by Karl Furlong
We recently paid tribute to the last breaths of the internal combustion engine with seven truly special cars and the equally iconic engines that power them. Naturally, the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport and its sublime 8.0-liter quad-turbocharged W16 were on that list. But Bugatti wanted an even more special farewell for this power plant, and that's why the W16 Mistral is here. A beguiling drop-top, the Mistral is based on the Chiron but has been altered enough to appear as though it's a completely new model. With 1,578 horsepower, Bugatti's other lofty goal with this car is for it to become the fastest roadster in the world while simultaneously saying goodbye to the incredible 16-cylinder engine that has powered all modern Bugattis.
The Bugatti W16 Mistral's release date is set for 2024 when deliveries will begin. A mere 99 examples will be produced and all have already been accounted for.
The price of the 2023 Bugatti W16 Mistral is said to be 5 million euros net, which, at the time of writing, works out to nearly $5 million.
Discussing rivals for a car that is already sold out and which is essentially a collector's item seems a bit pointless, but Bugatti's desire to make this the fastest roadster in the world brings to mind another drop-top that is after the same goal: the Hennessey Venom F5 Roadster. At an MSRP of $3 million in the USA, the F5 is a lot cheaper but even more powerful. Other parallels can be drawn to the Koenigsegg Jesko, which has a removable hardtop roof, is incredibly powerful, and also has top speed aspirations of its own.
While sharing its engine and other bits with the Chiron, the Bugatti W16 Mistral's exterior design is much more than a Chiron with its roof chopped off. In typical Bugatti fashion, the car has bucketloads of presence and reeks of affluence.
Drawing inspiration from many groundbreaking Bugattis that have come before, that includes the 1934 Bugatti Type 57 Roadster Grand Raid and the much more recent Divo. The 2023 W16 Mistral comes with a curved windscreen that seamlessly connects with the side windows and two roof-mounted engine air scoops. The front horseshoe grille is complemented by four rows of LED daytime running lamps on each side, giving the car an arresting front fascia. The four-light signature with each defined row is a link to the four turbochargers and the four driven wheels.
It appears as though the removable roof panel will need to be stored somewhere other than in the car when you decide to go topless. It's best to check the weather forecast before venturing too far from home, then. A bit further back are the new ram induction air scoops behind the headrests that provide protection in the event of a rollover.
The lighting signature at the back is equally dazzling, and the Bugatti lettering itself is also lit up in red. This design was inspired by the Bolide's X-theme taillight motif, and it also serves to help improve the engine's cooling circuit.
The new Bugatti W16 Mistral convertible debuted in warm black with Truffle Brown and yellow accents. This is an homage to Ettore Bugatti, who often chose the black/yellow combination for his personal cars, including for his Type 41 Royale. Exterior colors will be left for each buyer to specify, however, but the brake calipers will be available in several contrasting colors.
The Bugatti W16 Mistral's dimensions weren't mentioned by the automaker when the car was unveiled, but its length, width, and height are likely to be similar to the Chiron. That car is 80.2 inches wide, 178.9 inches long, and only 47.7 inches tall.
The Bugatti W16 Mistral's engine and its specs need no introduction, but we'll give it one anyway. Dating back to the record-breaking Veyron, the 8.0-liter quad-turbocharged W16 found in the Mistral comes from the Chiron Super Sport 300+. In this incarnation, it produces 1,578 hp. Bugatti has not yet published acceleration or top speed claims, but considering that its last roadster - the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse - reached 254.04 mph and made "only" 1,183 hp, the Mistral should easily get closer to 300 mph. We estimate a 0-60 mph time of around 2.4 seconds.
Hennessey claims a top speed of over 300 mph for its new Venom F5 Roadster and currently claims that it holds the top speed record for convertibles at 265.6 mph for the Venom GT Spyder. It will be fascinating to see what the new record is once both the W16 Mistral and Venom F5 Roadster's efforts can be verified.
With 70,000 liters of air being fed through the engine every minute (at full bore) via air intakes behind the headrests, Bugatti says that the W16 Mistral provides an even more engaging connection between the driver and this engine.
This legendary W16 is paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and power is directed to all four corners.
No EPA-verified data has been published for the W16 Mistral but if the Chiron's range and gas mileage are anything to go by, it will be one of the thirstiest cars on the market. For instance, the 2022 Chiron Super Sport can only manage 8/11/9 mpg city/highway/combined. Many will have heard that a Chiron can burn through a full tank of fuel in around nine minutes when driven at its full speed. We don't expect the W16 Mistral to be much less eager to use gas.
It's clear that Bugatti's new drop-top shares a lot with the Chiron inside. The Bugatti W16 Mistral's interior features a similar dual-cockpit layout - with the sculpted dash helping to define clear zones for the driver and passenger - and stacked controls in the center section. As with the Chiron, there is no traditional central infotainment display.
Carefully chosen materials include aluminum and titanium, and the Bugatti W16 Mistral's seats are upholstered in blemish-free leather. The gear shifter itself is a work of art; it is machined from a solid block of aluminum and has a touch of wood and an amber insert. This insert includes a sculpture of Rembrandt Bugatti's 'Dancing Elephant'.
The interior colors of the Bugatti W16 Mistral are as flamboyant as we expected, with the one pictured here featuring a vivid yellow interior contrasted with black and dark brown, as a tribute to vintage models. The door panels feature a handwoven leather pattern that you'll only find on the W16 Mistral. We're certain that all 99 customers will be able to customize the interior to their heart's content.
Cargo space in the Bugatti W16 Mistral should be roughly equivalent to the Chiron, which means there is very little of it to get excited about. Don't expect more than two or so cubic feet of volume and a glovebox.
The most popular competitors of 2023 Bugatti W16 Mistral: