These "secret" concept cars are all absolute stunners.
Few marques are as lauded around the world as Bugatti - the ultra-exclusive, ultra-expensive French supercar brand that is today operated by the Volkswagen Group. Since its revival under Volkswagen's ownership in the earlier part of this century, the Bugatti marque has produced a number of unfathomably high-performance production models.
Yet just as noteworthy as the cars that Volkswagen's Bugatti has produced are the ones that it hasn't. Top Gear recently took a look back at some of these "secret" concept cars, and they're every bit as bedroom poster-worthy as cars like the Veyron and Chiron - cars that actually, somehow, managed to roll out of the factory. Let's have a look.
First on the list is the Bugatti Atlantic - a modern take on the 1936 Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic, which was supposed to show at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance but ended up skipping the show due to complications relating to Volkswagen's Dieselgate scandal.
A full year-and-a-half went into its design ,and it was tipped to receive a V8, coupled with an electric drivetrain that would have borrowed heavily from the Porsche Taycan. Of all the Bugatti concepts that never reached production, the Atlantic was likely the closest, and if not for the giant cash and image drain that was VW's diesel emissions scandal, it might have made it.
Yet the next concept on the list - the Bugatti Veyron Barchetta - was arguably just as prescient when it was bolted together back in 2008, considering the recent crop of boutique roofless supercars like the Ferrari Monza and McLaren Elva.
The Veyron Barchetta was based on the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse, drawing upon the same quad-turbocharged W16 engine for motivation. Yet somehow or another, where that car was considered practical enough to produce, Volkswagen's Bugatti decided against building the Barchetta, which is a crying shame.
Last on the list is the 2015 Bugatti Rembrandt - a front-engine grand tourer with the Bugatti Chiron's quad-turbocharged W16 under the bonnet. Arguably the most desperately pretty of the three, the Rembrandt is named for Ettore Bugatti's younger brother - an influential sculptor from early in the 20th century - and it features an appropriately well-sculpted shape, its piece de resistance being a long, elegant hood with a cutout for the top of the W16 motor. That protruding-engine design was ostensibly chosen to provide better engine cooling, but we find it just as likely that it was selected for its stunning looks.
Like the Chiron, the Rembrandt would have used an all-wheel-drive powertrain, but otherwise, the long, sleek, front-engine car was to be the long-distance cruiser counterpart to the Chiron, giving the Bugatti portfolio an all-new sort of product with which to woo the very-well-heeled.
It's truly a pity that none of these Bugatti concepts ever saw the light of day - not that we could have afforded any one of them. But at the least, we have these photos to drool over. And thank goodness for that.