Unveiling the Bugatti Tourbillon: A New Era of Hyper Sports Cars

shawn By On 21/06/2024 at 17:37

In Hyper Cars

In a time when the release of a new car often feels like just another addition to an endless lineup, Bugatti's unveiling of a new 'hyper sports car' stands out as a significant event.

Bugatti Tourbillon

Bugatti tourbillon 2 1

Bugatti has a stellar track record of producing landmark, era-defining vehicles. The Veyron, for instance, was the first road car to boast 1,001hp, setting a new benchmark for high performance at the start of the 21st century. Its successor, the 1,500hp Chiron, made headlines in 2019 by exceeding 300mph, a feat that still challenges other manufacturers.

Bugatti has introduced a new model, the Tourbillon, which breaks new ground in several ways. It's the first Bugatti in over two decades not powered by the iconic 8.0-litre quad-turbo W16 engine. Instead, it features a hybrid powertrain championed by Mate Rimac. Inspired by the complex and beautiful mechanism invented 200 years ago to counteract gravity in timepieces, it suggests a blend of timeless elegance and cutting-edge technology.

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A New Powertrain

The heart of the Tourbillon is an astonishing naturally aspirated V16 engine that delivers the majority of its 1,800hp output. This 8.3-litre engine, developed with help from Cosworth, generates 1,000hp and 664lb-ft of torque, redlining at 9,000rpm. Weighing just 252kg due to lightweight materials, the V16 promises a 'visceral, awe-inspiring experience' at high engine speeds.

Complementing the V16 is a front 'e-axle' with two independent 340hp electric motors capable of providing up to 2,213lb-ft of fully vectored torque at the wheels. An additional 340hp motor on the rear axle contributes to the overall power. These motors are powered by a 24.8kWh oil-cooled 800v battery located in the central tunnel and behind the occupants, capable of supplying beyond 600kW at its peak and offering 37 miles of pure electric range.

Advanced Engineering

Despite the addition of electric motors and a battery pack, the Tourbillon is lighter than its predecessor, the Chiron. This remarkable feat is achieved through an entirely new chassis and body structure made from next-generation T800 carbon composite. The new front e-axle, including its dual inverter, fits into the same space that was available in the Chiron, demonstrating impressive packaging efficiency. Bugatti describes the rear diffuser and air ducts as integral to the car's lightweight and stiff platform.

The Tourbillon's suspension features forged aluminum multi-link axles, replacing the Chiron's steel double wishbones and saving 45% in comparative weight. Bugatti has utilized 3D printing extensively, not just in a new suspension arm and upright but also in structural braces in the front and rear subframes. The brakes are equally advanced, featuring carbon-ceramic technology operated via a bespoke brake-by-wire system integrated into a Bugatti-developed non-linear controller for the hybrid powertrain. The enormous tires, a custom-made variant of Michelin Pilot Cup Sport 2, further indicate the performance capabilities of the Tourbillon.

Performance and Design

The Tourbillon's performance figures are extraordinary: 0-62mph in 2.0 seconds, 0-124mph in 5.0 seconds, 0-186mph in 10 seconds, and 0-248mph in 25 seconds. For comparison, the Chiron Super Sport 300+ managed 0-124mph in 5.8 seconds and 0-186mph in 12.1 seconds. The Tourbillon's top speed is restricted to 236mph in normal operation, with a loftier 276mph limit accessible via a designated Speed Key.

Aerodynamic efficiency is a guiding principle in the Tourbillon's design, resulting in a silhouette that is instantly recognizable as a Bugatti. The car features traditional design elements like the horseshoe grille, the 'Bugatti Line', the central ridge, and the dual-color split. Innovations include electrically actuated dihedral doors that can be opened and closed from the key fob, providing a dramatic sense of arrival.

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Interior and Pricing

The interior of the Tourbillon is a blend of traditional craftsmanship and modern technology. A hidden screen in the center console and an analog instrument cluster made by Swiss watchmakers from titanium, including gemstones, exemplify this approach. The center console features aluminum parts milled from a single block of metal, and the crystal glass undergoes 13 stages to ensure clarity and toughness. The seats are fixed to the floor for lightness, with an electrically adjustable pedal box ensuring comfort. The engine start lever adds to the physical experience, making the Tourbillon a masterpiece of packaging and engineering.

With a net starting price of 3.8 million euros (around £3.2 million), the Tourbillon is set to be hand-built at the Bugatti Atelier in Molsheim, with only 250 examples to be produced. Mate Rimac, a driving force behind the car's development, believes the ambitious decisions made in creating the Tourbillon align with the vision of Ettore Bugatti, making the car incomparable and timeless. Only time will tell if this new hypercar will live up to its name and become an icon for eternity.


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