Bugatti Chiron Successor Will Use a V16 Hybrid, Have a Listen

No downsizing going on in Molsheim.

While other supercar companies, like McLaren and Ferrari, are downsizing their engines for hybrid duty, that evidently wasn’t good enough for Bugatti. The French manufacturer of record-setting hyper-exotics has managed to hybridize its new engine without dropping a single cylinder. Bugatti’s Chiron replacement won’t be powered by some puny V8 or V12, but will instead feature a screaming V16 hybrid.

In 2005, Bugatti stunned the world with the Veyron, which hit the scene as the fastest production vehicle ever. The secret to its world-beating speed was its engine: an 8.0-liter, quad-turbocharged W16 behemoth with more than 1,000 horsepower. And that engine stuck around for nearly 20 years, albeit with significant updates, continuing to break speed records. Until now. Needless to say, this new V16 has big shoes to fill.

Bugatti has released very few details about this new engine. Only its layout, firing order, cylinder count, valve cover and intake design, and sound are shown in a new video. A V16 might not seem all that different from a W16, but it’s drastically unique in terms of packaging. Bugatti’s W16 essentially acted like two V8s sharing a 90-degree crankshaft, while this V16 is more traditional, using two banks of eight cylinders. That makes the latter almost double the length and, judging by the video Bugatti released, it seems to have a narrower bank angle. The new engine also sports four gorgeous carbon fiber intake plenums, though Bugatti didn’t say whether the V16 will keep the same quad-turbocharged setup as before.

Bugatti’s new V16. Bugatti


That drastic change in engine layout also brings a drastic change in sound. Bugatti’s video gives us a taste of the new V16’s song, higher pitched than the old W16’s and perhaps indicative of a higher redline, too. It isn’t the prettiest sound but it does have a motorsport-like rasp, making it angry and violent. I’ll miss the W16’s thunder, though, as it sounded like it was splitting space time. This new one is great too, but a bit more generic.

Thunderous noise or not, though, Bugatti should be applauded for building another 16-cylinder engine. Large displacement, high cylinder-count engines aren’t long for this world, but they apparently will live on in Molsheim a little while longer. And if it seems lame that Bugatti is going hybrid, remember that the man in charge of the brand is now Mate Rimac, and he seems to know a thing or two about making electrified cars go very, very fast.

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