Bugatti’s first hybrid could get Porsche genes and an iconic nameplate

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Bugatti has examined ways to expand its lineup since Volkswagen took over the brand in 1998 and injected a serious amount of cash into its coffers. The plans have never materialized; the company introduced only two models in just as many decades. That could change soon, though, thanks to the Group’s recent commitment to electrification, and a recent report suggests the storied Atlantic nameplate is poised to make a comeback.

Members of Volkswagen’s top brass asked the Bentley, Lamborghini, and Bugatti division to slash their fleets’ CO2 output in a timely manner. Mainstream brands like Volkswagen can resort to downsizing to build more efficient cars, but Bugatti will lose all credibility if it drops a twin-turbocharged V6 into the Chiron‘s cavernous engine bay. The only way for high-end companies to build cleaner models is to embrace electrification, which is less controversial but not without risks. Bugatti’s entry into the segment will take the form of a four-seater coupe positioned well below its halo model.

Bugatti isn’t starting from scratch. It will receive its own version of the MSB platform found under Porsche’s newest Panamera, and it will get the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid’s gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain to play with. In its standard form, it relies on a powerful V8 engine and a compact electric motor to send over 680 horsepower and 626 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. The Panamera hits 62 mph from a stop in 3.4 seconds, so a modern-day Bugatti Atlantic could perform the same sprint in under three seconds.

The design brief calls for an impressive specifications sheet, according to inside sources who spoke to Automobile Magazine on the condition of anonymity. The coupe must be capable of driving over at least 60 miles on a single charge of electricity, which is about twice the real-world range of a Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. Doubling range without doubling cost is a bit unlikely, but that shouldn’t be a problem for the average Bugatti customer.

The battery pack — which will likely be a lithium-ion unit — will need to take a full charge in under 10 minutes, so it will utilize Porsche’s fast-charging technology, and it must retain its full capacity after a thousand charging cycles. Engineers are stepping up to the challenge, and they’ve got a couple of years to come up with a sexy-looking, state-of-the-art performance coupe worthy of wearing the Atlantic nameplate. The original Atlantic is one of the most expensive cars in the world, so its successor will have Paul Bunyan-sized shoes to fill.

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