Is the new Bugatti BgR-79 worth the wait? ExecAir Review takes her up and tests her out.
Although Bugatti is the name in medium-haul, exo-atmospheric shuttles, the marque comes late to the crowded S3H (Single Seat, Short Hop) market. Fiercely competitive, with the likes of Mercedes-Dornier, Bombardier Aerospace and Saab all well established, the firm’s decision to launch its own vehicle surprised many although its purchase of a 35% stake in the well-regarded SprintAvia design company last fall signalled movement toward this arena. What, then, to make of the result?
The beautifully slippery hull shape holds livery well – black and maroon with chrome detail in our example. This is luxury for the Eastasian and Pan America market, yes, but the BgR-79 could hold its own in the Old World too. The high, rear-mounted wing gives good clearance for the single gull-wing door to the executive saloon on the starboard side and that for the crew cabin to port; their asymmetric design is a pleasing touch of individuality.
A fully automatic power-assisted seat in the former eases boarding even further, with Bugatti’s patented Comfort Curve restraint and relaxation technology embracing you perfectly. Our interior was richly upholstered in butter-soft maroon hide, though a wide range of options is available. There is a surprising amount of storage given the model’s compact size. The standard comms and work suite provided – satnet, iAVE, telepresence – is perfectly functional, though Bugatti expect most purchasers to specify their own or take advantage of the many after-market suppliers. A defence and protection system is also offered for high-threat environments, including laser and missile countermeasures, ballistic shielding and Cocoon safety and escape cell. The comprehensive flight management system includes manual (human/robot), command (including remote) or pre-programmed modes, with emergency assistance and autopilot reversion for each.
Once fired up, that door closing with a satisfying sound, our unmanned test flight began with a flawless, near silent jump-off that showed the Rolls-Royce powerpack to good effect. As we moved through the climb out progression was insistent but controlled. A couple of sharp turns and one strong pull-up, accomplished with minimum kick or skip, demonstrated the integration of airframe, engine and controls that is such a feature of Bugatti’s larger aircraft. Flight was flight was effortless and transition smooth. At the end of the session touch-down was almost un-noticeable, with the automatic lighting changes, seat adjustment and door opening a nice touch.
Of course a ten-minute loop at 5000 metres altitude on a closed circuit means we never truly pressed the BgR-79, but the model has speed and punch whilst leaving the passenger unperturbed. And more than that, it simply feels right. With a good range and decent equipment fit, it’s a very solid package that puts Bugatti front and centre with the rest.