Forgotten concepts: 1999 Bugatti 18/3 Chiron

This unique concept developed by Bugatti is based on the Lamborghini Diablo VT and is equipped with a W18 engine and four-wheel drive.

After Volkswagen bought Bugatti in 1998, the company had no cars on offer until 2005. However, new designs have been intensively developed from the very beginning. Just a few months after the company relaunched, it introduced its first concept model, the EB 118, which was a luxury two-door coupé with a front engine. A year later, the four-door limousine EB 218 and the Bugatti 18/3 Chiron, discussed today, were shown. All the models are connected, apart from the stamp, by the fact that they were designed by the Italian studio Italdesign Giugiaro.

Based on the Lamborghini Diablo VT of the time, the car draws its inspiration from all the old Bugatti models, but concentrates them in a much more modernistic form. It is worth noting that in its appearance we can find lines that did not finally appear 6 years later in Veyron, but only in Chiron in 2016, such as the oval end of the window line, which in Chiron turned into the crowding of the whole body.

Just like the EB 118 and EB 218 concepts, the heart of the car is the powerful 6.3-litre, naturally aspirated W18 engine, which generates 555 hp and 630 Nm of power. It has been transmitted to all four wheels via a manual 5-speed transmission with a viscous clutch. The exact performances of this unit were never measured, but it was assumed that the car would accelerate to 330 km/h. Taking into account the parameters of the Lamborghini Diablo VT, Bugatti 18/3 Chiron should accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in about 4 seconds.

The Bugatti 18/3 Chiron had its premiere at the September Motor Show in Frankfurt. Only a month later, in October 1999, another concept debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show – the EB 18/4 Veyron. It was a much redesigned version of the model presented today with a completely new name and a new rear belt, in which four headlamps, known from the production version of Veyron, were used. In 2000 Bugatti presented another slightly modified version called EB 16/4 Veyron, in which the engine was changed from W18 to W16 with four turbochargers, which was later put into serial production.

1999 Bugatti 18/3 Chiron