Now we know what a Bugatti saloon could look like. And first impressions are that it could be extremely impressive indeed.
You really need to be in the same room as the Galibier to really get to grips with the scale of the thing. It’s a big car. Like a Porsche Panamera, but wider.
The Porsche saloon reference isn’t too far away from how the Galibier looks in profile either, but then I suppose there’s only so many profiles a five metre hatchback can really have if it must also accommodate two large adults in the back and provide room for their luggage.
But where the Porsche looks a little on the clumsy side, the Bugatti is anything but. This is a strikingly handsome car. It’s quite a simple shape really and all the better for it, but the real joy is in its detailing. You doubt whether the Type 57 Atlantique-inspired central spine will make it to the production car, but you’d hope that some of the other details may. These include the beautifully detailed head and taillights and the eight - yes eight - tailpipes.
The inside is even better. Where the Veyron features a mass of chrome ringed dials, switches and other jewellery, the saloon has an impressively minimalist interior. Sitting in any of the four seats feels special and spacious. But then it should. While the saloon is likely to cost less than a Veyron, Bugatti’s sales director told me to expect a price tag of around £900k.
As for the way it’s going to drive, who knows? We’re being told to expect the fastest, most accelerative saloon on the planet and if the Veyron’s anything to go by we’ve got no reason to doubt them. I think that we can expect a slightly softer, more cultured experience than in the sports car though.
And so it was when they briefly started it up for the benefit of us hacks. The supercharged W16 motor sounded quieter, less rasping than the Veyron. But then we’re still talking about something that’s going to put out at least 800bhp and propel the Galibier to well north of 200mph.
But let’s not get too carried away. Bugatti’s boss Dr Franz-Josef Paefgen was keen to stress that the concept still has to provide a solid business case before they finally decide whether to make it next spring. That said, you could tell from the glint in his eye that in reality the decision has already been made and it’s likely to go on sale in 2013.
Good thing too. It would have been a crying shame if Bugatti’s renaissance had begun and ended with the Veyron.