The head of Bugatti, who used to be the head of Lamborghini, gave an interview recently with Autocar about how he doesn’t expect the W16 engine the company uses to go away anytime soon. But that’s not all.
Autocar kind of spun Bugatti president Stephan Winkelmann’s words into something they’re not. Winkelmann told the British pub:
Talking about its hypercars, opposed to any potential second model, Winkelmann commented: “The W16 has, in my opinion, an opportunity for the future. It’s a USP which is not diminishing in value.” He added that Volkswagen Group boss Herbert Diess “knows the value of a W16 engine”.
Talking more broadly about internal combustion engines, he said: “If it lasts another decade, ICE will be the last of a kind, and the last of a kind means it is collectible.
That “if it lasts another decade” line was turned into Autocar’s headline: “Bugatti’s W16 engine will live on ‘for next decade’, says boss.” That’s not exactly what Winkelmann said. The guy (who never answered my questions about that rumour of a Ducati-Audi hypercar with desmodromic valves at an auto show a few years back) was more generally talking about how internal combustion engines would stay desirable at the top end of the collector world as they get regulated out of the market. And that’s what Winkelmann really got into: these cars and their technology manifest themselves principally as investment pieces. Per Autocar:
“The W16 has, in my opinion, an opportunity for the future. It’s a USP which is not diminishing in value.” He added that Volkswagen Group boss Herbert Diess “knows the value of a W16 engine”.
“If there is hybridisation, the battery will be replaced but it won’t be original. The internal combustion engine is something that will grow in value. People are buying Bugattis because they want to enjoy the ultimate performance but also - and this is legitimate - because it’s an investment.
These statements aren’t wrong in the slightest, it’s just annoying to hear someone talk about these peerless performance cars as assets not vehicles. As each mile ticks away on the odometer, what you hear is less the quad-turbo W16 sucking in air so much as money flying out of the tailpipe.