Ever since the Veyron was introduced in 2005, the W16 engine has been the heart of every Bugatti. The passenger car that brings the W16 era to an end was always destined to be special: exclusive, elegant and powerful.
It has to be the best of its kind. This is the W16 Mistral: the ultimate roadster.
Mate Rimac, CEO of Bugatti Rimac, states: “For the final appearance of Bugatti's legendary W16 engine, we knew we had to build a roadster. More than 40% of all Bugatti vehicles ever built were open-top, establishing a long line of performance icons that - to this day - are revered around the world. There has been no roadster in the Chiron era until today, so the introduction of the Bugatti W16 Mistral continues this legacy, driven by overwhelming demand from our customers to experience the powerful performance of our iconic engine. The W16 Mistral opens the next chapter in the story of the Bugatti roadster, inspired by a century-long legend."
For a car as evocative and important as this one, a lot of attention was paid to the name it should bear. Far more than a simple development of the Chiron, the roadster needed a name associated with freedom, elegance and speed. The inspiration came from the mistral, a strong wind that blows from the Rhône valley, through the cities of the Cote d'Azur in southern France and into the Mediterranean. And with an engine so central to the character of this roadster, it stands side by side with this powerful wind: the W16 Mistral.
Built around the definitive incarnation of the 1600bhp W16 engine, the W16 Mistral offers performance unlike any open-top car offered to date.
Achim Anscheidt, Bugatti Design Director, points out: "We know that the W16 Mistral will always hold significance in the Bugatti story, marking the last time that perhaps a better automotive powertrain was used in a road-going production car." We, as a design team, felt enormous pressure to deliver a style that would immediately convey this momentous moment, drawing inspiration from some of the most beautiful roadsters in Bugatti's history."
Their muse would be the 1934 Bugatti Type 57 Roadster Grand Raid, a sporty roadster that represents the pinnacle of elegant design. Finished in two-tone black and yellow, it provides the perfect inspiration for this watershed moment in the Bugatti story. The Bugatti W16 Mistral debuts in colors inspired by the Bugatti Type 57 Roadster Grand Raid; warm black with hints of brown and subtle yellow accents. Not only is it a tribute to the iconic body, but also to Ettore Bugatti, who chose the black and yellow combination for many of his personal cars, including his Type 41 Royale. For brand enthusiasts, it's a timeless visual pairing.
The W16 Mistral captures the essence of the Grand Raid's V-shaped windshield and develops it into a modern work of art. The curved windscreen that seemingly wraps around the A-pillars blends seamlessly with the side windows and creates a 'visor' effect that hints at the levels of motorsport performance offered by the W16 Mistral. The windshield itself is a marvel of engineering, curved enough to create a rounded visor design, without distorting the driver's vision. The upper line of the windshield and side windows flows deliberately around the side air intakes. This character line then flows back under the side glass.
Anscheidt continues: "To reflect the new character of the W16 Mistral, we also completely reinvented its front end, in line with the vertical layout of our unique or rare models such as the Divo and La Voiture Noire. It is immediately imbued with a sense of exclusivity; the vertically stacked headlights have been completely customized, and the familiar horseshoe-shaped grille has been reimagined to be much more three-dimensional; both deeper and wider.
Designing a car like the W16 Mistral requires careful practice of Bugatti's 'Form Follows Performance' design mantra, with every component written not only to set new standards for beauty, but also to play a role in achieving entirely new levels of performance.
Frank Heyl, deputy director of design at Bugatti, said: “The headlights themselves are intricately shaped, including a four-light signature that subtly hints at the W16 Mistral's four-wheel drive and four turbochargers. But their three-dimensional surface also functions as an aerodynamic aid that directs air through the light and out through the wheel arches to improve aerodynamic drag."
But the functional design highlights don't end there. The new induction air vents behind the headrests have been developed from the ground up with rigorous rollover tests in mind, so each one is made from a carbon fiber structure that can support the full weight of the car in the event of a rollover. This new intake layout also enriches the driver's W16 experience, accentuating the orchestra between the low, powerful, rumbling
of this sound. It is an unsurpassed auditory sensation in the automotive world.
To develop unparalleled levels of elegance and excitement, the Bugatti W16 Mistral features the latest engineering innovations. Bugatti's advanced composite materials are paired with state-of-the-art 3D printed titanium and aluminum components to ensure striking design, superior performance and rugged reliability.
Detailed analysis of the W16 Mistral's dynamic stiffness allowed engineers to develop lightweight solutions that would ensure optimal handling and performance in the most extreme conditions.
The interior of the Bugatti W16 Mistral has been carefully refined to provide an experience that is both elegant and luxurious, yet functional enough to ensure that all information is easily visible at speeds of up to 420 km/h. Dedication to the quality of materials remains a hallmark of Bugatti design. But in this swan song for W16, there's also a brand new design.
For example, the leather used on the newly designed door panels, meticulously tested and manufactured to Bugatti quality standards with a vision of regular use over a hundred years into the future. And in a nod to the W16 Mistral's illustrious predecessors, the gearbox - made from a solid block of aluminum - with a touch of wood and an amber insert with the famous 'dancing elephant' sculpture locked inside. Iterations of this sculpture featured the hood of the legendary Type 41 Royale.
When Bugatti's last roadster, the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse, set a world speed record of 408.84 km/h in 2013, its 8.0-liter W16 had 1,200 hp. The W16 Mistral has 1600 hp, using the same engine that powered the Chiron Super Sport 300+ to record speed in 2019. There can only be one goal: to become the fastest roadster in the world once again.
Mate Rimac continues: "The unification of the roadster format and our W16 powertrain is absolute perfection." With the roof removed and a pair of large air intakes directly behind your head feeding around 70,000 liters of air through the engine every minute at full capacity, driving the Bugatti W16 Mistral connects you to the intricate workings of this revolutionary drive like no other Bugatti has ever done. "What we're also continuing with the W16 Mistral is the legacy of Bugatti roadsters, each unmatched in design, performance and rarity, stretching back to the origins of Bugatti." The Type 40, Type 41 Royale, Type 55 Roadster, Type 57 Roadster Grand Raid that inspired this car, or even the incredible elegance of the Type 57SC Corsica Roadster - Bugatti has always been associated with the purity of open-top driving. So, although the W16's legacy on the road ends with the W16 Mistral, we continue the legacy of the roadster, first established by Ettore Bugatti over a century ago."
Only 99 examples of the Bugatti W16 Mistral will be produced, priced at €5 million net, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2024. The entire production run of the W16 Mistral has already been sold out.