Bugatti's Bolide Was Outrageous And Visionary - Now They're Building It For Real

As supercar-makers go, Bugatti isn't short on excess in its catalog, but news that the outlandish Bolide concept will spawn a production model could give the current flagships of the range some "unbelievably fast" competition. Revealed in 2020, the Bolide was intended as a technological concept for the storied French automaker, a 311+ mph love-letter to speed.

Bolide, Bugatti explained, was as much about what was left out as what was put in. The hypercar would use the automaker's impressive 8.0-liter W16 engine, tuned for 1,825 horsepower and 1,364 lb-ft of torque, but the chassis it was placed in was a whole different breed from cars like the Chiron and the Veyron.

They've always delivered lavish luxury along with their outright performance, but Bolide would pare that back to the essentials of indecent pace. Only 2,737 pounds on the scales, and the only "luxuries" being a pair of seats inside so as to share the experience with someone else, it was a vision of extreme dieting. 3D printed titanium alloy; every screw and fastening switched to a titanium version; and a portfolio of carbon fiber, magnesium, and ceramic.

"The Bolide generated a great deal of enthusiasm and intrigue last year," Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti, explained this week at Pebble Beach. "Following its presentation, a significant number of enthusiasts and collectors asked us to develop the experimental Bolide as a production vehicle. I was absolutely amazed by the reactions and feedback from customers from all over the world."

The result is, as Bugatti had hinted could be the case should interest be strong enough, a very limited production run. Just 40 people will get to buy a Bolide of their own, described by Winkelmann as "the ultimate driving machine for the track."

Taking a vehicle intended as a concept and making it a reality, of course, is no easy matter. Deep-pocketed Bugatti buyers means budget isn't so much the issue, but practical hurdles remain. The Bolide experimental vehicle, for example, was counting on 110-octane gas – otherwise known as racing fuel – to hit its sky-high power figures. The production version, though, needed to be okay with 98 RON gas which is far more widely available.

The result will be a dip in power versus the original concept, though that's only relatively speaking. Bugatti says to expect 1,578 horsepower and 1,180 lb-ft of torque arriving from 2,250 rpm.

Weight, too, will see an uptick versus Bugatti's original vision, though even at 3,197 pounds this is still unexpectedly lightweight given the power on offer. It'll include safety features like HANS system compatibility, an automatic fire extinguishing system, pressure refueling with a fuel bladder, central wheel locking, and a six-point safety belt system. Exclusive track days for owners will be included, so that they can experience the car's extreme speed.

Those capable of coughing up the 4 million euros ($4.84 million) and selected as one of the 40 lucky few will have to be patient still. Bugatti says it expects to begin delivering the production Bolide in 2024.