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The Bugatti Tourbillon is a new analog hypercar in the digital age

A mix of traditional craftsmanship with high-tech electrification

Ladies and gentlemen, the new apex automobile. PHOTO FROM BUGATTI

Bugatti has just announced the all-new Tourbillon, the brand’s third-generation hypercar that CEO Mate Rimac promises to be more of everything: faster, more powerful, better handling, more involving, and (surprisingly) more efficient and more usable every day.

It kind of looks like someone stepped on a Chiron. PHOTOS FROM BUGATTI

The trademark Bugatti horseshoe grille signifies its lineage, the central line an ode to the revolutionary Type 57 Atlantic and the technology it represented back in the day—as the Atlantic from the 1930s used a new alloy at that time that could not be welded and required the central line atop the car to rivet the two body halves together.

The massive C-line on the sides flanks the side intakes for the mighty engine, and also acts as a boundary to separate the two colors of the Tourbillon.

Lots of heritage in this Bugatti's design. PHOTOS FROM BUGATTI

The headlights feature eight individual LED bulbs, as first seen in the Chiron, while the rear utilizes a single LED strip for its brake lights that span the entire width of the rear.

An active rear wing is still present, but operates more as an air brake at high speeds and in dynamic handling mode. The massive rear diffuser generates the majority of the downforce, and the narrower frontal area helps channel air underneath the car efficiently while reducing drag, allowing for a slipperier shape and a higher top speed with better efficiency to boot.

The Bugatti can now join the 'odd doors club' thanks to these dihedral doors. PHOTOS FROM BUGATTI

The Tourbillon uses an all-new aerospace-grade carbon-fiber composite monocoque structure. The seats are bolted directly to the floor, with the pedal box and the steering wheel being fully adjustable to the driver.

It is lower than the Chiron so dihedral doors were fitted to help entry and exit. Pop the doors up and the massive front tires are almost completely exposed, allowing driver and passenger to enter with more comfort, avoiding a potentially massive doorsill.

There is a tradition among Bugattis that a female should be able to enter easily with a skirt, and Mate Rimac promises that the Tourbillon follows that tradition.

This is a watch nerd's dream. PHOTOS FROM BUGATTI

The floating dash area is a very elaborate yet very elegant piece of engineering and art, promising to be a real classic. The main instrument cluster utilizes 600 individual components spread across seven mechanical analog gauges housed in three binnacles.

Two gauge binnacles show speed, rpm, and power utilization gauges while displaying their intricate mechanisms, like a beautiful Swiss mechanical timepiece. The third gauge cluster houses fuel level, battery charge level, coolant, and oil temperature information.

Rimac says the instrument cluster was made by real Swiss horologists. The instrument cluster is permanently fixed to the steering column so it remains stationary as you turn the wheel and gives a seemingly floating design.

We're not sure how this flip-out screen will work, but at least the interior will age gracefully with it hidden. PHOTOS FROM BUGATTI

Meanwhile, the center console is home to a bank of aluminum switches, rotary dials, and a single crystal lever that starts the massive V16. The purpose of all this is to give the Tourbillon a timeless look.

But fintech billionaire owners who need their tech will find a hidden digital screen at the top of the center console. On command, it will rotate up and give the driver access to Apple CarPlay, among other things.

The electric portion of the powertrain is what pushes the power figure beyond the Chiron's. PHOTO FROM BUGATTI

The Tourbillon is also a hybrid with an all-electric driving mode, promising as much as 59.5km of all-electric range. It has three electric motors: two up front and one in the rear providing the surety of all-wheel drive.

Gone is the massive transmission in the center of the chassis, which made for an extremely wide center console and pushed the occupants all the way to the edge of the car.

Instead, the 25kWh battery lies in the space in the middle, which helps bring occupants much closer to the middle of the car, making for a more natural driving sensation and keeping the mass closer to the middle of the car. It also seemingly makes the interior roomier and more comfortable.

Just when you thought large-displacement engines were a thing of the past. PHOTO FROM BUGATTI

The heart of any Bugatti, of course, is its engine. Developed with British engine specialist Cosworth, the massive naturally aspirated 8.3-liter V16 delivers a whopping 1,000hp of atmospheric power, while revving to a very heady 9,000rpm.

Despite being longer than the previous W16 that powered two generations of Bugatti hypercars, the new V16 is lighter at only 251.7kg and much less complicated.

It’s also narrower, which Rimac says helped aerodynamicists design a better, more efficient and ground-hugging design over the exterior, which clearly shows an evolutionary design from the Veyron to the Chiron and now the Tourbillion.

This car is even lighter than its predecessor. PHOTOS FROM BUGATTI

The narrower engine bay also allowed Bugatti to reposition many of the car’s key components to better aid packaging and handling.

Together with the three electric motors, it has a combined system output of 1,800hp driving all four wheels, allowing the car to accelerate to 100km/h in two seconds, to 200km/h in under five seconds, to 300km/h in under 10 seconds, and to 400km/h in under 25 seconds—before topping out at 445km/h. Let that sink in for a moment.

It’s not all raw power and speed. The Tourbillon is lighter (and lower) than the Chiron it replaces, which aids handling and responsiveness despite being a hybrid.

The rear suspension is an all-new multilink setup that’s 45% lighter than its predecessor. It rides on bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires that allow it to handle much better while reaching its record-breaking top speed.

Another chapter in Bugatti's history. PHOTO FROM BUGATTI

Tourbillon production won’t start until 2026. Only 250 units will be offered, so better start saving your pennies as it definitely won’t be cheap, starting at around $3.9 million (P229 million).

Bugatti promises a better, more involving overall driving experience with its new hypercar. The goalpost has indeed been moved further.

Botchi Santos

Botchi is your friendly, walking car encyclopedia. He loves helping people choose the right vehicle for themselves as much as he enjoys picking the right one for himself. Expect him to write about car culture, test drives and car-shopping advice. His regular column is called ‘Car Life’.