Ever since the Bugatti Veyron shattered records back in 2005, the brand's calling card has been its engine—a quad-turbocharged 8.0-liter W16. However, as reported by Autocar, 2027 will mark the end of that specific engine, as Bugatti switches over to a hybrid powertrain with a smaller engine.
Details of the smaller engine and hybrid powertrain are still top secret, however Bugatti designers did discuss the differences in designing the new car around it. “It offers opportunities,” Bugatti design director Achim Anscheidt told Autocar. “There are opportunities to get just a bit more athletic for the shape of Bugatti in the future without losing the general gesture of generosity or sovereignty."
That more athletic shape Anscheidt mentioned is likely afforded by reducing the sheer footprint of the engine. The 8.0-liter W16 engine is simply gargantuan and it's a miracle of design and engineering that it even fits into the current Chiron. While the new engine could technically still be a W16, its displacement is going to be reduced. And because the engine itself won't need to make as much power, due to electric motors helping out, it won't need to be quite as robust as the current W16.
While Bugatti wouldn't reveal the details of the new engine, deputy design director Frank Heyl is incredibly enthusiastic about the upcoming hybrid. “It's going to be amazing, proportionally, technologically, in terms of innovation, in terms of unexpectedness. It's going to blow people out of the water completely, and it's a true joy to work on this," he told Autocar.
I have no doubt that whatever Bugatti comes out with next will be faster, sharper, more stable, and more luxurious than the Chiron. But that won't fully numb the sting of losing the last truly massive-displacement engine on the market. After the SRT Viper was killed off, Bugatti remained the last bastion of the "no replacement for displacement" performance car ideology. Its W16 was such an overengineered celebration of excess that it's hard to not love, especially in today's era of downsized four-cylinders and EVs. There isn't much of a place for the Bugatti W16 in the world anymore but that doesn't mean we shouldn't miss it once it's gone.