Bugatti carries a well-deserved reputation for producing cars that are
both exclusive and fast. Originally founded in Molsheim, France, the
company failed at the onset of World War II, struggling back at the end
of the fighting to produce its last model in the 1950s. Bugatti was
eventually sold for its airplane parts production, but today the marque
is owned by Volkswagen, which has revived the Bugatti name as a synonym
for limited production sports cars with that special edge. Case in
point, the Bugatti Veyron, introduced in 1999 at the Tokyo Motor Show as
a concept (EB 18/4 Veyron) built around a chassis taken from the Bugatti
The product of chief designer Hartmut Warkuss (exterior by Jozef Kavan
of Volkswagen), the concept 18/4 used a W18 engine touting three banks
of six cylinders each. At the 2000 Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen Group
chairman Ferdinand Piech, promised that the 18/4 would score several
automotive firsts -- fastest, most powerful, and most expensive. The
engine was subsequently replaced with a VR6/WR8 W16 with four
turbochargers for a stunning 1001 hp and a promised top speed of 253
mph. If those numbers weren't enough to make spectators gasp, the price
of 1 million euros surely did the trick. (The production price actually
wound up being 1,100,000 euros or about $1.5 million American.)
At the end of 2001, Bugatti announced that production of what it was now
calling the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 would begin in 2003. However, a change
in leadership at Volkswagen with the retirement of Piech and the
appearance of Bernd Pischetsrieder to head the company sent the car back
to design for some big changes under the watchful eye of Bugatti
engineering chief Wolfgang Schreiber. The Veyron finally went into
production in 2005 and by the end of 2007, 133 had been produced at the
Molsheim facility in Alsace, France.
Apart from special editions, the Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 is a two-door
coupe outfitted with an 8-liter quad-turbocharged W16 (two banks of
eight cylinders each with four valves) mated to a dual-clutch 7-speed
Direct-Shift Gearbox computer-controlled sequential transmission. The
vehicle can be driven as a full automatic and has constant four-wheel
drive using the Haldex Traction system. The specially designed Veyron
tires are Michelin run-flats that can handle the top speed of 253 mph.
(The price for the tires on this baby alone is $25,000.)
There are ten radiators in the Veyron, three for engine cooling, one
heat exchanger for the air-to-liquid intercoolers, two for the AC, one
transmission oil radiator, one differential oil radiator, one engine oil
radiator, and one hydraulic oil radiator for the spoiler. The brakes are
cross-drilled, radially-vented, carbon fiber-reinforced silicon carbide
composite discs. Made by SGL Carbon, they exhibit exceptional resistance
to brake fade. AP Racing makes the aluminum alloy monobloc brake
calipers. (Eight titanium pistons on the front calipers, six on the
Speed wise, the Veyron has a drag coefficient of 0.36. It produces 1001
hp with 920 lb-ft. of torque. The "every day" top speed is listed at 233
mph, although the Veyron has done 253 on the track. When it reaches 137
mph, hydraulics lower the chassis to a ground clearance of roughly 3.5
inches and the wing and spoiler deploy. The driver uses a Top Speed Key
to toggle the lock left to run the Veyron up to 253, but this can only
be used when the car is standing still and all systems check out to go
into top speed mode.
Zero to 62 mph flies by in 2.46 seconds (around 1.18g, the first
production car to surpass 1g of acceleration.) The Veyron gets to 124.3
mph in 7 seconds and 186.4 mph in 16.2. It'll knock off the quarter mile
in 10.2. Good gas mileage? Forget it. (Seriously, if you're in the
market for this car, do you even care?) In town, the Veyron gets about
9.76 mpg. At full throttle, the 26 U.S. gallon tank will run dry in 12
minutes. At more conventional highway speeds, you'll get 12 mpg U.S.
Because of the power contained in this monster, it's extremely important
to shop around with specialty insurers to obtain the
insurance policy, although if you can afford one of these beasts
insurance costs likely aren't going to be an issue.
Special Veyron editions include:
Pur Sang - Literally "pure blood" in French, this edition, introduced at
the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2007, will have a production run
of five, featuring high-gloss aluminum wheels with a diamond-cut finish
and a pure aluminum-carbon fiber body.
Fbg par Hermes - In partnership with French fashion designer Hermes,
this special edition, announced in 2008 at the Geneva Motor Show, will
have a redesigned front end. The interior, trimmed in Hermes leather
(with an Hermes suitcase to fit the trunk) will compliment the four
available color schemes: Indigo Blue and Vermillion, Indigo Blue and
Lime Green, Black and Garance Red, and Prussian Blue and Blue Jean.
(Also look for 8-spoke rims and a new grille with an H-pattern.)
Sang Noir - Approximately 15 of these cars will be made, paying homage
to the company's original production from the 1930s, the Bugatti
Atlantique 57S. The design is a stunning mixture of all-black raw
carbon-fiber panels and blacked-out headlights with aluminum highlights
at the grille surround and on the side mirrors. The Sang Noir will first
be offered to elite U.S. customers for approximately $1.5 million.
Bleu Cenetaire - Unveiled at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, the solid blue
edition with an extended bonnet and a chromed center stipe was created
in honor of Bugatti's 100th aniversary. Rumors suggest a top speed of
250 mph, but there is no confirmation.
Masory Linea Vincero - This edition also made its debut in Geneva in
2009, featuring tuning by Linea Vincero for enhanced power and torque.
The price has not yet been announced, but only three of this edition
will be produced.
Whether you're looking at the "base" 16.4 or one of the special
editions, the Veyron achieves the company's stated goals for the model.
It's the fastest street legal car in the world, pumping out the most
power, with the quickest acceleration and the highest price tag.
Everything about the Veyron begs the use of superlatives, it is, simply
the sexiest most coveted, ultra-exclusive sports car in the world.