As the climax of its centenary celebration, Bugatti Automobiles presented the Bugatti 16 C Galibier concept; a vehicle intended to be the most exclusive, elegant and powerful four-door in the world.
Unveiled in Molsheim, the historic site where Ettore Bugatti once laid the cornerstone of his company, the company’s current president, Dr Ing Franz-Josef Paefgen emphasized that the Galibier is one of several concepts with which Bugatti is considering its future.
Art, form and technique are the brand values to which Ettore Bugatti and his son Jean oriented themselves in order to develop ever more powerful engines and ever more noble designs for each new model. In the process, they experimented with new materials; thus Bugatti was one of the first manufacturers to use aluminum for bodies, engine blocks and wheels.
The same values were applied in the development of the Galibier. With this four-door concept, Bugatti has again used new material combinations. Thus the body is constructed from handmade carbon fiber parts colored dark blue so that, when illuminated, the woven structure shimmers through. The fenders and doors are polished aluminum.
The Galibier’s design unites sportiness with the comfort and elegance of a modern sedan. The basic architecture picks up on the torpedo-like character of the Type 35, which was also revived in the Veyron. With the typical Bugatti radiator grille, big round LED headlights and clamshell running the length of the vehicle - a feature that became synonymous with the brand in the Type 57 - this car transports Bugatti into the modern world.
Beneath the hood, which folds back from both sides, resides a 16-cylinder, 8-liter engine with two-stage supercharging. The engine was developed as a flex-fuel motor and can optional be run on ethanol. Four-wheel drive, specially developed ceramic brakes and a new suspension design enable the sedan to remain agile, despite its size.
The interior reflects the elements of the exterior. The dash panel has been reduced to two centrally located main instruments that keep even rear passengers informed of the actual speed and previous performance. Parmigiani, the Swiss maker of fine watches, created the removable Reverso Tourbillon clock for the Galibier, which may be worn on the wrist thanks to a cleverly designed leather strap.
"Galibier" is not just the name of one of the most difficult alpine passes along the Tour de France but, in its time, was a version of the four-door Type 57 unequalled in sportiness and elegance.