The new Bugatti Mistral roadster will be the final W-16–powered car from the legendary brand.
Bugatti says the roofless Mistral, which is based on the Chiron coupe, will be the fastest open-top production car in the world.
The Mistral costs $5 million and deliveries should start in 2024, but it's already sold out.
The Bugatti quad-turbo W-16 is an engineering masterpiece and a symbol of pure excess, but the end of the incredible engine is nigh. When Volkswagen Group ceded control of Bugatti to Croatian EV maker Rimac, it was a clear acknowledgment that the ultra-luxury brand's future will be fully electric. As the last model to feature the W-16, the new Bugatti Mistral—freshly unveiled at Pebble Beach during Monterey Car Week—is the car that signals that transition.
Although it carries a different name, the Mistral also completes the life cycle of the Bugatti Chiron, as it's essentially a convertible version of that hypercar, which hasn’t been offered until now. Only 99 Mistrals will be produced and priced at $5 million apiece, based on the current U.S. exchange rate. Bugatti says they're already sold out ahead of deliveries that are slated to start in 2024.
Although it's closely related to the Chiron, the Mistral is far more than a roofectomy. The design team gave it a radical new front end, one that evokes the predatory design language pioneered by two previous ultra-limited editions—the Bugatti Divo and the Bugatti La Voiture Noire. The Mistral is not a natural beauty, with fender-mounted lights and the trademark horseshoe grille at the end of an elongated snout. Still, it has more road presence than a parade float.
The Mistral’s cut-down windshield curves like a visor and matches up to shallow side panels. A roof isn't shown in any of the official images, but Bugatti told Car and Driver that the car will be offered with a temporary clip-in panel rather than a full top. The last open-topped Bugatti, the Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse, was effectively a targa with a lift-off roof section. The Mistral can be considered permanently converted. Behind the cockpit are twin raised intakes that channel air to the engine compartment while adding a ram effect. They are connected by a high-level spar. At the rear, the X-shaped taillight elements cross almost the entire width of the car and incorporate illuminated red Bugatti branding.
The engine is the existing 8.0-liter W-16, which features four turbochargers and produces 1578 horsepower. That's the same output as the Chiron Super Sport 300+ that set an outright production-car speed record in 2019. Power reaches the road through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive. Bugatti hasn't released detailed performance claims for the Mistral but did say the car will have a top speed of at least 260 mph. We’re also told the company wants the Mistral to “become the fastest roadster in the world." However, that would require officially beating the 254-mph record set by the Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse in 2013.
The Mistral's interior design appears to be what's least changed from the Chiron, sharing the same dashboard, instrument cluster, steering wheel, and center console. At least this should make it a comfortable place to spend time, although a much breezier one compared with its coupe counterpart. The car shown at Pebble Beach wears a striking yellow and black color scheme that was inspired by the similarly roofless 1934 Type 57 Grand Raid. The latter had bodywork by coachbuilder Gangloff, and it's now part of the collection at the Louwman Museum in the Netherlands.
Bugatti’s W-16 was willed into existence by Ferdinand Piëch, one of the most famous and ambitious automotive engineers of all time. Piëch's goal was to create what he believed would be the most powerful engine ever fitted to a homologated road car, something that both the Veyron and Chiron achieved. With the end of the combustion era rapidly approaching, the 16-cylinder's position on top seems unassailable. Once production of the Mistral is complete, Bugatti will become an EV brand, albeit one that still makes ultra-luxury cars with ultra-high performance.
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