Bugatti announced a new car that could challenge the world speed record just set by the SSC Tuatara.
The Bugatti Bolide is a skeletal-looking coupe with a massive rear wing and the scooped-out body style of a Formula 1 racer.
Like its sibling, the Bugatti Chiron, the Bolide has a W16 engine and all-wheel-drive.
The Bolide has an extremely lightweight body that weighs just 1,240 kg (2,733 pounds) — roughly half that of a Chiron — and 1,824 horsepower (in excess of 200 hp more than the Chiron Super Sport).
It can reach a top speed of more than 500 kph (310 mph), Bugatti said in a release.
In good conditions, such specifications could compete against the Tuatara, a U.S.-made car that set a world speed record of 316.11 mph (508.73 kph) near Las Vegas on Oct. 10.
A spokesperson for Bugatti said he can provide no details at this time about attempting a speed record.
Bugatti’s announcement comes at a critical time for the 111-year-old French brand.
Parent company Volkswagen Group has been holding intense discussions recently about selling Bugatti to Rimac Automobili, a Croatian electric-supercar startup.
It is presumed that a sale to Rimac would help VW preserve cash and refocus as it navigates economic shocks from the novel coronavirus and contemplates increasingly strict standards in many urban centers, which would boost currently low demand for electric vehicles.
The talks come two years after VW combined Bentley and Bugatti into a brand group led by Porsche, a move designed VW Group more agile in controlling a dozen brands, including Audi, Ducati, and Lamborghini. VW’s Porsche unit holds a 15.5 percent stake in Rimac.
More recently, Bugatti has halted plans for a second supercar, due to pandemic woes. This would have been the first major production car to join the family after the $3.5 million Chiron, which debuted four years ago at the Geneva auto show.
Despite the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak and vehicle postponement, Bugatti chief Stephan Winkelmann told Bloomberg TV that the brand will generate record revenue for 2020.
This year “may be the best year ever,” he said. More than 70 percent of cars planned to be built for 2021 have already been sold.
None of those will be a Bolide. That’s the big difference between it and the Tuatara: While the record set by the SSC came via a production car owned by a Philadelphia-based physician named Larry Caplin, Bugatti’s Bolide is simply an “experimental study” illustrated by computer-generated images, not photographs.
The name, pronounced “Beau-lid,” is a French slang term that roughly translates as “It’s a fast car.”
Company executives said they haven’t yet decided whether the Bolide will ever reach series production.
“We are presenting our interpretation of a Bugatti track car of modern times to Bugatti enthusiasts all over the world and finally make their most fervent wishes come true,” Winkelmann said in a press statement. “For the first time, we are showing what the W16 engine is really capable of.”