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Bugatti unveils most expensive new car in the world

Bugatti unveils most expensive new car in the world
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To mark its 110th anniversary, the French automaker Bugatti celebrated in singular style, unveiling the most expensive new car in the world — La Voiture Noire, or the black car — in Geneva.

In case interested buyers have €12.7 million (roughly $19 million (Cdn.)) lying around, Bugatti already sold its one-of-a-kind creation.

French automaker Bugatti celebrated its 110th anniversary with the unveiling of its $19-million La Voiture Noire, or the black car, in Geneva.  (Stefan Wermuth / Bloomberg)

A worker dusts the bodywork of Bugatti’s ultra luxury automobile La Voiture Noire on display on the opening day of the 89th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. The show near Lake Leman, which opens to the public from March 7 to 17, will be the first gilded showcase of the year for the likes of Bugatti, Koenigsegg, Lamborghini, and Pininfarina, among others.  (Stefan Wermuth / Bloomberg)

Bugatti’s new sports car La Voiture Noire is presented during press day at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, March 5, 2019. The Geneva International Motor Show takes place in Switzerland from March 7 until March 17, 2019. Automakers are rolling out new electric and hybrid models at the show as they get ready to meet tougher emissions requirements in Europe - while not forgetting the profitable and popular SUVs and SUV-like crossovers. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)  (Martial Trezzini / AP)

Bugatti’s new sports car La Voiture Noire is presented during press day at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, March 5, 2019. The Geneva International Motor Show takes place in Switzerland from March 7 until March 17, 2019. Automakers are rolling out new electric and hybrid models at the show as they get ready to meet tougher emissions requirements in Europe - while not forgetting the profitable and popular SUVs and SUV-like crossovers.  (Martial Trezzini / AP)

The luxury brand said that the jet black sports car with an 8-litre, 16-cylinder engine, 1,500 horsepower and six exhaust pipes was handcrafted for a car collector who probably identifies with the motto of company founder, Ettore Bugatti: “If it is comparable, it is no longer Bugatti.”

Nor will it be cheap to run. Bugatti’s website gives the fuel economy as 35.2 litre per 100 km in the city and 15.2 L/100 km highway.

At its debut Tuesday during the Geneva International Motor Show in Switzerland, Bugatti chief executive Stephan Winkelmann said the car he deemed both “elegant and puristic” was inspired by an earlier model, the Bugatti Atlantic, of which only four were made.

“And if you look at the body work,” he noted, “there is not one line too many.”

The most expensive car ever sold is said to be a Tour de France-winning 1963 Ferrari 250 GT. It was purchased in June by David MacNeil, chief executive of the automotive accessory maker WeatherTech, for a reported $70 million (U.S.).

Bugatti was founded in 1909 and acquired by German automaker Volkswagen in 1998.

Bugatti did not identify the new owner of the black car. But as Motor Trend wrote in its initial appraisal: “As the black car sits, the thing is further proof that now more than ever, it’s good to be filthy, stinking rich.”

Bloomberg reported that speculation pointed to former VW chief executive officer and chairman Ferdinand Piech as the new owner. Piech was known for his tough leadership style before quitting the brand’s parent Volkswagen AG in acrimony in April 2015.

While there’s no mention of Piech in Bugatti’s statement, it was Piech who signed off on some of Bugatti’s outrageous development costs.

There is — intended or not — a hint of Darth Vader providing some inspiration: “The windscreen seems to flow seamlessly into the windows at the sides like the visor on a helmet,” Bugatti said.

Bugatti’s ultra-wealthy customers appreciated the brand’s expertise in turning out cars to their exacting specifications, said Bugatti design director Achim Anscheidt.

“Our customers really appreciate this, as they know this from purchasing other luxury goods like a yacht,” he said.

The 16-cylinder engine has six tailpipes and La Voiture Noire’s extravagant specs highlight the balancing act VW is pulling off across its 12-brand empire. CEO Herbert Diess, in charge since April, has sought to accelerate an overhaul to make the company more agile and rein in spending.

The company says the car is “far more than a modern interpretation” of Jean Bugatti’s Type 57 SC Atlantic, an industry icon coveted by classic-car aficionados and the most famous work of the son of the company’s founder, Ettore Bugatti.

The car’s not-so-subtle six tailpipes are a reference to the Atlantic model’s five exhausts, Anscheidt told Bloomberg. “They clearly show this isn’t an electric car.”
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