New Bugatti Galibier Proves the Tide Has Turned: Green is the New Fast

Bugatti Galibier

Bugatti’s latest concept car points the way forward for the brand most associated with excess: excessive wealth, excessive power, excessive luxury, and excessive performance… but the new Galibier signifies something more, as well, and it is nothing less than a turning of the tide in the way the world’s automakers see their flagship luxury cars.

More on Bugatti’s million-dollar flex-fuel Galibier — including video! — after the jump.

… extolling the virtues of Earth… and speed.

That line, spoken about 45 second into the Bugatti’s promo video, sums it up artistically. I’m not the artistic type, I’m afraid, so I’ll have to spell it out: it is no longer socially acceptable to build a powerful, luxurious car without a nod to the green car movement.

The last Bugatti, the Veyron exotic sportscar, is powered by a sixteen-cylinder engine with four turbochargers, producing over 1000 hp and — at full throttle — burns through a gallon of high-octane gasoline every 2.05 miles. Look it up.

When it was introduced in 2005, Bugatti’s parent company, Volkswagen, made no apologies for the Veyron.  It was the very symbol of automotive excess, and the car thumbed its nose at responsibility (environmental or otherwise). Since then, however, the world has changed, the “greens” are winning, and a Bugatti — any Bugatti — is rapidly becoming a white elephant.

In 2005, Bugatti showered the automotive press with “mosts”:

  • most expensive car
  • most exclusive car
  • most powerful car

With the advent of the Galibier, Bugatti is touting new technologies. A “green” flex-fuel engine. It’s powerful, to be sure — capable of propelling the big sedan to a projected top speed over 230 mph — but the “green” aspect of the powerplant is mentioned in the same breath, as is the recyclability of the polished aluminum doors and the improved efficiency brought about by the new lightweight carbon body panels. I’m sure that (as soon as someone at VW marketing thinks of it) we’ll be hearing about the nearly all-wood and leather interior of the new Bugatti (below) biodegrades more quickly than the more “plebian” plastics found in lesser cars.

Bugatti Galibier Interior

It’s not much. It’s not the all-out dedication of parent-company Volkswagen’s SLICK new L1 commuter, but it lacks the ethanol-fueled bravado of sister-company Bentley’s Continental Supersports, which downplays the environmental aspects of that motor and plays up the horsepower benefits of alcohol-based fuels. It is, however, something.

Bugatti — the car company that has always built cars without compromise, has been forced to compromise.

Bigatti Galibier

Take a good look at that glittering, jewel-like grille shrouding the nearly 1000 horsepower, supercharged V16 engine (above), it may be the last of its kind.

Image SourceBugatti Automobiles S.A.S., via Net Car Show.


Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.