Bugatti will bow-out its iconic W16 engine with the Mistral, a roadster based on the Chiron hypercar, as the firm heads towards a hybridised and electric future.
The Mistral is not simply a Chiron with the top cut off, Bugatti designers insist, but a new car, with a tweaked monocoque, and a fresh design that takes cues from the one-off Voiture Noire, and Bolide and Divo concepts. It is priced at €5 million (£4.2m) and limited to just 99 models, all of which are already sold out.
Officially called the Bugatti W16 Mistral, it is a swansong for the 8.0-litre powerplant, and uses ther 1578bhp version that powered the Chiron Super Sport 300+ to a record-breaking 304.773mph in 2019. Bugatti has indicated that it intends the Mistral to become the world’s fastest roadster, a record held by the 265.6mph Hennessey Venom GT Spyder.
The roadster also “completes the circle” of the W16 era, design director Achim Anscheidt told Autocar, which started in 2005 with the iconic Bugatti Veyron. Although the engine powering the Mistral has been heavily uprated since that first outing, now with four turbochargers. Achim added that the W16 was the “ultimate selling point” for the hypercar firm
It’s, in typical Bugatti fashion, an expensive-looking machine, clad in carbon, and with a more sportier feel than the Chiron on which it is based.
It also gets two huge air intakes directly above the seats, which Bugatti Rimac chairman Mate Rimac says, connects you to the car and the W16 engine like no other Bugatti ever has.
“It’s immediately imbued with a sense of exclusivity,” added Anscheidt. “We have created the last of its kind. The story of this car is that, apart from being a roadster, it breathes Bugatti DNA in utmost simplicity and elegance.”
At the front, the Mistral gets distinctive headlights with a vertically stacked four-LED design, and the iconic horseshoe grille is widened and made to look deeper, such as on the Divo. It also gets a similar bonnet design to the concept, albeit less raucous.
A distinctive wrap-around windscreen which blends into the side windows, similar to what was previewed on the La Voiture Noire, gives the roadster a unique look and creates a “visor effect”, Bugatti says.
However, it is the rear of the car that “challenged” designers the most, and a road-legal version of the Bolide’s distinctive X-shaped rear lights has made it to production. A square exhaust, as seen on both the Chiron and Veyron, replaces the double twin pipes used on the Chiron Super Sport.
Inside, the interior is near-identical to its sibling, but with a special gear shifter, which emcopasses within amber the famous ‘dancing elephant’ originally designed by sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti, brother of Bugatti founder Ettore Bugatti. This can be customised to hold anything the customer choses.
A roof cover will also come with the car, but it won’t be usable when driving, and purely for keeping occupants dry, and the interior safe, while stationary.
Aerodynamics play a big role here too, with a lack of roof requiring complex designs of how to keep the car planted, as well as where the air will flow, deputy design director Frank Heyl said.
This has resulted in a number of unique features, including guiding air flow through gaps between the four LEDs of the headlights, which exits at the side doors, then flowing again through side intakes which then leave between the rear lights.
Heyl said: “Customers begged us to do an open-top car, and that is why we took the record engine and put it into something that gives you the sensation of an open-top car, where you can hear the induction noise and the turbo. The experience is just amazing.
“I think it is a respectable end to the Chiron-platform era.”