When the Bugatti Veyron was unveiled in the early 2000s, more than a few jaws suffered from spontaneous gravitational dropping. The first road car with over 1,000 PS had some specification highlights to offer. 20 years later, people have more or less got used to the four-digit mark.

And yet, when Bugatti comes up with something new, everyone looks towards the luxury brand with piqued interest. And it delivers with the Bugatti Tourbillon, pronounced "Tuhrbilljong" (an expression from the watch industry). At first glance, it hardly looks any different from its predecessor, the Chiron. One is spontaneously reminded of the "new" BMW 1 Series or the "new" Mini five-door.

Nevertheless, W16 becomes V16 and the new hybrid drivetrain generates insane additional driving characteristics that are supposed to catapult the freshly put on wheels work of art up to 277 mph. Provided you have a "speed key".

Gallery: Bugatti Tourbillon

In this case, you can exceed the actually limited top speed of 236 mph. From zero to 249 mph in 25 seconds, 186 mph in ten seconds and 124 mph in just five seconds. At best, with these driving characteristics, hopefully you haven't eaten too much beforehand.

The new 8.3-litre V16 produces 1,000 PS and 900 Nm of torque. This is joined by two electric 340 PS motors with 3,000 Nm of torque at the front and one with 240 Nm at the rear. In total, the system offers a concentrated 1,800 PS with a vehicle weight of 1,995 kilograms. In other words, almost one PS per kilogramme.

An 8-speed DCT transmission with electronic limited slip differential ensures that the sheer power is transferred to the road in a sensible manner. Massive 345/30 R21 wheels at the rear and 285/35 R20 at the front are designed to help with this. According to the WLTP, the new bullet can drive 37 miles completely electrically. An oil-cooled 800-volt 25-kWh battery is also on board.

Bugatti Tourbillon

Bugatti Tourbillon

In addition to the W16, the tradition of naming the core models after legendary Bugatti racing drivers of the past continues. The name Tourbillon is a subtle reference to Bugatti's French heritage and is intended to perfectly reflect the character of the vehicle. Since 1801, the tourbillon has been used to compensate for the effects of gravity on a watch in order to ensure consistent timekeeping.

A timeless invention whose character the new Bugatti also wants to appropriate. The tourbillon echoes the face of the Chiron at the front. Only tentative stylistic and aerodynamic changes are recognisable. At the rear, the curved silhouette of the light strip with framed illuminated Bugatti lettering is particularly striking. Three massive fins extend across the roof to the rear.

Interior of the Bugatti Tourbillon

Interior of the Bugatti Tourbillon

Every design and every proportion has been subordinated to performance on a completely new chassis, making driving at speeds of over 250 mph possible in the first place. The rear wing even remains retracted at high speeds. It only provides more downforce at lower speeds and improved stability when braking.

Inside, the centrepiece is the instrument cluster, which was also designed with the expertise of Swiss watchmakers and manufactured from more than 600 parts made of titanium and precious stones such as sapphire and ruby. The centre console is made of crystal glass and aluminium. And bucking the trend, the only screen in the car is completely invisible.

Unless you want to see it. Then the touchscreen unfolds from the top of the centre console in portrait mode within two seconds, for example for the reversing camera. In landscape mode, the whole procedure takes five seconds.

The tourbillon is now entering the test phase, with prototypes already on the road. So keep your eyes and ears open. That unidentifiable short noise could have just been a Chiron successor. Deliveries of the 250 units are scheduled to start in 2026. Cost point: €3.8 million (approx. £3.2 million) upwards. But handcrafted in the Bugatti Atelier in Molsheim.