It’s important that it isn’t either of those layouts but it’s the ferocity and almost turbine-like nature of its delivery that sets a Bugatti apart from every other hypercar. There are seven gears in a Chiron but you suspect it would still be spectacular if there were just three or four. And the sound that accompanies the urgent acceleration to speeds like the fastest I’ve ever driven (216mph without breaking sweat) is a by-product rather than a purpose itself. There isn’t a specific distinctive wail or shriek to the W16. It just sounds like lots of fuel and air are being consumed in expensive, extravagant fashion.
And so to its replacement. I know Bugatti likes the compact length offered by the unusual W formation and if they’re going to add a motor to the end of the engine it may be useful to retain that configuration. That nobody but Bentley also used it is useful too - a Bugatti distinctly isn’t a Ferrari or Lamborghini and it’s important it remains differentiated. Whatever the layout it’ll be exquisitely built - there is titanium and perfect carbon fibre where you’ll never see it on the W16. Finally, too, it’ll have to develop effortless acceleration like nothing else ever sold.