Bugatti unveils its latest petrol-only car, which it hopes will be the world’s fastest convertible

It is also Bugatti’s last petrol-only car. Future models will be hybrid.

Only 99 Mistrals will be made, according to Bugatti, and they were all sold before the car was unveiled to the public Friday in Carmel, California.

“There can only be one goal: to become the fastest roadster in the world again,” the company said in its announcement.

Bugatti has not said what the expected top speed of the Mistral could be. The last time Bugatti could lay claim to the fastest convertible in the world was in 2013 when a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse convertible drove 254 miles per hour on the Volkswagen test track in Germany.

The current top speed record for convertibles is claimed by the Hennessey Venom F5 Roadster, made by Hennessey Performance Engineering of Texas. That $3 million, 1,800 horsepower car reached a speed of 265.6 miles per hour in 2016.

Convertibles generally have a lower top speed than hardtop cars because of their poorer aerodynamics.

The Mistral will also be the last model to feature Bugatti’s famous W16 16-cylinder engine. Mate Rimac, CEO of Bugatti-Rimac, the company that now owns the Bugatti brand, said future Bugatti models will be hybrids. It’s unclear what kind of gas engine those future models will have, but it won’t be the same W16 that, with various developments and improvements, has powered every modern Bugatti car since 2005.

The version of that engine used in the Mistral is the same that powered the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport that Bugatti claimed could reach speeds of nearly 305 miles per hour in 2019.

Air for the Mistral’s large engine is drawn in through air intakes behind each of the car’s two seats. The air intakes are made of carbon fiber and are designed to support the full weight of the car to protect the occupants in the event of a collision. Air intakes on the side of the car are for the oil coolers. The air flowing through the oil coolers is exhausted through the X-shaped rear lights of the Mistral.

The Mistral’s design is inspired by the classic Bugatti Type 57 Roadster Grand Raid from 1934. Specifically, Bugatti’s designers looked at a Roadster Grand Raid currently on display at the Louwman car museum in the Netherlands, Bugatti said. The car’s sharp V-shaped windshield and the humps rising behind each of the seats are among the similarities to the modern car.

The front of the Mistral has its own distinctive design with headlights each consisting of four light bars. The central horseshoe grille is also deeper and wider than on the hardtop cars.

Bugatti says the first cars will be delivered to customers in 2024. Bugatti was spun off from the Volkswagen Group in 2021 and is now collaborating with Croatian electric supercar manufacturer Rimac. Bugatti production continues in its traditional home of Molsheim, France.

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