“The Divo1 performs much better than the Chiron2 in terms of lateral acceleration, agility and cornering response,” says Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti. It is an idea that has met with great customer interest: even before the official world premiere, the small series limited to 40 vehicles was already sold out – at a net unit price of five million euros.
What makes Bugatti's work so special is the high quality standards that customers expect. Despite the small editions, the hyper sports cars are in an exceptional and highly exclusive league: no other manufacturer in the world combines luxury cars with hyper sports cars that reach speeds of 420 km/h . When it comes to safety-related factors such as stiffness and crash behaviour, the developers naturally take no risks and draw on the tried-and-tested technology of the Chiron2. They also rely on the iconic and well-established 8.0-litre 16-cylinder engine with at least 1,103 kW/1,500 hp. In the Centodieci1 the engine even achieves an output of 1,176 kW/1,600 hp. Changes to the body, aerodynamics, chassis, gears and seats result in a wide variety of individual models. “It’s crucial for the newly created vehicle to be able to stand on its own as an independent model and be recognised as such,” says Rommelfanger. For this reason, each edition has modified headlamp systems, taillamps and adapted front and rear sections.
Long coachbuilding tradition at Bugatti
In this way, the French manufacturer is reviving its long tradition and transforming the idea of high customisation for the 21st century. Since Bugatti was founded 110 years ago, its vehicles have been beyond compare – both technically and aesthetically. As company founder Ettore Bugatti put it: “If it can be compared with anything, it’s no longer a Bugatti”. From an early stage, the French luxury brand offered exceptional options for Bugatti customers with demanding aesthetic standards: coachbuilding – the art of putting exclusive vehicles into an even more exclusive shape.
The word coach refers to a carriage or car. “It’s equivalent to haute couture in the fashion industry. Coachbuilding is about creating unique specimens – tailor-made cars to meet individual tastes,” says Stephan Winkelmann. Until the early 1920s, Bugatti was still concentrating on technology; a bodywork department was not set up in Molsheim, Alsace, until 1923. Ettore Bugatti was of the opinion that a car was only perfect if it was impeccable from an aesthetic point of view. His son Jean therefore increasingly focused on ensuring that the body design was given greater importance in the company.
Coachbuilding is about more than just altering the bodywork
The difference in terms of today's coachbuilding vehicles is that in the past, master body-makers simply tailored different body shapes to a chassis – they did not actually change the technology. In current Bugatti one-of or few-of models, the further development and honing of technical components results in new vehicles with a different driving response as compared to the Chiron2. “Customers of our particularly exclusive vehicles get a different driving experience in addition to a different look. No two vehicles are the same, each one is given an individual colour composition in line with the customer's wishes,” says Pierre Rommelfanger.
The project manager is thrilled to be part of this story. “We’re are now recreating what Ettore Bugatti produced 110 years ago. Partly with history in mind as in La Voiture Noire1and the Centodieci1, partly pursuing entirely new ideas such as in the Divo1," he says. He is also fascinated by customers’ reactions, their enthusiasm for the new shapes and vehicles – which is a tremendous boost to motivation. He describes the Divo1 as his favourite coach-built car because it is the first highly individualised Bugatti of modern times, and the enthusiasm among customers is so infectious it is felt by the entire team.
Collaboration in a small and very agile team, whose members come from various Bugatti departments, is particularly challenging and exciting. “Due to the exclusive nature and small number of vehicles, we can use different materials and techniques, as shown by the 3D-printed grilles of the Divo1,” says Rommelfanger.
Bugatti has now presented three new vehicles in the coachbuilding tradition – the Divo1, La Voiture Noire1 and the Centodieci1. “Over the coming months we will continue to develop these in quiet concentration with great care, before finally producing them by hand,” says Rommelfanger. And Bugatti will certainly continue to focus on coachbuilding – very much in the spirit of Ettore Bugatti himself.
1 Fuel consumption, l/100km: not subject to Directive 1999/94/EC as overall type approval is currently not yet available
2 Fuel consumption, l/100km: urban 35.2 / extra-urban 15.2 / combined 22.5; combined CO2 emissions, g/km: 516; efficiency class: G
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