Middle East ‘has highest Bugatti density in the world’

The Bugatti Chiron: ‘Every third car is sold in the region.”
Updated 27 November 2016

Middle East ‘has highest Bugatti density in the world’

London: Dr. Stefan Brungs, member of the board of management of Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. for sales, marketing, and customer service, confirmed in an exclusive interview with Arab News that a third of Chiron super sports cars sold so far went to the Middle East region.
The Chiron exceeds the success of the previous model, the Veyron which sold a quarter of its total sales in the region.
He added that the Middle East has “the highest Bugatti density” in the world.
He believes Saudi Arabia has “many super car collectors” which the company endeavors to cater for them.
The typical Bugatti buyer, according to Dr. Brungs, is an “ultra-high-net-worth individual and car enthusiast who has a great passion for the brand.”

These are highlights of the interview:

How important is the Gulf region for Bugatti and how many Veyron cars have you sold there — how many showrooms do you have in the region?
The Gulf region is one of Bugatti’s strongest markets in the world.
Per capita the Middle East has by far the highest Bugatti density.
Few other regions have such a high appreciation for the most exclusive and most luxurious car brand of the world.
Every fourth Bugatti Veyron was sold to a customer in the Middle East.
The Chiron has started even more successfully.
With four dealer partners in the region we are excellently positioned here.

Of the Chirons sold so far, how many have gone to the Middle East, approximately?

Right now we have orders for more than 200 cars of the total production run of 500. Thereof roughly a third has been signed for by customers from the Middle East. And this although our customers have had no opportunity so far to experience the fantastic driving properties of the Chiron.

Do you have a presence in the Saudi market and how important is that market to Bugatti?

End of last year we have partnered up with the “Premium Collection” group of Saudi Arabia.
This new partnership underlines the importance of this market to Bugatti.
We highly appreciate and understand that there are many super car collectors within Saudi Arabia and are confident that with our newly established partner and their network we are able to cater to this exclusive audience.

How successful is the Bugatti Lifestyle Collection and why did you find it necessary to launch in in 2013?

The Ettore Bugatti Collection was launched as a major step in Bugatti’s brand extension strategy.
With its super sports cars, Bugatti now not only stands for technological leadership and breathtaking performance but also for art, design, luxury and an exclusive lifestyle.
The collection offers the opportunity to transport the aura and myth of this automotive icon into other aspects of life beyond the automobile.
I just came back from the Chiron launch in Japan where I saw many of our customers wearing beautiful pieces from our lifestyle collection.
It is great to see that our customers, not only in Japan but in general, enjoy being part of the Bugatti lifestyle which ranges from clothing, watches, furniture and luggage, to boats and villas.
Also our collaboration with Giorgio Armani for some exceptional menswear pieces and accessories is a huge success.

Who are the typical buyers of Bugatti cars and does the company organize any calendar activities for them?
Our customers form an exclusive group of automobile collectors who are searching for the very best and for sustainable investments.
They are ultra high-net-worth individuals and car enthusiasts who have a great passion for the brand and what it stands for today — cutting edge-technologies, outstanding contemporary design and benchmark-creating performance.
Purchasing a Bugatti super sports car includes the membership of the Bugatti family.
The customer then has the option of taking part in luxury brand events and benefiting from special offers that are reserved only for members of this exclusive club.
We recently hosted a Bugatti Grand Tour here in the Middle East starting in Dubai via Abu Dhabi to Oman, also with customers from Saudi Arabia.

Apart from sheer engine power and torque, what new technologies are adapted in the Chiron?

The Chiron is a super sports car of a new dimension in many respects.
Bugatti has adopted a holistic approach to take the unique selling points of the Veyron to a completely new level.
There is practically no area in which we have not become significantly better.
Developing a car with so much horsepower and bringing this power on the road with the best handling possible and most luxury and comfort you can dream of is an extremely challenging endeavor.
This requires the best technologies and high-end, lightweight materials that ensure maximum performance and endurance for each part of the vehicle: the engine, drivetrain, brakes, heat management, aerodynamics, just to name a few.
For instance, we introduced the Bugatti 2-stage turbocharging in the Chiron and a unique combination of performance-relevant features, such active air brake, adaptive chassis, active aerodynamics.

Would Bugatti ever consider alternative powertrains/alternative energy in the future?

Bugatti has established itself as the ultimate super sports car brand that stands for ground-breaking technologies and intelligent solutions that nobody else in the car industry has developed and implemented before.
This includes engine technologies as well. Our overriding goal is to reach maximum performance and top speed. Here we want to further increase our leading position.
If we cannot achieve our future performance goals by using traditional means, alternative technologies will be an option.
Then we will make careful choices, which will also make our customers happy. For them we build our cars. 

Will Bugatti ever evolve to be a company that produces more than one type of car in the future?

No. Bugatti will remain a one-model brand.

Does Bugatti take part in any sporting events in order to prove its capabilities in a practical way?

Motorsport is in our genes. However, we do not need it today. In the Chiron, we have the ultimate super sports car, which underlines our leading position in power and performance. Involvement in motorsport could not improve our sporting credentials.

Can you explain the essence of the Bugatti philosophy of “Art, Form and Technique“?

Bugatti is the brand of a family of artists who distinguished themselves in an environment where other automotive brands were operated by entrepreneurs with a purely technical background. Art and design played an important role in the family.
Carlo Bugatti, the father of company founder Ettore, was famous for his masterpieces in the fields of architecture, painting and furniture design.
Ettore’s brother Rembrandt was a renowned sculptor.
Ettore Bugatti combined his technical innovations with this strong artistic influence on his work as a designer of automobiles.
He created a series of vehicles which were far ahead of their time and which are today among the most valuable classic cars in the world.

Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII review: The car of kings and presidents

Updated 20 May 2020

Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII review: The car of kings and presidents

  • Our reviewer gets behind the wheel of the ultimate symbol of motoring power and luxury

DUBAI: You can reel off all the petrolhead data you like about the Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII — 6.75 liters, 560 brake horse power, V12 twin-turbo engine, 900 newtons of torque and a maximum speed of 250kph — but all of that pales into insignificance before the Spirit of Ecstasy.

The classic sculpture that sits on top of the hood tells you this is a Rolls-Royce, probably the best car in the world. And it is not just any old Rolls, either. This is a Phantom, the British carmaker’s top-of-the-range, most elite model.

Phantoms have been conveying kings, presidents and other rulers for decades. When Sir Winston Churchill wanted to impress his new ally, King Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, he gave him a Phantom III variation as a gift. The car is still much loved by royalty throughout the Middle East, and is the ultimate symbol of power, status and luxury.

Our reviewer Frank Kane gets behind the wheel of the ultimate symbol of motoring power and luxury: Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII. (Supplied)

Just getting behind the wheel of one boosts your ego several notches. People turn their heads to stare, nudge their friends to take a look, and take photos for immediate Instagramming. A Phantom owner is an influencer.

For a long time it was the ultimate chauffeur car, and no doubt those who own one will be sufficiently well off to afford a driver, too. But it would be unforgivable to miss out on the opportunity to drive this incredible piece of engineering yourself.

German car manufacturer BMW, which has owned Rolls-Royce since 1998, realizes this and is increasingly aiming the car at the self-drive market.

The one I was lucky enough to drive, courtesy of the AGMC dealership in Dubai, was extra special: an extended wheelbase version, some 22 centimeters longer than a “normal” Phantom. This provides even more space in the back for a head of state to spread out while reviewing crucial documents, host a mini-summit, or simply relax.

You might think a car this big will be difficult to drive, but that is not the case at all. The power- assisted steering is as light as a feather, and the four-wheel steering eases you effortlessly round any sharp curves. The German sensor technology makes parking and maneuvering simple, even for such a big, powerful car.

Our reviewer Frank Kane gets behind the wheel of the ultimate symbol of motoring power and luxury: Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII. (Supplied)

On Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, you really get the chance to put the thoroughbred through its paces. An eight-speed automatic gearbox zips you from standing to 100kmh in 5.4 seconds, which is fast enough to overtake almost anything else on the road, even in super sports car-crazy Dubai.

When you hit 120kmh, the windshield display politely reminds you of the fact. It needs to do that, because inside the car is as silent as if you were still stationary. Engine noise is virtually non-existent even at high speed, and the suspension is so perfectly balanced you feel like you are gliding along on a cloud, more like a hover vehicle than rubber-on-the road.

Where to begin on the interior? The dashboard on the Phantom I drove was a classy display of Burgundy red leather — matching the seat and deep-pile caret — and polished chrome instruments.

It oozes British craftsmanship mixed with German technology. The dash itself can be customized — “bespoke”, as Rolls-Royce calls it — with any number of stylish motifs. In the Arabian Gulf, Islamic calligraphic themes are popular, as are ocean features such as shells and waves.

Our reviewer Frank Kane gets behind the wheel of the ultimate symbol of motoring power and luxury: Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII. (Supplied)

The rear is like a double-seat, first-class cabin on an aircraft, complete with in-flight entertainment in seat-back consoles, a drinks cabinet and curtains that close at the touch of a button to envelop you in luxury. If you want to doze during a long, chauffeured journey, the starlight ceiling display should help you drop off.

“I could live here,” said one passenger I treated to a drive. Which is appropriate, because the Phantom VIII will cost about the same as a reasonably sized Dubai apartment. About AED 2.2m ($600,000) will get you started, before adding those “bespoke” features.

For these, the sky is the limit.

I’ve driven quite a few luxury cars in Dubai and make a habit, when I finish a test-drive, of telling the showroom staff: “That’s the best car I’ve ever driven.” They appreciate the compliment, even when I am faking it.

With the Phantom VIII, I sincerely meant it.