Above all the curving roof which transforms into a hatchback awakens reminiscences onto the shapes of classic Bugatti-touring-sportscars.
For the realization of the idea cultivated by the company's founder Ettore Bugatti to produce all parts themselves at the time a plant as well as a belonging research and development department. But that there is no lack of superlatives is thanks to the group's mother VW. It helped to get the four-seater an engine which the world hasn't seen before.
Under the front hood sits the first 18-cylinder engine of car history which is said to reach an unequalled development of power. For this three six-cylinder row-benches are coupled to a compact W-shape whereas every three of the 18 wrought-iron connecting rods have a common crank pin. The power take-off on the crankshaft is done in the middle of the engine as is the camshaft drive.
From a displacement of 6.3-litres the engine with gasoline-direct ignition develops 555hp at 4800rpm and delivers a torque of 650Nm which is brought onto the road via a permanent all-wheel drive. With that the crown amongst the street sports-cars would belong to the Bugatti - if it would go into serial production. Chances for that seem not to be bad if one believes the pundits: It is said that Piech plans to build an own plant near the former place of production in the Alsace.
At the Paris Motor Show the Bugatti EB118 revealed more of its interior. So the study built by Italdesign for VW is constructed in Space-Frame-Technique like the Audi A8. At 120km/h below the rear window a spoiler comes out which enhances the driving stability. The sequential gearbox is operated by buttons on the steering wheel. Ivory-coloured dials, aluminium trim and blue-tinted walnut wood show reminiscenes of the classic Bugatti- and Art deco-style. In the wide dashboard without center console only the most important functions do lie open, navigation system, radio and ice box remain hidden. At the Geneva Auto Show in March 1999 a four-door Bugatti-limousine shall explore the potential of the brand. On that it will depend if a production from the year 2003 in the Alsace, which already offered ((production)) ground to VW, can start.