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Bugatti Tourbillon is a 276-mph Hybrid Crafted by Watchmakers

The $4m hypercar, which succeeds the legendary Bugatti Chiron, will hit the road in 2026.

By Alex Martin

Bugatti has embraced the past, present and future with its new Tourbillon hypercar, a 1,800-hp hybrid that offers a state-of-the-art drivetrain alongside a completely analog driver console inspired by 200-year Swiss watchmaking technology.

The Tourbillon is a big moment for Bugatti, which in 2021 merged with Croatian company Rimac, known for producing some of the fastest all-electric cars in the world. Expectations were for Bugatti to follow the same path, but while the Tourbillon represents the marque’s first modern car with electric motors, it is anything but an EV.

Instead, Bugatti Rimac has developed a ground-up engine concept for the Tourbillon, one that does away with the iconic quad-turbo W16 that sent the Veyron and the Chiron flying into legend, and replaced it with an entirely new powertrain containing three electric motors.

[See also: Game-changing Cars of the Past and Future]

Buggatti tourbillon front
The Bugatti Tourbillon boasts 1,800 hp / ©Bugatti

Those three motors – one in the rear and two in the front – will produce 800 hp on their own and be good for 37 miles in all-electric mode. Once combined with the naturally aspirated V16 engine, the Bugatti Tourbillon will produce an astonishing 1,800 hp. That’s enough juice to push it to a top speed of 276 mph, so long as you have the speed key (otherwise limited to a reasonable 236 mph).

For normal cars, the introduction of batteries usually means more weight, but the use of innovative, lightweight materials means the Tourbillon is, remarkably, slightly lighter than the Chiron. To achieve it, Bugatti had to develop an entirely new chassis and body structure, incorporating materials like ‘T8000 carbon composite” and processes like 3D printing. The result is a car that weighs ever so slightly less than the Chiron’s 4,398 lbs.

[See also: Bugatti Chiron Profilée Breaks New Car Auction Record]

Buggatti tourbillon rear
It is the first modern Bugatti to sport a hybrid powertrain system / ©Bugatti
Buggatti tourbillon roof
The new V16 engine can been seen from above / ©Bugatti

Inspired by Bugatti’s illustrious 115-year history, CEO Mate Rimac never seemed intent on a fully electric hypercar. He said: “The development of the Bugatti Tourbillon was guided at every step by the 115 years of Bugatti history and the words of Ettore Bugatti himself. His mantras ‘if comparable it is no longer Bugatti’ and ‘nothing is too beautiful’ were a guiding path for me personally, as well as the design and engineering teams looking to create the next exciting era in the Bugatti hyper sports car story.”

“Beauty, performance and luxury formed the blueprint for the Tourbillon; a car that was more elegant, more emotive and more luxurious than anything before it. Quite simply, incomparable. And just like those icons of the past, it wouldn’t be simply for the present, or even for the future, but Pour l’éternité – for eternity.”

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[See also: Bugatti vs Pininfarina: Two Hypercars Redefining Possibilities]

Buggatti tourbillon side
The Tourbillon retains Bugatti’s iconic horseshoe shape / ©Bugatti

Timeless technology

Although sporting state-of-the-art technology under the hood, the Bugatti Tourbillon has taken many of its cues from the timeless art of watchmaking. A tourbillon is a complex set of gears that float within a watch movement to offset the effects of gravity on its timekeeping. A-L Breguet invented the complication in 1801 and over 200 years later it is still the pinnacle of watchmaking. Bugatti hopes the Tourbillon will acquire the same longevity by sticking to the tactile.

This struck a chord with Rimac, who believes only analog instruments will survive the test of time. All the driver instruments inside the Bugatti Tourbillon are analog, with a single infotainment screen (complete with Apple CarPlay) hidden from view unless summoned. The driver instruments were not only inspired by watchmakers but crafted by them too. The central speedometer even looks like a watch with the long hand showing speed and the shorter hand RPM.

Bugatti tourbillon interior styling
The interiors will have fully analog dials, including driver instruments crafted by Swiss watchmakers / ©Bugatti

The skeletonized dials give the interiors a horological feel wherever you look, with the complex mechanics of each indicator on full display. Most mesmerizing of all, the steering wheel appears to float around a stationary central console, giving it the look and feel of watch hands moving around a dial.

Rimac said: “We look back through Bugatti history at the creations of Ettore and Jean and you can immediately see that they refused to compromise. The amount of patents Ettore had to his name was incredible because he didn’t ever want the simplest solution, he always wanted the best solution, even if it didn’t exist yet. He’d go away and he’d build it, test it and refine it until it was perfect. And then he’d make it beautiful. It is why the cars are so revered today, and it is the driving force behind everything we have done with Tourbillon.

bugatti tourbillon steering wheel
The steering wheel will move around a stationary central boss, like the hands of a ticking clock / ©Bugatti

“So yes, it is crazy to build a new V16 engine, to integrate with a new battery pack and electric motors and to have a real Swiss-made watchmaker instrument cluster and 3D-printed suspension parts and a Crystal Glass center console. But it is what Ettore would have done, and it is what makes a Bugatti incomparable and timeless.”

None of this will come cheap. The Bugatti Tourbillon will cost $4m with the first customer deliveries expected in 2026. Bugatti will limit production to just 250 examples, so even at that price you can expect to be fighting for one.

Bugatti speedometer
The speedometer has been designed to look like a skeletonized Swiss watch / ©Bugatti

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