicle remains a potential target for Bugatti. To date, 280 of the planned 500 Chirons have been sold.