This test car is the first evidence that the replacement for Bugatti’s nine-year old Veyron is finally on the way.
Despite looking very similar to the current car, there are clues as the shape of the new model particularly the NACA-style air ducts in the roof and the new rear window and engine cover details.
Sources told Autocar that the new car’s styling has been signed off by the Bugatti design team, allowing full-scale road testing to commence. This engineering mule is thought to house the new-generation Bugatti engine, which is expected to well exceed the 1200bhp output of the today’s Super Sport and Grand Sport Vitesse Veyron models.
According to Autocar's latest inside information, the new Veyron will see the 8.0-litre W16 engine updated with a direct fuel injection and even electrically-assisted turbochargers.
The biggest change is expected to be the adoption of hybrid assistance, with an electric motor incorporated into the new transmission which will be backed up by a small battery pack. Significant weight savings are also planned for the new car.
The upshot is that the engine should be able to produce just short of 1500bhp, though its torque output will be pegged back to 1100lb ft to ensure the longevity of the gearbox. With greater power comes the need to manage even greater levels of heat, which probably explains the large openings in the new car’s roof and engine cover.
The arrival of the new car was partly delayed by the need to “fit in with other [VW engineering] programmes ” according to another company insider. The presence of a VW steering wheel in this test car suggests that the Veyron will probably be sharing much of its electrical architecture with MQB-and MLB-based VW Group cars, both of which support a wide range of safety equipment including automatic braking and cruise control.
At the recent opening of the Bugatti fashion boutique in central London, brand boss Wolfgang Dürheimer told Autocar that the company was determined to keep its world speed record for a production car. “We know there are challengers, but we are determined to do our homework on this.”
This means the production version of the new Veyron must exceed the performance of the Super Sport World Record Edition's 268mph top speed and 0-62mph time of 2.5sec. Sources say the Bugatti development team has its eyes on a new top speed of 286mph.
It's thought there are eight Veyrons left to be sold out the current production run. An expanded factory should be able to build the new car more quickly, though the total production run of the second generation is also expected to be limited to around 450 units.