Bugatti Raises the Standard Again with the $4 Million, 1,800-hp Tourbillon

Bugatti has finally replaced its Veyron/Chiron-generation products with a fresh start.

Dan Carney, Senior Editor

June 24, 2024

5 Slides

At a Glance

  • $4 million
  • 1,000-horsepower V16 combustion engine
  • 800-horsepower electric drive

French exotic car creator Bugatti has revealed its first step into the electrified future with the all-new Tourbillon, a car that completely breaks from the company’s technical heritage of its Chiron and Veyron models to move to an all-new chassis powered by a new naturally aspirated V16 engine augmented by hybrid-electric power.

The Tourbillon’s technology and design set amazing new standards, which is a challenge for a company whose outgoing model boasted a 1,500-horsepower, quad-turbocharged W16 engine and all-wheel drive. This new car is visually connected to its predecessors, but with a fresh, adventurous take that is lower and wider-looking than before.

Watch Theme

The real advance is in the cockpit, with an analog-first, almost steampunk mechanical watch-inspired design that is reminiscent of the mechanical artwork of Pagani supercar interiors.

As the watch company Breguet explains on its website, the company’s founder patented the Tourbillion device for mechanical watches that increased accuracy in 1801. “[Breguet] had the idea of installing the entire escapement (meaning the balance and spring, the lever and the escape wheel, the parts the most sensitive to gravity) inside a mobile carriage that performs a complete rotation each minute. Thus, since all the flaws are regularly repeated, they are engaged in a process of mutual compensation.”

Related:This Breathtaking Bugatti Hypercar Reveals its 3D Printed Secrets

Premium mechanical watches ever since have employed a tourbillon, and those watches inspired Bugatti engineers and designers working on this new car. Hence, the name. The Tourbillon’s breathtaking analog instrument cluster is made by Swiss watchmakers and is fixed in place inside the steering wheel rim so that it is always positioned to be read.

“We have chosen to do the entire human-machine interfacing about displaying information and operating the car in an analog fashion,” explained Frank Heyl, director of design. While the instrument cluster is the showpiece, the whole cabin is filled with incredible craftsmanship. “The center console is machined from solid aluminum, set within real crystal glass,” he pointed out.

Natural Aspiration

As amazing as the instrument cluster looks, the Tourbillon promises to deliver similarly exhilarating sound from its 986 horsepower V16 powerplant that was developed with the aid of longtime Formula 1 engine supplier Cosworth. The metric horsepower rating is an even 1,000 for the combustion engine and the electric drive is rated at 800, but the U.S. horsepower rating for that system is 789 hp. The difference between the English and metric ratings amount to rounding error, and drivers would never know the difference between 1,800 combined horsepower or 1,775.

Related:Tech Tidbit: Engines from Inline Four-Cylinders to W16s


The V16 engine replaces the enormous, and enormously complex, W12, which was based on then-parent company Volkswagen’s narrow-angle 15-degree VR6 engine design, extrapolated to 16 cylinders and boosted by four turbochargers. That engine’s character was that of a steam locomotive, with so many moving parts and the whooshing of air through its turbos.

The Tourbillon’s 8.3-liter V16 will produce a more classic shriek at its 9,000 rpm redline, which was the appeal of the design in an age of electrification and forced induction combustion engines. As new parent company Rimac’s background is entirely in electric vehicles, an electric Bugatti was a reasonable expectation. But Rimac founder and CEO Mate Rimac, who is also Bugatti’s CEO, wanted something else for Bugatti.


“We felt the emotion and power deliver and sound of a naturally aspirated sixteen-cylinder engine was the right next step for Bugatti,” Rimac said. “A naturally aspirated engine is a little bit of a romantic idea, but it lacks the raw power and torque of a modern turbocharged engine like the W16. By combining the advantages of a naturally aspirated combustion engine and the very powerful electric powertrain, the two parts of this beast kind of support each other. The package is, I think, ideal.”

Related:Nine Red Hot Sports Cars You Can’t Afford

Electric Performance

The electric drivetrain is composed of a 25-kilowatt-hour oil-cooled 800-volt battery pack that is managed by an integrated silicon carbide inverter. The electric motors spin as fast as 24,000 rpm to deliver an all-electric driving range of 37 miles.

“We have already heard what it sounds like when this car reaches its 9,000rpm redline under full throttle, and it is a visceral, awe-inspiring experience that will echo for eternity,” crowed Bugatti chief technical officer Emilio Scervo. “With the Tourbillon, we have engineered a car that delivers the best of combustion technology and electrification; free from compromises and built with a timeless dedication to creating a memorable driving experience.”


“We chose the hardest possible option, creating a powertrain from scratch and pairing it seamlessly with a complex system of e-motors, a new-generation eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and more, all developed from the ground up specifically for the Tourbillon,” Scervo continued. “But it was important to us that this car retained that pure and raw analog feel of a naturally aspirated combustion engine while pairing it with the agility and ability provided by electric motors.”

Solid Foundation

The Tourbillon is built on a carbon fiber tub structure made using T800 carbon composite. It incorporates sub-structures, such as the battery case for maximum strength. Front and rear subframes are made using low-pressure, thin-wall aluminum castings and 3D-printed structural braces.

Multilink suspension front and rear replaces the control arm design of the Chiron. Bugatti claims a 45 percent weight saving thanks to the use of an organic-design suspension arm and hub-carrying suspension upright compared to the parts on the Chiron.


Braking is by-wire, with carbon-ceramic rotors. Bugatti didn’t bother with any bespoke tires developed with second-and-trying harder companies, going directly to the gold standard Michelin Pilot Cup Sport 2 rubber that is the gold standard for cars with lofty performance targets. In the case of the Tourbillon, that includes a top speed of more than 250 miles per hour.

“It is crazy to build a new V16 engine, to integrate with a new battery pack and electric motors, and to have a real Swiss-made watchmaker instrument cluster and 3D-printed suspension parts and a Crystal Glass center console,” conceded Rimac. “But it is what Ettore [Bugatti} would have done, and it is what makes a Bugatti incomparable and timeless. Without that kind of ambition, you might create a great hyper sports car, but you wouldn’t create an icon ‘pour l’éternité’ [for eternity].”

The 250 customers who can buy a Tourbillon before Bugatti ends production won’t have to wait an eternity to get their cars, only until 2026, according to the company. Pricing starts at 3.8 million Euro, which will probably be about $4 million.

About the Author(s)

Dan Carney

Senior Editor, Design News

Dan’s coverage of the auto industry over three decades has taken him to the racetracks, automotive engineering centers, vehicle simulators, wind tunnels, and crash-test labs of the world.

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