What was revealed at the climax of Bugatti’s centenary celebrations in September in Molsheim, was today presented to customers and opinion-makers in Los Angeles: the Bugatti 16C Galibier concept – designed as the most exclusive, elegant, and powerful four-door automobile in the world. At the prestigious Ace Gallery in Beverly Hills, Bugatti’s Director of Sales, Marketing and After Sales, Alasdair Stewart, emphasised that the Galibier is just one of several concept studies that the company is considering for the future of the Bugatti marque.
Arte – Forme – Technique: those are the brand values by which Ettore Bugatti and his son Jean oriented themselves in order to develop even more powerful engines and even more noble body designs for each new model, which were unequaled in quality, handling, speed and elegance. In the process, they experimented again and again with new materials; thus was Bugatti one of the first manufacturers to use aluminium parts for bodies, engine blocks and wheels.
Arte – Forme – Technique are also the brand values by which the design and engineering team at Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. oriented themselves in the development of the Galibier. With this new four-door concept car, Bugatti assumes once again a leading role in the use of new material combinations. For example, the body is constructed of handmade carbon fibre parts coloured dark blue so that, when illuminated, the woven structure strikingly shimmers through. Carbon fibre not only possesses exceptionally great rigidity but is also especially light. The wings and doors are made out of polished aluminium.
The Galibier’s design masters the challenge of uniting sportiness with the comfort and elegance of a modern four-door saloon. The basic architecture picks up on the torpedo-like character of the Type 35, which was already revived in the Veyron, and reinterprets it. With the typical Bugatti radiator grille, unusual, round LED headlights and the clamshell running the length of the vehicle, which became synonymous with the brand identity under Jean Bugatti in the Type 57, this car transports the Bugatti genes into the modern world.
Beneath the bonnet, which folds back from both sides, resides a 16-cylinder, 8-litre engine with two-stage supercharging. What makes this engine so special is that it was developed as a flex-fuel engine and can optionally be run on ethanol. Four-wheel drive, specially developed ceramic brakes and a new suspension design enable the agile, always-sure handling of a saloon of this size.
The interior reflects the elemental design of the exterior. The dashboard has been reduced to the essential; two centrally located main instruments keep even the rear passengers constantly informed of the current speed and previous performance. Parmigiani, the Swiss maker of fine watches, created a removable tourbillion clock for the Galibier, which may be worn on the wrist thanks to a cleverly designed leather strap.
“Galibier” is not just the name of one of the most difficult alpine passes along the Tour de France but, in its time, was a version of the four-door Type 57, unequaled in sportiness and elegance.