The Driver’s Seat: Henry Catchpole on the Bugatti Tourbillon

by Hagerty
21 June 2024 2 min read
<em>The Driver’s Seat:</em> Henry Catchpole on the Bugatti Tourbillon
Photo courtesy Hagerty Media

This is the new Bugatti Tourbillon, the successor to the Veyron and the Chiron, due to be delivered in 2026. Its looks are very much evolution rather than revolution, but unlike its predecessors the Tourbillon doesn’t have a turbocharged W16 engine. Instead it has a naturally aspirated, 8.3-litre V16 developed with Cosworth. This produces 1000bhp on its own but in conjunction with three electric motors the Tourbillon has a combined hybrid system output of 1775bhp.

Bugatti Tourbillon driving

As you can hear in this video, it is a pretty incredible sounding engine, revving to 9000rpm. It’s a distinctive sound, too, and for comparison we’ve included the soundtracks of a couple of its naturally aspirated hypercar rivals – the 6.5-litre V12 from the Aston Martin Valkyrie and the 3.9-litre V12 from the GMA T.50 (both also developed with Cosworth).

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Bugatti’s director of design, Frank Heyl, talks Henry Catchpole around all the fascinating exterior details of the €3.8M Tourbillon, but we think the interior is perhaps even more spectacular. With clear influence and inspiration taken from mechanical watches, the titanium dials are wonders to behold. The steering wheel is pretty crazy too . . .

And talking of watches, the car’s name, Tourbillon, means whirlwind in French, but it is a word widely associated with a complicated mechanism found in watches. As Henry explains, with the help of a Ulysse Nardin, it was invented in 1795 to negate the impact of gravity and improve the accuracy of timekeeping in pocket watches.

Of course, this being a Bugatti, it is incredibly fast, with a top speed of 276mph . It is also capable of 0–62mph in 2 seconds, 0–124mph in under 5 seconds, 0–186mph in under 10 seconds, and 0–248mph in under 25 seconds. But in the age of the hyper EV and cars like the the Bugatti’s cousin, the Rimac Nevera, pure performance doesn’t seem to carry the sway that it once did, so where does that leave the Tourbillon? Catchpole thinks the answer can be found in the quartz crisis of the 1970s and what followed.

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