Published on June 25th, 2024 | by Subhash Nair


From Veyron to Tourbillon: Tracing Bugatti’s 20-Year Hypercar Evolution

Where the Chiron iterated on the Veyron, the Bugatti Tourbillon reinvents the whole wheel.

In 2004, Bugatti revolutionized the automotive world with the introduction of the Veyron, the first road car to boast over 1,000 horsepower. Now, two decades later, the legendary marque is set to redefine the hypercar segment once again with the unveiling of the Tourbillon. And this time instead of quad turbochargers, they’ve gone naturally aspirated and made the power up with a completely new engine design and electrification.

The Veyron: A New Era Begins

The Bugatti Veyron, with its 8.0-liter quad-turbo W16 engine, set a new standard for hypercars. Producing 1,001 horsepower, it was a testament to engineering excellence and pushed the boundaries of what was possible in a road-legal vehicle. The Veyron’s impact on the automotive industry was immediate and long-lasting, cementing Bugatti’s position at the forefront of hypercar development.

Bugatti Veyron

Chiron: Raising the Bar

In 2016, Bugatti introduced the Chiron, building upon the Veyron’s legacy. With an enhanced version of the W16 engine now producing a staggering 1,500 horsepower, the Chiron further elevated performance benchmarks. It showcased Bugatti’s ability to improve upon near-perfection, combining increased power with refined luxury and advanced technology.

Tourbillon: A New Chapter Unfolds

Now, in 2024, Bugatti presents the Tourbillon, marking a dramatic shift in the brand’s approach to hypercar design and engineering. Unlike its predecessors, the Tourbillon abandons the iconic W16 engine in favor of a hybrid powertrain. This bold move signals Bugatti’s commitment to embracing new technologies while maintaining its performance heritage.

Key Innovations of the Tourbillon:

  1. Hybrid Powertrain: Combining an 8.3-liter naturally aspirated V16 engine with electric motors, the Tourbillon produces a combined 1,800 horsepower. V16s are rare, the last vehicle we remember having one was the Cizeta V16T
  2. Weight Reduction: Despite adding hybrid components, the Tourbillon is lighter than the Chiron, thanks to advanced materials and innovative engineering.
  3. Aerodynamic Advancements: Features like a submerged rear wing and new diffuser concept showcase Bugatti’s ongoing focus on aerodynamic efficiency.
  4. Timeless Interior Design: The analog instrument cluster, crafted by Swiss watchmakers, emphasizes Bugatti’s attention to detail and longevity.
  5. Enhanced Practicality: Improved interior space and luggage capacity make the Tourbillon more suitable for daily use and long trips.

Evolution of Performance:

  • Veyron (2004): 1,001 hp, 8.0-liter quad-turbo W16
  • Chiron (2016): 1,500 hp, enhanced 8.0-liter quad-turbo W16
  • Tourbillon (2024): 1,800 hp, 8.3-liter NA V16 + electric motors

The progression in power output over two decades demonstrates Bugatti’s commitment to pushing performance boundaries. However, the Tourbillon’s hybrid powertrain represents a significant technological leap, balancing raw power with increased efficiency and reduced emissions.

Looking to the Future

As Bugatti prepares to deliver the Tourbillon to customers in 2026, the hypercar landscape stands at a crossroads. The Tourbillon, with its blend of traditional craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology, offers a glimpse into the future of high-performance vehicles.

The Tourbillon’s centrepiece is its instrument cluster. Designed in conjunction with Swiss watchmakers, it in consists of over 600 parts including titanium bits and even sapphire and ruby gemstones. The whole piece weighs just 700g despite its intricacy. Even the steering wheel has been redesigned to rotate independently of this assembly and the horn pad.

Bugatti Tourbillon instrument cluster up close

Limited to 250 units and priced at 3.8 million euros, the Tourbillon continues Bugatti’s tradition of exclusivity. It represents not just the culmination of 20 years of hypercar development but also the beginning of a new era for the storied brand.

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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