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Bugatti reveals saloon of its future. Image by Bugatti.

Bugatti reveals saloon of its future
Exclusive, high-performance saloon concept indicates the direction Bugatti will take with its next model.
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Bugatti has released details of its latest concept, a sporting saloon that was unveiled last weekend in Molsheim - the traditional home of the marque. The 16C Galibier Concept is billed as 'The most exclusive, elegant, and powerful four door Automobile in the World'.

Galibier is an Alpine pass, which features on the route of the Tour de France. It also links to Bugatti's past; there was a four-door version of the 1930's Type 57 by the same name. Other hints of heritage include the body architecture, which is supposed to echo the shape of the Type 35; although we can't quite see the link between the slender vintage racing car and the saloon's more substantial form. A slim ridge along the body's centreline - bisecting the windscreen and rear window - hints at the spine of the Bugatti Atlantic. The final nod to heritage and a visual link to the Veyron is the two-tone colour scheme, which is achieved by using dark blue carbon fibre body panels with polished aluminium front wings and doors.

The interior manages to be both luxurious and simple. The dash panel features a small instrument binnacle behind the steering wheel and two dials in the centre of the wooden dash panel. The positioning of these instruments is apparently designed so that rear seat passengers can keep an eye on the speed. The analogue clock was designed by a Swiss watchmaker and, thanks to a special strap, can be worn as a wristwatch.

Power comes from a 16-cylinder, 8.0-litre engine with two-stage supercharging. Although Bugatti has not released any power or performance claims some sources speculate that 800bhp, 900lb.ft and a top speed of 240mph are the key figures. One fact is the engine's flex-fuel status meaning it can run on bio-ethanol. Other driveline details include four-wheel drive, ceramic brakes and suspension set up for 'agile and always-sure handling'.

The official line is that the Galibier is one of several concepts for future Bugatti models. We can expect to see other design studies at future motor shows, but the real thing is unlikely to arrive before 2012.

John Lambert - 16 Sep 2009

2009 Bugatti 16C Galibier concept. Image by Bugatti.2009 Bugatti 16C Galibier concept. Image by Bugatti.2009 Bugatti 16C Galibier concept. Image by Bugatti.  

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