The Bugatti Chiron Sport.
Image: Bugatti

In doing the unthinkable, Bugatti CEO Stephan Winkelmann told Australian website CarAdvice there won’t be another 16-cylinder Bugatti engine after this one. Preposterous! Who could imagine a future where people could, potentially, get close to counting the cylinders in their Bugatti on their... fingers?

Well, a lot of people can. Whether it’s more due to tightening emissions standards or everyone wanting to be a mobility company, the future of cars is about efficiency, electricity and not using so much gas. Bugatti’s W-shaped 16-cylinder gas engine, which gets a combined 11 mpg in the 1,500-horsepower Chiron in U.S. government estimates, don’t exactly fit that mold.

Bugatti, whose current car lineup of the Chiron, Chiron Sport and the new Divo is entirely powered by its quad-turbocharged W16, decided it’s finally time to get with the emissions program like everyone else. That means phasing out the W16, because sooner or later, Winkelmann told CarAdvice, “legislation will force everybody to take radical steps.”

From CarAdvice:

Power outputs for the monster mill have grown steadily since it was introduced in the Veyron 13 years ago, and may well expand further, but Bugatti CEO Stephan Winkelmann has confirmed it won’t be replaced once its time is up. [...]

“There will be no new 16-cylinder, this will be the last of its kind. It is an incredible engine and we know there is huge enthusiasm for it, everybody would like to have it forever, to continue to develop it – we will do our utmost to keep it alive... but if you want to be on the edge with advanced technology it’s important you choose the right moment to change.”

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Winkelmann told CarAdvice Bugatti will have to do some form of electrification in its cars eventually, but that whatever Bugatti does will need performance matching that of the W16. It’ll also need to be a credible solution “for the people who are buying Bugattis today,” he said.

But don’t say your goodbyes to the W16 just yet. Even though he said the engine won’t have a 16-cylinder successor, Winkelmann told CarAdvice Bugatti could have some more fun playing around with it before it leaves. From the story:

“When I was at Lamborghini I always said power to weight ratio is the key, we always reckoned that one kilo less is more important than one horsepower more,” he said.

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Pour one out for the dying W16, which, despite not having a successor, will no doubt make Bugatti owners pour out the contents of their bottomless wallets at gas stations for many years to come.