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Best of 2020

Nine of the best super-saloon concept cars

Everyone loves a super-saloon. Here are the best ones that never made production

Nine of the best super-saloon concept cars
  1. Bugatti 16C Galibier

    Revealed in 2010, the Bugatti Galibier so nearly became a production reality. It was 5.3 metres long and had the same W16 8.0-litre engine as the Veyron, but with twin superchargers instead of four turbos for better low-end torque. Bugatti put the top speed at around 217mph, and suggested that if they were to put the über-limo into production, it would cost well north of £1million. Of course.

    When we had a poke around the concept in 2010 Bugatti was making all the right noises. The go-ahead to build up to 3,000 cars was apparently given in 2011 by then boss Wolfgang Dürheimer. But in 2014, after Dürheimer had left the company, his successor Wolfgang Schreiber dashed our hopes. “We have talked many, many times about the Galibier, but this car will not come because […] it would confuse our customers,” he told us. “There will not be a four-door Bugatti.”

    But rumours of a four-door Bug persisted. Dürheimer had a second stint at the pointy end of Bugatti between 2015 and 2018, and reportedly put the Galibier back on the table. In late 2019 current CEO Stephan Winkelmann told Bloomberg he’d asked VW Group to fund development of a “electric-powered grand tourer or crossover that could seat up to four people”. But with VW allegedly looking to offload Bugatti to Rimac (as part of a complex contra-deal involving Porsche), it’s anyone’s guess what happens next.

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  2. Cadillac Sixteen

    The Cadillac Sixteen is, as you may have guessed from its name, all about numbers. We’re talking 16-cylinders, 13.6-litres, 1,000bhp and 1,000lb ft. Built to pay tribute to the 16-cylinder Caddys of the Thirties, the Sixteen was as much an engineering exercise as a concept. Its engine was built from scratch, using a Corvette V8 as its base, and could shut-down up to 12-cylinders under light loads to save fuel.

    Some elements of the styling made it to production, but the V16 didn’t. Sad times.

  3. Lamborghini Estoque

    Technically impressive as the Urus is, we wish Lamborghini had done the Estoque instead. Revealed at the Paris Motor Show in 2008, the Estoque was a near production-ready super-saloon concept built to gauge public opinion. The concept has the Gallardo’s V10 and all-wheel drive, but Lambo execs hinted the eventual production car could be fitted with a V12, hybrid or diesel. Perish the thought.

    For whatever reason the Estoque never happened, and the four-door Lambo we eventually got was SUV-shaped.

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  4. Peugeot 908 RC

    The 908 RC was weird even by French luxury saloon standards. Which is to say, exceptionally. It is, in essence, a four-door luxury limo with the 5.5-litre twin-turbo V12 diesel engine from Peugeot’s 908 Le Mans racer. Mounted BEHIND the passengers, the engine was good for a hefty 691bhp and 885lb ft of torque.

    Of course it never made production – it was just a publicity stunt to build interest in the 908 racer that would go on to win Le Mans in 2009.

  5. Ferrari Pinin

    Revealed at the 1980 Turin Motor Show to mark Pininfarina’s 50th anniversary, the Pinin (named for Sergio Pininfarina’s father, Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina) was the first-ever four-door Ferrari. And it remains the ONLY four-door Ferrari, save for the special 456s built for the Sultan of Brunei, and until we see the finished Purosangue SUV.

    Enzo was apparently keen to put the Pinin into production, at least initially, but never gave it the green-light.

    Originally it was just a shell, but the Pinin has since been turned into a running vehicle with the flat-12 from a Ferrari 512BB.

    Image: RM Auctions

  6. Bugatti EB112

    Bugatti was a different company in the early Nineties. It was owned not by the VW Group, but by Italian entrepreneur Romano Artioli, and its cars were built in Italy, not France.

    The EB112 would have been Old Bugatti’s second model after the EB110. Revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in 1993, it had a nat-asp 6.0-litre V12, six-speed manual gearbox and all-wheel drive. Production was slated for 1996, but Old Bugatti went bust in 1995 while development of the Giugiaro-designed four-door was still underway.

    It’s thought two or three cars survive, thanks to a Monegasque businessman who bought the part-finished remains when Old Bugatti folded. One was sold at Retromobile in 2016, and it’s believed the other one lives in Russia.

    The concept was updated in the late Nineties, with Bugatti showing a two-door GT called the EB118 and another four-door called the EB218. Both used a W18 engine. 

  7. Ford Interceptor

    Nothing too complicated about the Interceptor. And that’s why we like it. Just a big, rear-wheel drive full-size sedan from the good ol’ US of A. Hardly in the same league as many of the other uber-saloons in this gallery, but it looks superb, so we’re giving it a pass.

    Based on a lengthened Mustang chassis, the Interceptor had a 5.0-litre V8 running on ethanol, with 400bhp and a claimed top speed of around 170mph. Never made production of course – Ford wasn’t in the best shape back in 2006.

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  8. Lotus Eterne

    Dany Bahar joined Lotus from Ferrari in 2009, and within a year announced FIVE new models he wanted to put into production by 2015.

    The Eterne – a four-door Porsche Panamera rival – was one of those concepts. Set to be based on the same platform as one of the other concepts, the Elite 2+2 folding hard-top, it was to have a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 and KERS hybrid system. Production was planned for 2015, with prices starting at around £120,000.

    Bahar was dismissed in 2012, and all five new cars were cancelled.

  9. Jaguar B99 by Bertone

    The Jaguar B99 had very little to do with Jaguar. It was designed and built by Bertone – B for Bertone, 99 for 99 years since the firm was established – as a possible replacement for the X-Type. A BMW 3 Series rival that eschewed Ian Callum’s new design direction (see the XJ, first-gen XF) in favour of something a bit more retro. Looks ace, no?

    Jaguar chose not to accept Bertone’s help, and a few years later we got the Jaguar XE instead.

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