History may remember the new Bugatti Veyron, being shown in North America for the first time at the LA Auto Show, as the one of the most powerful cars ever. With 16 cylinders, 64 valves and four turbochargers producing 987 hp, the Veyron is said to surpass 250 mph. A power gauge on the instrument panel tells the driver how much horsepower is being used. While it can’t use more than 987 horsepower it can hit 0-60 in under 3 seconds. Only 300 Veyrons will be built for about $1.2 million each.
UPDATE 06/01/2010: National Geographic has revealed a very cool documentary about the Bugatti Veyron supercar. There are four different episodes, each representing different moments in the building of the car. To take a look at all four episodes, click here.
UPDATE 04/17/2012: Bugatti has unveiled a new promo video for their Veyron 16.4. The video is of Top Gear’s very own Jeremy Clarkson as he discusses the supercar. Definitely a must see!
Features and Performance
The Bugatti Veyron was going to be fast - 0-100 km/h in 2.5 seconds, 200 km/h in 7.3, 300 km/h in 16.7 and on to its top speed of 407 km in just under a minute!
There’s even a power gauge on the instrument panel that shows how much of the 1001 horsepower you are actually using. It’s particularly amusing that although the gauge tracks power usage in 100 horsepower increments it ends at 1001. We were often only tapping 300 to 400 hp and still passing everything in sight, but dropping the car into second gear via the steering-wheel mounted paddles or shifter and flattening the accelerator causes the power meter to flip to 700-800 hp or so producing a rush of speed unlike anything we have experienced before. The shove in your back, which incidentally is but inches from the massive 8-litre, 16-cylinder, four-turbo engine, is akin to the sensation of being in a jumbo jet at take off. The scenery literally blurs past and the next corner approaches like a cinematic car chase on fast-forward.
In the process of tweaking the shape and design of the Veyron, Bugatti has also managed to provide the car with a much more powerful engine than it originally intended. Early specifications for the Veyron’s mammoth 8.0-liter W16 listed the vehicle’s top speed at a whopping 220 miles per hour. As of May, though, Bugatti claimed that it had squeezed nearly 30 additional mph out of the engine, raising its top speed within a hair’s breadth of 250 mph.
Not content to rest on the laurels of a four-figure output for this engine, Bugatti has seen fit to make the Veyron yield 1,001 horsepower.
Merging the Past and the Future
The Bugatti Veyron 16.4’s home is in Molsheim-Dorlisheim, the French town where, almost 100 years ago, Ettore Bugatti began to realize his lifelong dream of being a car manufacturer.
The new workshop is not just where the engine and vehicle are assembled and tested, it is also the place where customers collect their Bugattis and drive them out onto the streets for the first time.
The aim is to turn Molsheim into an all-round Bugatti centre once again. While up to 70 new vehicles a year are built by hand in the new facility, neighbouring specially-equipped workshops are the scene of expert restoration work on historic Bugatti vehicles. Both past and future have found a new home here.
The car’s safety systems have been designed to cope with its extraordinary performance, acceleration and speed. The single-piece carbon fibre monocoque alone scores maximum points in crash tests, while airbags give the driver and passenger additional protection. The high-speed tires designed specially for the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 (for vmax. > 350 km/h), sizes 265-68 R 500 A (front) and 365-71 R 540 A (rear), incorporate a further innovative safety feature in the form of the PAX System fitted to the wheels and tires, ensuring safe handling even after sudden pressure loss. Another Bugatti Veyron 16.4 component with a safety element is the rear spoiler. As well as providing the necessary downforce during high-speed travel, it acts as a kind of ‘parachute brake’ during emergency braking. Once precisely-defined deceleration forces are registered the spoiler tilts and the additional air resistance this generates reduces the braking distance to that of a lorry.
The Art of the Machine
The W16 alloy engine developed by Bugatti for the Veyron 16.4 will have a special and absolutely unique place in the history of sports car construction. Its design employs the space-saving VR principle with two particularly slender eight-cylinder blocks arranged at a 90° angle to each other.
1001 horsepower equip the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 with a level of acceleration unheard of in the sports car segment, propelling it from 0 to 60 mph in just three seconds and past the 200 mph mark in a mere 14 seconds. Thanks to its 923 lb-ft, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4’s enormous propulsive power is not exhausted until it reaches 252.3 mph (406 km/h): the maximum speed for which chassis and drive train have been designed. Any further performance escalation is limited by current design and construction.
Also unique is the power transmission via an innovative directshift gearbox. Without any interruption in the power flow, the sequential seven-speed gearbox transmits the engine’s power to the wheels via permanent four-wheel drive. Put simply, this means uninterrupted acceleration from a standing start to maximum speed: a feeling previously known only to jet pilots.
Exclusive, Classical, Functional
Both exclusive and highly functional, the interior of the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 will transport you to a world of your own. Superb leather, also two-tone if desired, quality metallic trim and beautifully designed and ergonomically laid-out controls characterize the Veyron cockpit.
The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 instruments, with a large central rev counter surrounded by four smaller additional instruments also conjures up memories of the marque’s legendary motor sport past. The deliberate avoidance of superfluous instruments and modern extras are an unmistakable statement of the car’s uncompromising sportiness.
Unchanged on the series version of the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is the classical two-tone paintwork. The designers have selected five separate colour combinations for the car: Each of the combinations features the bonnet, roof and rear in the darker of the two colours, with the sides and front wheel arches in the lighter colour.
Buggati Factory in Molsheim
On Saturday, 3 September 2005, Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. hosted opening festivities for the ‘Atelier’ in Molsheim, its new plant dedicated to production of the new Bugatti. At the same time, the company’s headquarters, the Château St. Jean, along with the neighboring buildings, were officially opened for their intended purpose.
The lucky 300 individuals able to get their hands on a 2006 Bugatti Veyron will certainly be paying handsomely to do so, as the vehicle is confirmed to go on sale for over a million euros, which translates into more than $1.2 million for American customers.