The Bugatti Veyron is, to many, the quintessential supercar: exclusive, incredibly luxurious, and outrageously powerful. But the car has been around for years now, and despite a recent proliferation of special editions, it remains Bugatti's only model. A set of new images leaked to the web today may hint at a change coming this week - but not at the Frankfurt auto show.
Called the Galibier 16C, the concept car is a Bugatti-styled sedan with a somewhat Porsche-Panamera-esque rear end treatment. The front end, while featuring the trademark Bugatti grille, also makes use of air dams that are rather reminiscent of recent Audis.
Materials like aluminum and carbon fiber help keep the Galibier 16C cutting-edge and as light as possible, though it owes its styling cues to the Type 35 and the Type 57 Atlantique, key models from Bugatti's past.
It is thought that the concept could foreshadow a full production model, possibly a higher-volume model (relatively speaking) designed to do battle with the Rolls-Royces and Bentleys of the world.
The car could even be powered by an 800-horsepower version of the W-16 engine found in the Veyron itself, though the transmission is rumored to be an easy-going 8-speed automatic as opposed to the dual-clutch unit found in the sportier speed missile. Instead of four turbochargers as in the Veyron, the Galibier gets its power from a smooth, two-stage supercharging system. Delivering all of that power to the ground is a reassuring all-wheel-drive system and an advanced suspension keeps the car happy through the corners.
Inside, the car is a contrast of minimalism and hyper-luxury; a mere two instruments adorn the instrument panel, but Parmigiani, the Swiss maker of fine watches, created the removable Reverso Tourbillon clock for the Galibier's center stack, which may also be worn on the wrist thanks to a custom-designed leather strap.
Plans for production of the car--or a lack thereof--are expected to be finalized by early 2010. Of course, so far it's all speculation and guesswork, but that's part of what makes show season so fun. We'll keep you posted on any new developments.