Bugatti bids farewell to the W16 engine with the Mistral roadster

With electrification taking over the automotive world, it’s no surprise that the W16 engine will be retired, perhaps sooner rather than later. Well, the day has finally come, but Bugatti is at least giving the 8.0-litre monster of an engine a proper send off with the new W16 Mistral.

The W16 engine is now synonymous with the Bugatti brand, having been in every model ever since the introduction of the Veyron back in 2005. Now in its final iteration, the eight-litre, quad turbocharged mill delivers a mighty 1,600 hp and 1,600 Nm – or 60% more horsepower than the one first introduced on the Veyron.

There really couldn’t be a more perfect way to send off the W16 than a topless roadster, and with that amount of power under your right foot, Bugatti says that the Mistral is the “ultimate roadster”, despite being the first – and last – topless model in the Chiron era.

With that being said, however, Bugatti says the W16 Mistral is much more than just a Chiron with its roof chopped off; the design and existing monocoque chassis have all been completely reengineered exclusively for the model, so performance isn’t compromised despite losing a large part of its structure.

In terms of design, the W16 Mistral draws inspiration from the many roadsters in Bugatti’s history, with the most prominent one being the Type 57 Roadster Grand Raid. The majority of the styling touches can be traced back to the 1934 model, including the two aerodynamic humps behind the headrests, the roof-mounted air scoops, and the visor-style V-shaped windscreen that visually wraps around the A-pillars for a clean, motorsports-inspired look.

Even the paint job on the all-new W16 Mistral harks back to the Grand Raid – the black-and-yellow duo-tone livery is inspired by a particular unit of the antique model sitting in the Louwman Museum in Den Haag, and is said to be one of Ettore Bugatti’s favourite combinations which he frequently used on many of his own personal cars.

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Aside from the older roadsters, Bugatti’s designers also tried to bring some of the brand’s more modern styling touches onto the W16 Mistral. The more upright horseshoe grille is inspired by the Divo and La Voiture Noire, while the rear-end also gets the X-theme taillight from the Bolide, which was named “most beautiful hypercar” in 2021.

These design touches aren’t merely for show, either. The headlights’ three-dimensional surface helps funnel air through to the wheel arch to help improve aerodynamic drag, while the wider grille also allows the high-temperature engine radiator to be fully fed purely from one intake, leaving the two side intakes to focus solely on the intercoolers.

The X-taillight vents the side oil coolers through ducts connecting the triangular negative space, while the ram induction air scoop behind the headrests is also built with a bespoke carbon fibre structure to act as a roll hoop in case of a rollover – the structure is able to support the car’s entire weight.

And of course, with the air intake being right behind the drivers’ ears, the air scoops also help create an orchestral aural experience on the W16 Mistral, with the rumbling eight-litre’s displacement intake noise being heard during throttle, and the turbochargers’ blow-off valve at throttle lift.

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The interior of the W16 Mistral is based on the Bugatti Chiron, but honed to ensure that everything is functional and visible even when the driver is being face-blasted with wind at 420 km/h. As usual, the highest quality materials are being used here including titanium, milled aluminium, and leather, but the main highlight of the Mistral’s cabin is found on the gear shifter.

Machined from a solid block of aluminium, the W16 Mistral’s gear shifter features a touch of wood to elevate its luxuriousness, alongside an amber insert featuring Rembrandt Bugatti’s famous ‘dancing elephant’ sculpture. Iterations of this sculpture adorned the bonnet of the legendary Type 41 Royale, which Bugatti says is the “most luxurious roadster ever created”.

Only 99 examples of the Bugatti W16 Mistral will be built, and they’re priced at EUR5 million nett (approx. RM22.3 million). But even if you are a billionaire, chances are you won’t be able to get your hands on one for now, as the entire production run of the limited-edition swansong model has already been sold out.



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