Rimac Is Developing a ‘Bonkers’ New Engine for Bugatti That It’ll Reveal Next Year

Rimac may be known for its electric hypercars, but its founder understands why people would want something else. That’s why he says there’s a hybrid Bugatti hypercar on the way.

byJames Gilboy| PUBLISHED Dec 16, 2022 2:13 PM
Rimac Is Developing a ‘Bonkers’ New Engine for Bugatti That It’ll Reveal Next Year
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Rimac is most closely associated with record-breaking electric hypercars, having made its name in them. But that doesn't mean Rimac doesn't care about the internal combustion driving experience, as its founder Mate Rimac revealed his company was developing a new ICE years before buying Bugatti—and that we won't have to wait long to see it.

This engine was one of many topics covered by Rimac in an extensive interview with Auto Express, which recounted the company's early days and delved deep into its future. But let's get straight to the point: One of Rimac's biggest divulgences was the existence of a "bonkers" Rimac combustion engine, which he acknowledged was already two years into development when he took over Bugatti in July 2021. That project will finally bear fruit next year when Rimac reveals the engine, if not also the car it'll be used in. By the sounds of things, it'll be a hybrid Bugatti hypercar with something smaller than the company's storied 8.0-liter, quad-turbo W16.

Bugatti Chiron W16 engine. Bugatti

"I think everybody will be blown away when they see what we did," Rimac told Auto Express. "We started developing a new combustion engine two years before we took over the company, which is something I guess nobody expected."

"It will be hypercar rearranged as a hybrid," he added, regarding the Bugatti Chiron's successor. "It's completely new, so there is not one part carried over from any car; nothing carried over from Chiron, nothing carried over from Nevera. Everything is from scratch."

Keeping the two hypercar makers under Rimac's wing distinct will be vital, as too much carryover would dilute both brands and could make them interchangeable. Just look at the Pininfarina Battista as an example; it has tons of Rimac under the skin, which prevents you from thinking about Pininfarina as its own car company. Bugatti and Rimac need different emphases, and that's Rimac's plan. Bugatti will be aristocratic luxury, with watchmaker-like attention to detail but still world-beating performance. Rimac, on the other hand, will be about doing things with cars you wouldn't think possible.

"Bugatti will be going more in the direction of beautiful art—of course, performance will still be top—but it'll be this artistic approach," Rimac said. "Rimac will be about bending physics."

Bugatti Chiron and Rimac Nevera in formation. Bugatti

Breaking new ground with performance cars will require a radical approach, which Rimac admitted he had many ideas for in the next decade. He said he'd like to do something unique, adding that four-seaters like the Koenigsegg Gemera are interesting but that he's not sold on them due to packaging compromises. Rimac noted that he's toying with the idea of a more affordable supercar and has observed a growing interest in analog cars, as shown by the GMA T.50. One direction he emphasized he wouldn't go, though—at least for Bugatti—was an SUV, which he confirmed was in development when he took over. (Naturally, he had it terminated.)

As for what will power these cars, Rimac already mentioned ICE, and that more's coming on that front. He's unexcited about hydrogen for now at due to its impracticality and firmly believes more will be coming for EVs; not even from technological breakthroughs like solid-state batteries, which he doesn't consider worth planning around yet. Current battery technologies have potential left to unlock, which Rimac himself admitted he failed to realize when designing the Nevera. Or, as he put it, he "screwed up."

The way Rimac tells it, a better-optimized Nevera could have 40% to 50% more range, all while being significantly lighter, increasing performance. He's sure to apply these lessons in his future hypercars, which already sound like they'll be as mind-blowing as the Concept One was a decade ago.

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