Having cracked the 300-mph barrier, Bugatti may have set its sights on a different kind of performance monster.
Volkswagen's French-born Bugatti division is best known for its accolades in straight-line speed, the most recent being a 300-plus-mph run in a special version of the Bugatti Chiron. But optimizing a car for both linear speed and road course finesse is essentially impossible, as maximizing lateral acceleration requires speed-robbing aerodynamic downforce, and powering out of a corner calls for shorter gearing than what a top-speed-focused car might have.
So, having cracked the 300 mph barrier in a production car, Volkswagen's super-high-performance marque for the uber-rich might now be turning its attention toward its next track-focused vehicle. Although, in a recent interview with Autocar, CEO Stephan Winkelmann was very tight-lipped about the details.
"Being the spearhead of performance, it's difficult to cover all types of performance with one car," Winkelmann told Autocar. "If you want to create the best-performing car yet, you have to decide whether to go for longitudinal acceleration and top speed - this is what we've done with the [Chiron Super Sport] 300+ - or you focus on downforce, handling and weight reduction and that's lateral acceleration."
Achieving both paradigms in a single car isn't possible "at this level of performance," he said. "So we did one and now we are working on something different - you guess what!"
This "something different" could end up being similar in spirit to the Bugatti Divo - a limited-run track-focused model mechanically similar to the Chiron, but whose curb weight, suspension, and aerodynamics have been honed for improved cornering abilities.
Mum's the word on whether such a car might employ electrification to meet its performance goals. Asked about whether Bugatti is affected by the latest industry trends, Winkelmann said only that "the challenges of the future are touching [the marque], such as digitalization or electrification, if we look into a wider model range. It would be a given for a hypothetical second model."
Does that indicate that an autonomous Bugatti might eventually be in the cards?
"I don't see it as touching Bugatti for now," Winkelmann says. "I'm for assisted driving because it makes life easier and less boring. [But no one] iis buying a Bugatti because it's an autonomous car."