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It’s been a big spring for us fans of the Bugatti brand. It’s the hundredth anniversary of the Bugatti Type 35’s 1924 debut, one of the most successful race cars of all time and the vehicle that truly launched the company into the spotlight. The largest collection of vintage Bugattis on the planet just went to auction, after the Mullin museum closed. And Bugatti’s next chapter is coming into focus after spy shots of its new prototype leaked.

The latest iteration of the Bugatti brand, Bugatti S.A.S., was founded in 1998 when Volkswagen bought the name. It has steadily sold cars, first as part of VW, then on its own, and now in a partnership with electric supercar manufacturer Rimac. But in all that time, it has only built two major chassis: the Bugatti Veyron and the Bugatti Chiron. Both were AWD supercars with mid-mounted W16s.

The company bid the Chiron farewell with a roadster variation named the “Mistral” in a run limited to 99 vehicles. It’s in the process of building them, but the entire run has already been sold. And the Bugatti engineers have turned their attention to the next major chassis.

The steering wheel and dashboard of a Bugatti Chiron supercar.
Bugatti Chiron | Agent J via Unsplash

Rimac is a more recent supercar company, bringing the first quad-motor electric hypercar to market. The Croatian startup used this “Nevera” to break 23 performance records in a single day. Even die-hard petrol heads began to wonder if the future of performance is electric.

With Bugatti and Rimac joining forces, I prepped myself to bid goodbye to Bugatti’s century of internal combustion cars. Then the automaker shocked everyone when it revealed the sound of its new engine. An internal combustion V16. Hear the glorious symphony in the video below:

Here’s what we know. Rimac is staying separate, and all electric. Bugatti is developing its own chassis, the Chiron’s successor. But it will borrow heavily from Rimac’s innovations and go hybrid. So the V16 will be paired with some kind of electric motor. In this way it is following Ferrari and Corvette, which both are setting records with their latest mid-engine hybrids.

Bugatti targeted a June 2024 reveal for its new supercar. But then Redditor Lello75506 shared leaked photos of the new supercar. They also added a render of how this new Bugatti might look, done by an Instagramer. Check them out here:

New Bugatti LEAKED!
byu/Lello755066 inAutos

This thing definitely looks a bit smaller than the final Chiron, the “Super Sport.” Dare I say it might even be Rimac Nevera sized. But its tight C-shaped door trim is reminiscent of the Chiron, as is its full width brake light. I see at least two exhaust tailpipes up high, but I’m sure it has four. It also has some kind of active aero, similar to the Chiron.

So could this car be smaller than the Chiron with all the extra gear? I expect the V16 will be lower displacement than the outgoing W16. I also wonder if Bugatti won’t bother with AWD, but will instead have electric drive units for the front wheels. This means the entire front of the powertrain could be borrowed from Rimac. This might explain why some engineers present at the test were wearing Rimac uniforms. Whatever the case, I can’t wait for the full reveal in June.

Next, read about whether Bugatti’s founder would have wanted the company to go electric.