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Bugatti farewells ICE era with 420km/h Mistral

The drop-top model is entirely sold-out, as buyers rush to secure a piece of history

23 Aug 2022

REVIVING a nameplate that last adorned a Maserati model in 1970 – and named for the strong, cold north-westerly wind that blows from southern France into the Gulf of Lion in the northern Mediterranean – comes an all-new, and considerably faster, Mistral.


Spawned from the hyper-car company’s Veyron, a model introduced back in 2005 with a monumental W16 engine that has served as the beating heart of every Bugatti since, the Mistral will serve as a sign-off piece to the whopping quad-turbo 8.0-litre mill as the company prepares for the arrival of its electron-powered range.


From Bugatti’s perspective, the road-going car is special, exclusive, elegant and powerful. In short, it is the very best of its kind.


Bugatti says the Mistral is its “ultimate roadster” with company CEO Mate Rimac – the same man behind the mind-bending Rimac Nevara EV Hypercar – involved in the project from the get-go.


Bugatti and Rimac forged an alliance a couple of years ago to jointly develop new energy hyper-cars and other automotive projects. The Mistral is obviously one of those.


“For the final road going appearance of Bugatti’s legendary W16 engine, we knew we had to create a roadster,” said Mr Rimac.


“Well over 40 per cent of all Bugatti vehicles ever created have been open-top in design, establishing a long lineage of performance icons that – to this day – are revered the world over.


“In the Chiron era to date, there has been no roadster, so the introduction of W16 Mistral continues this W16 legacy for a while into the future, driven by enormous demand from our clients for an all-new way to experience the mighty performance of this iconic engine.


“The W16 Mistral opens the next chapter in the Bugatti roadster story,” he added.


For a car as evocative and important (to Bugatti) as this, the company has given great consideration to the badge it should wear.


It couldn’t be merely a development of the Chiron. The new roadster needed a name associated with freedom, elegance and speed, hence the head nod to the legendary mistral wind.


With the engine so central to this roadster’s character, it stands side-by-side with this mighty wind: the W16 Mistral.


Built around a 1176kW (1600hp) incarnation of the W16 engine first used in the Chiron Super Sport 300+3, Bugatti says the W16 Mistral offers performance unlike any open top car that has gone before.


In its bespoke design and engineering the existing monocoque is not simply cut off above the A-pillars to make way for the new open-top design but has been re-engineered and reshaped to create a more rounded silhouette without compromising performance.


“We know the W16 Mistral will always have significance in the story of Bugatti, marking the last time that perhaps the greatest ever automotive powertrain is used in a road going production car,” said Bugatti design director Achim Anscheidt.


“We, as a design team, felt enormous pressure to deliver styling that immediately conveyed this landmark moment, drawing inspiration from some of the most beautiful roadsters in Bugatti history.”


Their inspiration would be the 1934 Bugatti Type 57 Roadster Grand Raid, a sporting roadster that represents the pinnacle of elegant design.


The W16 Mistral debuts in colours inspired by the Type 57, a warm black with hints of truffle brown and subtle yellow accents throughout.


Not only is it an homage to the iconic coach-built 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 reflect the W16 Mistral’s new character, we totally reinvented its frontal appearance, in line with the vertical layout of our unique or few-off models like Divo and La Voiture Noire,” added Mr Anscheidt.


“It’s immediately imbued with a sense of exclusivity; the vertically stacked headlights are completely bespoke, and the famous horseshoe grille is reimagined to be much more three-dimensional; both deeper and wider.


“At the rear, we challenged ourselves to create a striking but also more elegant iteration of Bolide’s X-theme taillight motif, which forever left its mark on the world of automotive design.”


To develop so-called “incomparable” levels of elegance and excitement, the W16 Mistral features the very latest engineering innovations some courtesy of the Rimac connection.


Bugatti's advanced composite materials are paired with cutting-edge titanium and aluminium 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 420km/h.


The dedication to material quality remains a hallmark of Bugatti design; advanced, lightweight titanium, aluminium 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.


When Bugatti’s previous roadster, the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse set a world speed record of 254.04mph (408.84km/h) in 2013, its 8.0-litre quad-turbo W16 had 882kW (1200hp).


The W16 Mistral has 1176kW, making use of the same power unit that propelled the Chiron Super Sport 300+ to its world-record-breaking speed of 490km/h (304.773mph) in 2019.


There could only be one goal in mind for Bugatti’s Mistral…to become the fastest roadster in the world once more.


“The union of a roadster format and our W16 powertrain is absolute perfection,” added Mr Rimac.


“With the roof removed, and a pair of large air intakes directly behind your head feeding around 70,000 litres of air through the engine every minute at full bore, driving the W16 Mistral connects you to the intricate workings of this revolutionary powertrain like no other Bugatti to date.


“What we also continue with W16 Mistral is a legacy of Bugatti roadsters, each of them incomparable in design, performance and rarity, which stretches right back to the genesis 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, even though the legacy of the road going W16 ends with the W16 Mistral, we continue the legacy of the roadster, first established by Ettore Bugatti more than a century ago,” he concluded.


Only 99 examples of the W16 Mistral will be built, priced at €5.0 million ($A7.32m) apiece. Deliveries are due to begin in 2024.


The entire production run of W16 Mistral is already sold out.

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