The masterpiece: Bugatti W16 Mistral

He's like the wind: With the newly unveiled Mistral W16, legendary luxury brand Bugatti ends its internal combustion era in a more than befitting manner - and finally shows us an open-top version of its Chiron architecture. And before you flinch: Naturally, all 99 planned vehicles have already been sold. Of course.
Text Marko Knab
Photo Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S.

At Bugatti, they know how to build an artistic and equally potent automobile - a car like the Mistral W16, in fact, which was unveiled today as part of the »Monterrey Car Week.« The latest creation from Molsheim draws both its name and its inspiration from one of the most famous winds in France: powerful, straightforward, legendary - and sometimes permanently stormy. Which is only logical at this point, since we're talking about the only open-air offshoot of the Chiron era. And the very last vehicle designed around the iconic W16 engine. You could also say: Here is the masterpiece of the Alsatians before they set off for electric realms under the leadership of Mate Rimac. Here are the key facts and background.

His inspiration:

The central model for the W16 Mistral was the Bugatti Type 57 Grand Raid with special bodywork from Gangloff. Built in 1934, the sporty roadster bore flowing forms and aerodynamic lines, which were also evident in the headrests. Its elegant color combination is also legendary: Painted black and yellow, it used one of Ettore Bugatti's favorite color combinations. In other words: the perfect inspiration for the »W16 Mistral«. The roadster concept was also fitting, since a good 40 percent of all Bugattis were designed and delivered as open-top cars anyway.

His uniqueness:

At this point, one has to admit: 99 examples of the 5-million-euro car will be built. So to speak of »unique« here is bold. And yet each vehicle is very special - not only because of the equipment, which certainly varies from customer to customer, but also because of its basic characteristics: 1,600 hp, a good eight liters of displacement and air intake manifolds directly behind the passengers' heads. They also function as roll bars and breathe in a good 70,000 liters of air per minute at full power, as Mate Rimac reveals. Combined with the wastegate of the turbos, this should create one of the most monumental soundscapes in the automotive world.

His goal:

To be the fastest, most luxurious - and ultimate - roadster. This is how briefly and aptly Bugatti's self-imposed objective can be formulated. It aims to follow in the footsteps of the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse, which set a world record for open-top and road-legal vehicles in 2013 with a speed of 408.84 km/h. To achieve this, the W16 Mistral uses the same drive system as the Chiron Super Sport 300+, which achieved a top speed of 490 kilometers per hour. So the omens are good - and the probability of a new record borders on certainty. After all, we are talking, once again as a reminder, about Bugatti.

His design:

Bugatti sees itself as synonymous with top performance and beauty simultaneously. For the last production model in the company's history with an internal combustion engine, the challenges were therefore particularly great, reveals Achim Anscheid, Head of Design: »We were aware that the W16 Mistral will forever have a significance in Bugatti's history - because it is the last time that perhaps the greatest automotive powertrain will be used in a production vehicle. We, as a design team, felt tremendous pressure to develop styling that would immediately convey this significant moment. That's why we took inspiration from some of the most beautiful roadsters in Bugatti's history.«

The result is something to behold: »To reflect the new character of the W16 Mistral, we also completely redesigned the front end, following the vertical lines of our special models such as Divo and La Voiture Noire. The vertically arranged headlights are completely bespoke and the famous horseshoe grille has been made more three-dimensional, deeper and wider. At the rear, we took on the challenge of creating a striking yet more elegant version of the ›Bolide‹ X taillight motif that has forever defined the world of automotive design.«

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