1,800 HP, No Turbos: Bugatti’s New Hybrid V16 Engine

It’ll also be more than three feet long—16 inches longer than the outgoing W16.

byNico DeMattia|


A couple of months ago, Bugatti revealed to the world that it's dropping its legendary W16, in favor of an entirely new V16. However, the configuration—switching from a "W" to a "V"—isn't the only thing that's new. Bugatti Rimac CEO Mate Rimac recently spoke at the Future of the Car Summit, during which he dropped a couple of info nuggets about the new engine. Most importantly, it's going to be naturally aspirated.

Rimac didn't dish out details on displacement or power figures, but he did say that Bugatti is dropping turbochargers in favor of natural aspiration, with a hybrid boost. That would make it similar in theory to the Corvette E-Ray, which also uses a mid-mounted naturally aspirated engine paired with an electric motor. According to Motor1, the new engine will be 39.3-inches long, almost 16-inches longer than the outgoing W16. That isn't surprising, given its two banks of eight cylinders. With the combined dual-clutch transmission, the entire powertrain could be up to 78.7-inches long.

While there aren't any official specifics about the new engine, Auto Motor und Sport claims that the engine was designed by Cosworth and will rev up to 9,000 rpm. Rumor has it that Bugatti's target combined power output—from the 16 cylinders and three electric motors—is 1,800 horsepower.


I think this is a good move for Bugatti. Keeping the engine naturally aspirated reduces some of the complexity of the old quad-turbocharged setup, along with all of the added weight from the requisite intercoolers. Obviously that weight is now replaced by batteries and electric motors, but if it had both hybridization and turbocharging at that scale, it'd be too heavy. Plus, the added hybrid punch allows the naturally aspirated engine to have similar—if not better—boost at low rpm than a turbocharged engine. Hybrid boost also doesn't have to taper off at higher rpm, so it can keep on pulling at full strength all the way through the rev range.

When Bugatti launched the Veyron, its quad-turbocharged W16 immediately became the brand's calling card. Not only was it immensely powerful, pushing out over 1,000 horsepower, but it was the most extraordinary engine in the world. Four banks of four cylinders, four turbochargers, countless radiators and intercoolers—it was immense. This new V16 is cutting edge too, but in an entirely different way thanks to hybridization. Bugatti has always been about pushing the technical envelope, so it will be fascinating to see where this new powertrain goes and what sort of dizzying performance heights it can achieve.

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