Bugatti has been teasing its Vision Gran Turismo video game car for several days now, inspiring some hope that the automaker would finally break from its decade-old Veyron styling and show something fresh. Sadly, its Vision Gran Turismo is less new design and more made-over Veyron. Still, when you start off with the level of performance the Veyron brings, you don't need to go too crazy to compete with 2,600-hp SRTs and laser-projected Chevys.
When we first heard about Bugatti's Vision Gran Turismo, we were hoping the hypercar maker would unshackle some styling creativity. The Veyron bowed out earlier this year, and the Vision GT seemed like the perfect opportunity for Bugatti to experiment with some new ideas before releasing a Veyron sucessor next year.
Bugatti's own words suggest a different approach: "Although the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo will be racing in a class in which the cars generally have little or no relationship to real road vehicles, and their designs therefore are far more extreme and performance-oriented than that of a street-legal car, two things were important to the design team: First, the virtual car should look unmistakably like a Bugatti and completely embody the brand values of 'Art, Forme, Technique', and second, every part of the vehicle should have a real function."
It looks like a Bugatti, alright – an updated Veyron with an aftermarket aero kit, to be exact. In the end, we guess it's commendable that Bugatti chose to make a realistic track car for a Gran Turismo world that's become laden with over-the-top, sometimes ridiculous fantasy cars. The car gains its race-ready performance from a series of extreme but grounded-in-reality aerodynamics improvements, such as the huge rear wing, central fin inspired by the 1936 Type 57 Atlantic, front splitter, side skirts and numerous vents.
The overall look may be closely related to the Veyron, but Bugatti has executed a number of new styling elements. The front-end shows a more triangular, race car-inspired hood design shooting its way into the classic horseshoe grille. The grille takes on life in three dimensions, propped up by the massive front splitter. The eight-eyed headlights, window-wrapping horseshoe side intakes, rear-end design and show car wheels also give the Vision GT a unique identity. The car's two-tone blue paint job is an homage to the Le Mans-winning Type 57 G Tank from the late 30s.
"We wanted to develop a virtual race car for our fans which is a genuine Bugatti down to the last detail and radiates the unrestricted values of the brand,” Bugatti designers explain. "We hope that the gamers will have just as much fun racing the car as we did in developing it."
Bugatti doesn't say what type of onscreen engine power those gamers will be having fun with, but when your standard is a 987+ hp quad-turbo 8.0-liter W16, your car's all but guaranteed to be a virtual contender. Perhaps Bugatti will shed more light on the engine specs and other details at the Frankfurt Motor Show, where its Vision GT show car will join the Hyundai N 2025 Vision GT in making a world premiere.
One question that probably won't be answered until next year is how closely the Vision Gran Turismo's design relates to the Veyron successor. The rear-end looks quite similar to one of the spy shots that is floating around out there, and we could see elements like the narrow headlights and bold horseshoe grille being integrated into the production car. The latest reports suggest that the car, thought to be named the Chiron, will debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show next March.
For now, we'll have to settle for getting a look at the Vision Gran Turismo show car in Frankfurt. We'll be there to bring you any and all additional details about this car and the show's other highlights.