Berlin - Bugatti is considering a model that some might feel contradicts the ethos of the hugely extravagant brand: a hybrid.
The VW-owned French marque has developed the blueprint for a 2015 replacement for the Veyron, which might sell out this year, two knowledgeable sources at VW said.
Regardless of whether or not it has electric assistance, the hyper-car is still set to utilise a 16-cylinder engine, and the rumoured power output is around 1120kW, significantly up on today's 882kW Veyron Super Sport. Perhaps the electric motor will provide most of that extra urge?
Bugatti's new chief executive Wolfgang Duerheimer, a former R&D boss at Audi and Porsche who returned to the French brand in June, favours a hybrid version of the brand's next model, the sources said on condition they not be identified.
MORE SPEED WITH LESS FUEL
Ultra-luxury nameplates such as Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche are embracing petrol-electric powertrains after being on the cutting edge for years in upgrading chassis and engine electronics while striving to trim CO2 emissions.
Hybrid systems used in McLaren's P1 model and Porsche's 918 Spyder work to boost performance and fuel economy.
"Moving to hybrid propulsion seems like a logical next step" for supercar-makers, said Stefan Bratzel, head of the Centre of Automotive Management near Cologne. "By curbing emissions and boosting performance, they can justify building more of these cars."
The new Bugatti will beat the 431km/h top speed of the current Veyron Super Sport, which lost the title of the world's fastest production car in February to the Hennessey Venom GT, sources said.
"The new model will not be less exciting than the Veyron," a spokeswoman for Bugatti said, without being more specific. "Our customers have certain expectations."
IOL & Reuters