Did Porsche founder’s grandson buy the new R176m Bugatti? If Batman is ever in need of a new set of wheels, Bugatti has it covered. Dubbed ‘the Batmobile’, this motor is the only one in existence – with no plans to built any other examples. It is said to boast top speeds of about 420km/h, alongside awesome acceleration times.
This week it revealed La Voiture Noire, a supercar with a staggering price tag of 11 million euros (R176 million) before tax, knocking Rolls-Royce’s R130 million Sweptail off its perch as the world’s most expensive road car in the process.
The darkly glamorous model was launched at the Geneva Motor Show to celebrate the French firm’s 110th anniversary. It is based around the Bugatti Chiron which is powered by a vast 8-litre quad-turbo W16 engine that produces 1103kW – as much power as 15 Ford Fiestas. From a standing start, ‘the Batmobile’ can hit 120mph (193km/h) in under 6.5 seconds and 190mph (305km/h) in under 13.6, aided by a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and all-wheel-drive.
The black supercar, with its incredibly strong but lightweight carbon-fibre body, is a unique commission for an unnamed customer that honours the curvaceous 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic, widely judged to be one the most beautiful cars of all time.
The original Type 57 Atlantic has attained almost mythical status within the automotive world. Only four were ever made of which three still exist – one in the collection of clothes designer Ralph Lauren.
The missing fourth one disappeared more than 80 years ago and has never been found.Although Bugatti would not divulge the buyer’s identity, saying only that the purchaser was an ‘enthusiast of the brand’, many believe it to be Ferdinand Piech, the grandson of the late Porsche founder.
Renowned for his interest in development projects, Mr Piech is a former chief executive of Volkswagen – which owns Bugatti. A team of 25 workers took ten weeks to construct the unique vehicle at the company’s factory at Molsheim in Alsace, France.
Some of the world’s fastest, most powerful, expensive, and exclusive cars are built here, on the French border with Germany. Last year, the 180-strong workforce hand-built just 76 cars at the factory.
Bugatti’s president Stephan Winkelmann said of ‘the Batmobile’: “In 2019, we are celebrating a special anniversary. Bugatti was established 110 years ago. For Bugatti, La Voiture Noire is more than just a reminiscence of the Atlantic. We are paying tribute to a long tradition, to France and to the creative work of Jean Bugatti.”
He added: “There is no other car in the world with such an engine. It is not only extremely powerful but also beautiful to look at.”
Luxury firms such as Bugatti, Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Aston Martin make an increasingly high proportion of their income from one-off and low volume bespoke commissions which are then sold for incredibly high prices.