Bugatti powerful W16 engine will be retiring in the coming years, but not sailing quietly into the sunset. It will be powered by the latest street-legal car: the Mistral roadster, which prides itself on being the first convertible of the Chiron era. Built with customer requirements in mind, the Bugatti Mistral is a striking limited-edition model that looks poised to add another speed record to the French firm’s case. I spoke to some of the people who created it, including Bugatti design director Achim Anscheit and head of design Frank Hale, to get the full story behind the fall.
“For the ultimate road version of the legendary Bugatti W16 engine, we knew we had to create a roadster. More than 40% of all Bugatti cars ever built were open-tops,” said Bugatti-Rimac CEO Matte Rimac. Hale added that customers “begged” Bugatti to create a convertible based on the Chiron, and that fulfilling that wish was a “bucket list” for his team members.
Power for the Mistral comes from the same turbocharged 8.0-liter 16-cylinder engine that drove Chiron Super Sport 300+ to record 304.773 mph in 2019. It makes 1,600 horsepower and spins all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Bugatti estimates that the Mistral’s top speed will be approximately 261 miles per hour (420 kilometers per hour). Will this number be verified? Hell yeah! “There can only be one goal in mind: to become the fastest roadster in the world one more timeBugatti promised in a statement.
While the Mistral is based on the Chiron, Bugatti has made several important structural changes to compensate for the inevitable loss of structural rigidity caused by the roof being cut off. Hale explained that the monocoque sills and transmission tunnel have been strengthened and that the a- and b-pillar structures are new, although the front crash structure is the same. And these two models deliberately do not have common features of external style.
“We had the pressure of creating something valuable and valuable in a car collector’s garage. It’s not just a fashion statement, “Oh, let’s make a roadster!” Or, even worse, “Let’s take Chiron and just cut it up,” which would look awful. It burdens us with the responsibility that this is the last of its kind of that generation and how it will be in these collections,” Anscheit said. Autoblog.
Up front, the Mistral features a reworked version of Bugatti’s horseshoe-shaped grille and headlights with four LED strips (a configuration chosen as a tribute to the four-wheel drive system and four turbochargers), while X-shaped lights characterize the rear. However, there is much more to design than meets the eye. Hale explained that his team, for example, added air curtains behind the headlights. And they separated the air intakes that feed air to the engine from those that feed air to the oil coolers to avoid making the Mistral too wide. The former are now directly above the front passengers, while the latter remain on the quarter panels. This setup brings several unexpected benefits.
“The driver can hear the air intake system and the exhaust valves of the turbo, and it’s very nice stylistically; it reminds us of Vitesse,” Hale said.
Interior designers kept the Chiron’s basic layout with a few exceptions, such as new, more ergonomic seats. Also check out the gear selector: it’s made of wood and has an amber insert with a replica of Rembrandt Bugatti’s Dancing Elephant sculpture. Bugatti told me that the part is “just a proposal for a demo car,” though they added that they would find a way to bring it to production if customers requested it.
What if it rains? Act quickly; The Mistral will come with what Anscheidt described as an “emergency roof,” but it won’t have a fixed top.
Bugatti will limit production of the Mistral to 99 units, although an additional car will be produced for testing. The price is set at €5 million before taxes and options (about $5 million at the current conversion rate), and the entire production run has already been booked. And still a lot hypercars allowed only on the streets through slots, Bugatti has made significant efforts to fully certify the Mistral worldwide.
Is Mistral the end of W16? Like. It is the last car with a W16 engine to be street-legal, Anscheidt explained that increasingly strict regulations have accompanied the big engine from the stage, but the engine will also run limited edition Bolide which was designed exclusively for track use.
“Honestly, I can do whatever I want, but if we didn’t have the W16 engine [these cars] won’t cost half the money,” Anscheidt said. “The W16 is the ultimate [unique selling proposition] for the modern Bugatti brand, from 2005 to the present day. It means something to us. [The Mistral] it’s a tribute to that engine, and now we’re moving on to the next generation and thinking about something else.”