2024 Bugatti Mistral, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car
The Bugatti Mistral Is Bugatti’s Last-Ever 8.0-Liter, 16-Cylinder Hypercar
Bugatti’s monster engine is going out in style.
This is it. The end of an era. The 2024 Bugatti Mistral will be the last car the storied hypercar maker will ever build with the mighty quad-turbo, 8.0-liter, W-16 engine. Just 99 will be built, and despite a $5.1-million price tag, all are sold.
The Mistral is powered by the same 1600-hp version of the W-16 that propels the record-breaking Chiron Super Sport 300+, making it the most potent open-top internal combustion engine production car ever built. Bugatti’s previous roadster, the 1,200-hp Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse, set an open-top production car speed record of 254.04 mph in 2013. Bugatti design director Achim Anscheidt says the company is planning to top 260 mph in the Mistral.
It’s More Than What’s Underneath
The Mistral is basically a Chiron Super Sport under the skin. But it’s more than just a Chiron Super Sport with the roof removed. “You can’t just cut open a Chiron,” says Anscheidt, not the least, he points out, because that would compromise the sweeping arc that starts at the A-pillar and loops around the side of the car. “It would look terrible.”
The Mistral’s tauter surfaces and crisper lines are more than just a solution to an existing design challenge. They hint at the styling direction for the next-generation plug-in hybrid Bugatti currently under development in a new design and engineering hub in Berlin, Germany, and in Zagreb, Croatia, site of the global headquarters of the Bugatti Rimac Group headed by Mate Rimac.
There are elements of the Bugatti Divo in the Mistral’s overall form, though it’s nowhere near as extreme in terms of its detailing. “Divo was quite aggressive,” concedes Anscheidt. “This car simplifies that quite a bit. Bugatti has a strong graphic DNA, and the stronger the graphic DNA, the calmer the rest of the car can be.”
The famous horseshoe grille is the widest yet seen on a modern Bugatti and is framed by large cooling vents, vertically stacked headlights, and ducts that create air curtains along either side of the car to improve aerodynamic efficiency. The dramatic rear taillight graphic is derived from that of the track-only Bugatti Bolide. “That car had such a strong identity,” Anschedt said. “We wanted to transfer that to a production car.”
Whereas the Chiron’s looping body-side signature hides engine air and oil cooler intakes, in the Mistral these have been visually separated. The side vents are for the oil coolers only, while hot air exits at the rear of the car between the diagonal elements of the rear lights.
Lots Of Engine, No Roof
The Mistral’s mighty W-16 gulps almost 2,500 cubic feet of air per minute at full throttle through two giant scoops mounted behind the seats. The intake openings are slightly larger than those of the Chiron Super Sport, but they have been engineered so the airflow is the same. The scoops funnel to a new airbox with a new filter setup and are strong enough to take the 4,400-plus-pound weight of the car in the event of a roll over.
A bridge between the two scoops hides a small glass panel designed to prevent hot air from the engine compartment from washing into the open cockpit. There is no roof, and none is planned other than a small emergency cover. Bugatti roadster owners don’t drive in the rain.
The Mistral’s steeply raked A-pillars and side windows echo those of the one-of-a-kind, $18.9-million Bugatti La Voiture Noire. The updated A-pillars, which can also support the weight of the car in a rollover, required a major rework of the top part of the Chiron tub. Strengthening elements have also been laid into the sills and the central tunnel of the tub to compensate for the lack of a roof. As a result, the Mistral weighs about the same as a Chiron Super Sport and has very similar suspension settings.
“The target was for the car to drive like a Super Sport,” Bugatti deputy design director Frank Heyl said. The Mistral doesn’t have the extended tail and larger rear wing of the Super Sport, however; instead, additional downforce is provided by a redesigned rear diffuser, which—as in all Chirons—is blown over by two of the six exhaust outlets. The Mistral’s other four exhausts exit through a single central outlet.
Opulence, It Has It
The Mistral’s opulently trimmed cabin features leather on the doors and seats hand-woven by workers in the Bugatti design department. The shifter on the center console is machined from a solid block of aluminum but includes a wood insert and, set in amber, a bronze miniature of Rembrandt Bugatti’s famous dancing elephant sculpture, originally used as the hood ornament on the extravagant Type 41 built between 1927 and 1933.
The amber, as well as the yellow-and-black color combination, recall colors and materials favored by the Bugatti family. If they choose, instead of a dancing elephant miniature, Mistral owners can opt to have their own special keepsakes encased in the shifter.
The Mistral is also the first Volkswagen Group Bugatti not to carry a name from the marque’s past—Veyron and Chiron were the names of Bugatti racing drivers from the 1930s. When asked what Mistral means, Aschim Anscheidt jokes: “It means that Maserati [which built a car called the Mistral between 1963 and 1970] didn’t renew the trademark.”
More seriously, the name, which comes from a strong wind that blows down the Rhône Valley and through southern France, is meant to reinforce Bugatti’s credentials as a French brand, despite its Croatian and German owners. That’s also the reason for the red-white-and-blue tricolor band near the front wheels.
The Bugatti Mistral has been designed to send off the W-16 in grand style, to celebrate the unique sound and titanic thrust of one of the most extraordinary engines ever put in a production car. And if the Grand Sport Vitesse roadster, a car we said offered the Bugatti Veyron experience in shattering 7.1 surround sound, is any guide, driving the Mistral will indeed be a spectacular experience.