The Bugatti Chiron has been with us for six years. Personally, that’s offensive to me; I thought the Veyron successor was four years old at most, but time just moves differently now. All 500 examples that Bugatti initially planned to build have long since been spoken for, but you didn’t expect the world record-chasing automaker would let its final W16-powered marvel fade out quietly, did you? Meet the open-top Mistral.
Bugatti plans to make 99 of these Chiron-based convertibles to finish out the series’ run, and that’s an important detail because Bugatti has never made a Chiron without a roof before, despite many requests. “Mistral” is a fitting moniker, as it’s also the name of “a strong, cold northwesterly wind that blows through the Rhône valley and southern France,” according to Wikipedia. It floors me that we used to name winds.
The Mistral is powered by a 1,577-horsepower version of the brand’s eight-liter, quad-turbocharged W16, just like the track-focused Bolide and Chiron Super Sport 300+. Bugatti will seek to break the record it set in 2013 for the world’s fastest production roadster with the Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse, which clocked 254.04 mph. The company expects to beat that by about 7 mph.
Speaking to Autoblog, Bugatti design director Achim Anscheidt said that the Mistral’s legacy as the brand’s final W16-driven road-legal machine was inherent in its design:
“We had the pressure of creating something that is precious and valuable in a car collector’s garage. It’s not just a fashion statement: ‘Oh, let’s do a roadster!’ Or, even worse, ‘Let’s take a Chiron and just cut it open,’ which would have looked terrible. This burdens us with the responsibility that this is the last of its kind of that generation and how that’s going to sit in those collections,” Anscheidt told Autoblog.
I’ve never felt any particular way about the Chiron’s exterior, but the Mistral is a nice development of it, borrowing some cues from a few of Bugatti’s limited-run models, like the aforementioned Bolide and the La Voiture Noire. It proves this design works in a convertible silhouette — though, maybe barchetta is the more optimal term, because the Mistral will come only with a makeshift roof for “emergencies,” as Anscheidt put it to Autoblog. That’s no big deal; if you can afford one of these at $5 million and you plan on letting it see sun, you can probably budget a second Bugatti for rainy days, too.