Ever since the Veyron was introduced in 2005, the W16 engine has been the beating heart of every Bugatti. The roadgoing car that brings the W16 era to an end was always destined to be special: exclusive, elegant and powerful. It must be the very best of its kind. This is W16 Mistral: the ultimate roadster.
For a car as evocative and important as this, great consideration went into the badge it should wear. Far more than simply a development of the Chiron, the roadster needed a name associated with freedom, elegance and speed. Inspiration came from the mistral, a powerful wind that blows from the Rhône River valley, through the chic towns of the Côte d’Azur in southern France and into the Mediterranean. And with the engine so central to this roadster’s character, it stands side-by-side with this mighty wind: W16 Mistral.
Built around the definitive 1,600 PS incarnation of the W16 engine, first used in the Chiron Super Sport 300+*, the W16 Mistral offers performance unlike any open top car that has gone before. In its design and engineering it is completely bespoke; the existing monocoque is not simply cut off above the A-pillars to make way for the new open-top design but has been reengineered and reshaped to create a more rounded silhouette without compromising performance.
Their muse would be the 1934 Bugatti Type 57 Roadster Grand Raid, a sporting roadster that represents the pinnacle of elegant design. Marked out by its dual aerodynamic headrests, flowing backwards into the bodywork, and a cut down V-shaped windscreen, this particular Grand Raid – on display at the Louwman Museum in Den Haag – is effortlessly sophisticated with an understated sportiness. Finished in a duo-tone black and yellow livery, it would provide the perfect inspiration for this watershed moment in the Bugatti story.
The W16 Mistral debuts in colors inspired by the Bugatti Type 57 Roadster Grand Raid; a warm black with hints of truffle brown and subtle yellow accents throughout. Not only is it an homage to the iconic coachbuilt body, but also to Ettore Bugatti, who chose the black and yellow combination for many of his personal cars, including his Type 41 Royale. To enthusiasts of the brand, it is a timeless visual pairing.
To develop incomparable levels of elegance and excitement, the W16 Mistral features the very latest engineering innovations. Bugatti’s advanced composite materials are paired with cutting-edge titanium and aluminum 3D-printing to ensure striking design, ultimate performance and robust reliability. A detailed analysis of the W16 Mistral’s dynamic stiffness allowed engineers to develop lightweight solutions that would ensure optimum handling and performance under the most extreme conditions.
The W16 Mistral’s interior takes its lead from Chiron, carefully honed to deliver an experience that’s both elegant and luxurious, but also functional enough to ensure all information is easily visible at up to 420 km/h. The dedication to material quality remains a hallmark of Bugatti design; advanced, lightweight titanium, aluminum components milled from a solid block and soft, blemish-free leathers. But in this swansong to the W16, there are also brand new design flourishes.
There is an intricate woven leather used on newly designed door panels, meticulously tested and produced 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 forebears, the gear shifter – machined from a solid block of aluminum – features a touch of wood and an amber insert with Rembrandt Bugatti’s famous ‘dancing elephant’ sculpture locked within. Iterations of this sculpture adorned the bonnet of the legendary Type 41 Royale; the most luxurious roadster ever created.
Underneath the gargantuan side opening hood of the Royale was an ambitious 12.7-liter straight-eight engine, the likes of which the world had never seen before. And the W16 Mistral’s engine is equally ambitious – the only W16 powertrain in automotive use today.
Only 99 examples of the W16 Mistral will be built, priced at 5 million euros net, with deliveries due to begin in 2024. The entire production run of W16 Mistral is already sold out.