Bugatti’s Decision to Axe Its W16 Engine Isn’t Surprising…But Something Is

They're not shooting for an 18- or 20-cylinder engine, sadly.

Bugatti Chiron Sport
The new, lighter Bugatti Chiron Sport. [Photo: Bugatti]

Bugatti may soon join the downsizing trend.

The W16 engine in the Bugatti Chiron is still with us, at least for now. However, CarAdvice in Australia caught word that the engine may soon gasp its final breaths. “Sooner or later the legislation will force everybody to take radical steps,” said Bugatti CEO Stephan Winkelmann.

He’s likely correct, but the news that the monstrous 8.0-liter engine may not live on past the Chiron is upsetting indeed. Sure, it’s a poke in the eye to environmental efforts, but the quad-turbo W16 engine is also one of the most powerful production engines in the world. In the Chiron, it churns out 1,500 horsepower. Despite the engineering achievement of extracting that much power from an engine, even Bugatti is forced to bend to the forces of change. CarAdvice shared the news, which is sure to upset enthusiasts:

“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.”


Bugatti recently unveiled the even crazier, $5.36 million Divo. [Photo: Bugatti]

Bugatti considers hybrid route, if not by choice

Perhaps the omission of the W16 from future Bugatti’s may not be much of a surprise. However, Winkelmann also told CarAdvice the company is considering some form of electrification in its future cars, which would be a first for the brand. That said, he insisted that any hybrid Bugatti solution would need to put out the same level of performance as the current W16. He said, “…it has to be a solution that is credible for the people who are buying Bugattis today.”

Bugatti’s W16 engine doesn’t look like it’s slated to go away in the immediate future. Before you’re able to count a future Bugatti’s cylinders without needing your hands and toes, odds are the company will build an even more powerful last hurrah. Though it may be tough to see how much more they can punch through the ceiling after unveiling the $5.8 million Divo.