The Mistral Gold Is Probably the Last W16-Powered Bugatti

The Bugatti Mistral is coming back, one year after its debut. And this time, it is finished in striking gold. It is a one-off version created by Bugatti’s Sur Mesure program, and it might just be the W12’s way of saying goodbye for good.
Bugatti Mistral Gold 13 photos
Photo: Bugatti
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There will actually be two special Bugatti models at The Quail, A Motorsport Gathering event for enthusiasts and connoisseurs, set to take place in Monterey starting August 18. That is exactly where the French presented the Mistral last year. One of the two is the Chiron Super Sport Golden Era, that the hypercar manufacturer revealed last week.

That one model was commissioned by one of the brand's collectors. Now they have just introduced a color-matching Mistral, a proof of the impressive customization capability of the Bugatti Sur Mesure program. It is yet unknown if this one is just a prototype or a model ordered by a customer, since Bugatti has not mentioned any pricing.

What instantly differentiates the Mistral Gold from the Chiron Super Sport Golden Era is the fact that it lacks the automotive sketches on the side and the black front fascia, as Bugatti prepared an almost entirely gold paint scheme for the new car.

Now the Mistral wears a shade of gold, similar to the bespoke 'Dore' (gold or gold-like in French) finish that the Chiron Super Sport Golden Era wears. The lower section of the body sports naked carbon fiber, and so do the engine cover and the dual intakes placed behind the seats. Meanwhile, the mirrors display a carbon fiber pattern but with a shiny gold finish. The wheels are also gold with contrasting black elements.

Bugatti Mistral Gold
Photo: Bugatti
Bugatti only gives a glimpse of the interior of the Mistral, but that is enough to spot the two-tone leather on board, plus the usual carbon fiber and the gold finish of the EB badging on the steering wheel.

The Mistral goes back to where it all started

Bugatti officially presented the Mistral one year ago, at the Monterey Car Week, the event where they take the gold version right now. In August 2022, they exhibited a black one and labeled the model as the fastest roadster in the world. And it totally made sense. With 1,578 horsepower (1,600 PS), it can do 0-62 mph (0-100 kph) in 2.3 seconds, 0-124 mph (0-200 kph) in 6.2 seconds, and 0-186 mph (0-300 kph) in 12.65 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 261 mph (420 kph).

The French manufacturer is building only 99 examples, each coming with a price tag of $5 million. All were sold out in a heartbeat, even before the official unveiling. First deliveries are scheduled for early 2024. Customers have almost unlimited possibilities of customization through the Bugatti Sur Mesure program. And this is what the Mistral in gold is trying to prove. There probably won’t be two Mistrals with the same configuration.

The Mistral roadster is based on the Chiron, but also got components donations from the Divo and the La Voiture Noire. It is probably Bugatti’s last car powered by the quad-turbo 8.0-liter W16 engine, capable of delivering 1,578 horsepower (1,600 PS), just like the Chiron Super Sport 300+.

Is the W16 engine saying goodbye?

Bugatti is also going down the downsizing and electrification path in order to comply with the emissions standards, which are ever more stringent worldwide. In a social media post, Bugatti confirms that it is the end of an era: "The road-going hyper sports car that draws to a close the era of the brand’s momentous W16 powertrain."

Saying the W16 is made up of two V8 engines is not entirely accurate. It is actually a single, gigantic quad-turbocharged engine with one crankshaft and a displacement of 8.0 liters. It integrates two narrow-angle VR8 engines, based on the VR6 design, mated on a common crankshaft.

Bugatti has been building the power unit since 2005 and put in models such as the Veyron, Chiron, Divo, Centodieci, Bolide, and Mistral. Two concept cars also received it: the Bugatti 16C Glibber and the Vision Gran Turismo.

Bugatti Mistral Gold
Photo: Bugatti
The most powerful version of this engine was installed in the Bugatti Bolide. It rolls out 1,825 horsepower (1,850 PS) and 1,364.5 lb-ft (1,850 Nm). The Bolide can do the 0-62 mph (0-97 kph) run in 2.2 seconds, it reaches 124 mph (200 kph) in 4.4 seconds, and only needs 7.4 seconds to hit 186 mph (300 kph). Top speed is insane: 311 mph (501 kph).

A simulator test showed that the Bolide would lap the Nurburgring in 5 minutes and 23.1 seconds. That would be four seconds slower than the current record holder, the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo.

In 2021, the French announced they would retire the W16. So the Mistral is one of the last or the last Moselheim-built model to get it.

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