Bugatti announces V16-electric hybrid drivetrain for Chiron successor

Bugatti sent off the quad-turbocharged W16 engine that has powered all of its 21st-century models with a limited-edition, 1,600-horsepower roadster named Mistral. Rumors about what could power its future cars ran rampant; the brand confirmed a hybrid system for the Chiron’s successor, and some sources detailed a downsized engine. Ending years of speculation, Bugatti has announced a new 16-cylinder engine.

The difference is in the prefix: the Veyron, the Chiron, and few-off models like the Divo all used a W16 engine, with cylinders arranged — as the name implies — in a W configuration. The new unit will have a V configuration. Put another way, think of the W16 as a pair of narrow-angle V8s and of the V16 as a pair of straight-eights. Bugatti isn’t the first company to build a V16 engine, Cadillac famously used one in the 1930s and BMW experimented with one in the 1990s, but there’s not a single V16-powered new car currently on the market. 

Bugatti stopped short of revealing technical specifications, so we’ll need to be patient to learn details such as the engine’s displacement and power output. However, the French brand reiterated what we already knew: the V16 will be part of a hybrid powertrain. Here again details are vague, but Autoblog learned that the Chiron’s yet-unnamed successor will use a plug-in hybrid system. Rimac, which owns Bugatti, has previously described the drivetrain as “heavily electrified.” This suggests (though nothing is official) that the model will be capable of running on electricity alone for relatively short distances. It looks like carbon fiber will play a significant role in offsetting the hybrid system’s weight.

Achim Anscheidt, Bugatti’s former design director, told Autoblog in 2022 that the Chiron’s successor will “certainly be tailored to one or the other aspect of a hybrid” in terms of design. The model will be built around a new monocoque, which gives the design team now headed by Frank Heyl the freedom to dial in new proportions. Don’t expect a radical change, however: the car will still be recognizable as a Bugatti.

Bugatti will unveil the Chiron’s successor in June 2024, and we expect to learn more about the model in the coming months.

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