Interview with Wolfgang Dürheimer

Interview with Wolfgang Dürheimer
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A good ten years after the Veyron show the successor Chiron at the Geneva Motor Show. It's a superlative car again. What are the three greatest strengths of the new for you?

Dürheimer: D First of all, there is the new design with the eight-eye face at the front, the C-bar in the side view and the tear-off rear, that is unmistakable for me and the signature of this Bugatti. A real eye-catcher. Then the new engine with now 1,500 hp, making the Chiron the most powerful series super sports car in the world. It's not for nothing that racing drivers say that nothing can replace performance but even more performance. That definitely applies to the Chiron, where you can't get the grin off your face when you accelerate. Our customers are performance freaks who want to know what is still possible in terms of top speed and acceleration. The Chiron will tear her off her stool.

And the third point?

Dürheimer: Is the subject of driving dynamics. Here we have probably made the most gains compared to the predecessor. You notice that most clearly on the handling course. Our customers will have a lot of fun.

How fast does the Chiron go?

Dürheimer: Well over 400 km /h. We will limit the car to 420 km /h for road use. The Chiron accelerates from 0 to 100 km /h in 2.5 seconds, from 0 to 300 in 13.6 seconds.

The speedometer ends at 500 km /h. Is that a magic number that you would like to crack?

Dürheimer: We live in the decimal system and have numbers with two zeros at the end always something magical. The current speed record is 431.072 km /h, driven by our works driver Pierre-Henri Raphanel on our test site. After the drive he said he didn't need something like this every month. Beyond 400 km /h, the road shrinks to a narrow tube for the driver, and the vehicle covers a distance of 111 meters in just one second. In this respect, every new record is a sensation for me. We know that the Chiron can do a lot more than the Veyron. How much more? I don't know yet, but the day will come when we will go hunting for new records.

Does Bugatti make money with the new car?

Dürheimer: As you know, we generally do not comment on financial data, but I can tell you this much: The Chiron project will make a positive contribution to the group result.

Bugatti-Veyron successor Chrion: already 120 requests for the super sports car.
You are targeting sales of 500 Chiron in the next ten years. How many pre-orders do you already have?

Dürheimer : We have already received serious inquiries, i.e. pre-orders, for a third of the total production.

What is connected with a serious inquiry as a deposit?

Dürheimer: Prospective buyers deposited 200,000 euros or $ 250,000 in the dollar area with us to get on the waiting list. Of course, customers who already own a Veyron are given priority when assigning production dates. We are now seeing that new customers try to buy a used Veyron quickly in order to move up on our list.

What does the car cost?

Dürheimer: The base price is 2.4 million euros.

Are alternative drives how conceivable a hybrid system over the life cycle of the car?

Dürheimer: Yes, but then in particular to increase power and performance. The Chiron will never be a fully electric car or a plug-in hybrid that can drive 50 km in all-electric mode. Bugatti customers know exactly what they want and they own a lot of cars, over 40 on average. You can assume that everyone already has at least one electric car in their garage. With the Chiron they want to be the ultimate high-performance machine and thus part of a very exclusive circle of Bugatti owners.

Can the Bugatti brand tolerate a second model?

Dürheimer: I think so. But we are a small oneTeam. Our full concentration is now on the Chiron. Then we'll see. We have a lot of ideas.

You showed a study with the Galibier sedan in 2012 that indicated another series model. Why was the car not made? Does something speak against a four-door Bugatti?

Dürheimer: Not in my opinion. We had already come a long way with this vehicle during my first tenure at Bugatti. But then it was decided to stay true to the super sports line and develop a two-seater high-performance sports car again. We can see that this decision was the right one from the high level of interest in the Chiron. Nevertheless, my heart continues to beat for the Galibier concept, because we had some revolutionary approaches for this vehicle that no one in the automotive industry has yet dared to try.

Is the Galibier the most likely variant for you when it comes to the second series, or is Bugatti also following the SUV trend?

Dürheimer: I don't see an SUV for Bugatti. A four-door, four-seat sedan is indeed one of the considerations. But why not a sports car below the Chiron with a ten or twelve-cylinder engine? But I could also imagine us reliving something that Bugatti used to do: developing parts for motorsport and delivering them to racing teams. We have different ideas because we have acquired a lot of know-how in numerous areas. The Chiron, for example, has the most modern monocoque in the world made of even stiffer and at the same time lighter carbon structures than has been the case up to now. We are now at LMP1 level. Nothing has been decided here yet.

Why not?

Dürheimer: These are mind games, and there are still many questions to answer on the way to the final decision. For example, how does our exclusive customer base react to a car below the Chiron? Would that water down the exclusive character of the brand too much? Such decisions have to be made with great care.

Now we come to the second brand for which you are responsible. How many orders do you have for the new Bentley Bentayga luxury SUV?

Dürheimer: The Bentley Bentayga is the most powerful, fastest and most luxurious SUV the world, and it has already become the benchmark for a new vehicle class. The demand from our customers is overwhelming. We have around 5,000 orders. The first annual production is almost completely filled with customer orders.

Are that more than you expectedhave?

Dürheimer: Definitely. We had calculated an annual production of around 3,600 cars and are now faced with the pleasant task of being able to increase production capacities to over 5,000 cars per year.

Are the capacities in British parent plant in Crewe for this?

Dürheimer: Yes, we can increase production to 5,500 vehicles per year within the existing structures.

Bentley Bentayga: 5,000 orders have already been placed for the new SUV. This means that the first annual production is almost sold out.
If the Bentayga is so well received, the question arises about further drive variants and derivatives, right? ?

Dürheimer: In the first year, the Bentayga is only available with a twelve-cylinder petrol engine, followed by the V8 diesel. Another year later we are launching a six-cylinder plug-in hybrid that will meet all the requirements of a modern hybrid. This includes a purely electric range of 50 km, which is particularly important for China.

How about a coupé variant à la BMW X6?

Dürheimer: That is a possibility that we are currently investigating very seriously. Our designers showed me designs that make my heart beat faster.

What are you waiting for then?

Dürheimer: The concept of an SUV coupé competes with the EXP 10 Speed ​​6, our two-seater roadster, which we presented as a study at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. The feedback on the vehicle was so phenomenal that until the end of the year we are faced with the pleasant task of deciding which we will implement first: SUV coupé or roadster.

What number of units can Bentley achieve per year in the long term?

Dürheimer: I am convinced that with thesefurther models, we can double our number of units to 20,000 units per year by 2025 compared to today.


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