* Bugatti's next model to rely on 1,500-PS engine -sources
* Series may be limited to about 450 cars -sources
* Bugatti declines comment on details of next model
By Andreas Cremer
BERLIN, July 9 Bugatti, the maker of exotic
supercars such as the 1,200-horsepower Veyron Grand Sport
Vitesse, is considering a model that some might feel contradicts
the ethos of the extravagant brand: a hybrid.
The French manufacturer, owned by Volkswagen,
has developed the blueprint for a 2015 follow-up model to the
$1.7 million limited-series Veyron that may sell out this year,
two sources at VW group with knowledge of the matter said.
The two-door model may rely on a 1,500-horsepower,
16-cylinder engine and will probably be limited to about 450
cars, the same as the expiring Veyron, the sources told Reuters
Bugatti's new chief executive Wolfgang Duerheimer, a former
R&D boss at Audi and Porsche who returned to the French brand on
June 1, favours a hybrid version of the brand's next model, the
sources said on condition they not be identified because the
matter is confidential.
Ultra-luxury nameplates such as Ferrari, McLaren
and Porsche are embracing 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
The new model will beat the 431 kilometres (268 miles) top
speed of Bugatti's 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."
Wolfsburg-based VW acquired the Bugatti brand in 1998 along
with Lamborghini and Bentley Motors to create a stable of
high-end carmakers. VW doesn't break out Bugatti's earnings in
quarterly or annual reporting, but a company source says the
brand has been loss-making for years on high development costs
for the Veyron.
Under VW's reign, the super-luxury brand, which traces its
roots back to Italian-born car designer Ettore Bugatti, started
production of the Veyron series in 2005. Some 430 of the 450
planned models have been sold, the spokeswoman said.
($1 = 0.7331 Euros)
(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Catherine Evans)