When we decided to pit the two top supercars against one another, the list had to include the Bugatti Veyron , the Goliath of the supercar world. Its competitor, on the other hand, wasn’t nearly as clear cut, as there are numerous cars that you can match up against the Veyron and get a good fight.
The first one that we looked at was the Hennessey Venom GT and its 1,244-horsepower V-8. In all honesty, the Hennessey just feels more like a kit car to us, thanks to its Lotus Elise base. Granted, that’s one bad-ass, Bugatti killing kit car, but it still just didn’t feel right to us.
After spanning the globe trying to find a good competitor, we ended up right back in the U.S. with the all-new SSC Tuatara . This limited production supercar definitely has the power to handle the likes of the Veyron on paper, but we really need to dig in deep to see what really happens when we put them up against each other.
To find out who wins you’ll have to click past the jump.
gallery: SSC Tuatara
gallery: Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport
The Veyron boasts a rather unique styling, if you wish to call it that. We tend to look at it like a jellybean that’s slightly squashed on one end, but to each their own. It’s uniqueness, however, is one of its strengths. Few, if any, supercars bear any resemblance to it and you know it’s a Veyron when it passes by you. The Veyron also has a nice and stout stance, sitting on a 1.99-meter (78.3-inch) back end. This stout back end is what really gives the otherwise fairly soft Bugatti its attitude. Plus its automatic rear wing is a fairly gratuitous, yet awesome, touch to this supercar. The Bugatti is a flabby one though, weighing in at over 4,000 lbs, which is something that doesn’t go over too well in the supercar realm.
The SSC Tuatara, on the other hand, looks like a UFO came down, had a wild drunken night with a Lamborghini Aventador , and left the next morning. Nine months later, the Tuatara popped out. Its style is another that is not easily confused with anything else and it actually looks the part of a supercar. Its mid-ship wings and razor-sharp nose give it a “Don’t mess with me” kind of look. The Tuatara is also slightly wider than the Bugatti, at 78.4 inches, and unlike the Bugatti, the SSC Tuatara comes in at a relatively svelte 2,750 lbs when free of all fluids.
It’s a close match-up, but the lighter, more supercar-looking Tuatara just does more for us. The Bugatti is a gorgeous car, but supercars need to have a more harsh attitude than the Veyron has. You just want to look at it and say “Damn, that’s gotta be fast.” If we knew nothing about the Bugatti, we wouldn’t even think of it that way. The SSC, however, just oozes performance from its pores.
When you slide into the Bugatti, you can tell that you are in a car built for both performance and luxury. The entire interior, sans a few accent pieces, is coated in a luxurious leather hide. Even the center console has diamond-tufted leather over it. The small accent pieces are a brushed silver and are strewn throughout. Most of the accents are small things, like the door handles, steering wheel posts, and various bezels. However, there is one huge silver panel on the center stack’s face that you either love or hate. We tend to enjoy this added touch and the fact that Bugatti did not attempt to overload the dashboard with various switches and buttons.
The only images we have of the Tara’s interior are several computer generated pics that look like they were stripped straight out of some bad science fiction movie from the `80s. The steering wheel is square, the gauges look as though they are suspended in mid-air and the center console and stack look like they belong on the Curiosity Rover ’s control deck. Maybe the production model looks a little better, but we hate the design as is now. Keep in mind though, when SSC has shown the prototype, they have had the windows so darkly tinted that you cannot see the inside. We hope this is an indication that it’s still being tweaked and they change it up a little. We don’t mind moving toward more advanced interiors, but please don’t make it look like the SciFi channel vomited throughout the interior.
Well, it should be obvious, but we’ll tell you regardless. Yes, the Bugatti’s interior wins, hands down. The Tuatara’s interior looks hideous from the concept images. Maybe they’ll change it up a little, but we doubt it.
Okay, the performance is really all that should matter in a supercar, so we saved it for last. The Bugatti uses an 8.0-liter W-16 engine, which is basically like two V-8’s strapped side-by-side. The engine mates to a 7-speed DSG gearbox. This engine pumps out a stout 1,001 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 1,250 Nm (921 pound-feet) of torque at 2,200 to 5,500 rpm. To get up to 100 km/h (62 mph), the Veyron 16.4 requires just 2.5 seconds, putting it at 60 mph in an estimated 2.4 seconds, though it has been tested as high as 2.9 seconds. Both numbers are very impressive for a 4,000-pound vehicle. The most impressive, however, is that it only takes 2.3 seconds to bring it back to a standstill from 100 km/h.
If you’re feeling froggy and want to really test your guts, the Veyron hits 200 km/h (124 mph) in just 7.3 seconds and 300 km/h (186 mph) in just 6.7 seconds. It’s been timed in the quarter-mile at 10.8 seconds with a top speed of 140 mph. The true gut tester is the Veyron’s 407 km/h (252.8 mph) top speed. Not that you’ll ever need it, but it’s there.
Oh, one downside to the engine... If you don’t have access to 93-octane fuel, the dealership must de-tune the engine or you can do some serious damage. That’s a tad bit too much engineering in our mind.
The Veyron 16.4 boasts double traverse control arms to provide ideal handling. These combine with a stability program, locking differential, all-wheel drive, and specially formulated tire to create a car that is flabby, yet still handles like it should. Unfortunately, Bugatti hasn’t given us a skid pad test or slalom test outcome, so it’s really hard to say how well it handles in real life. There have been several reports that all of that weight really makes quick maneuvers slightly hairy, and that makes perfect sense to us.
Have a seat before reading this section, and make sure you have swallowed your coffee, beer, wine, soda, or what ever it is that you drink while Interneting. All set now? Good...
The SSC Tuatara has a 423.6 cubic-inch V-8 engine that pumps out so much horsepower the Bugatti Veyron wants to buy one. Yeah, 1,350 horsepower at 6,800 rpm is enough to make this French-built supercar feel a little inadequate. We still have yet to bring up the fact that it also boasts 1,042 pound-feet of torque, so you never need a facelift, as one quick punch of the pedal and you take a full 20 years off of your face.
You have the option of choosing either a 7-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed SMG transmission with paddle shifters. Either way, the car performs admirably. It zips to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds, which is just about on par with the Veyron 16.4. It also hits 100 mph in 11.25 seconds, which is also right on par with the Veyron. Where the SSC pulls away is on the quarter-mile, which it completes in 7.75 seconds at 144 mph. Oh, and we forgot to mention its estimated top speed of 276 mph. You may be wondering how the Veyron still holds the title of “Fastest production car.” Well, no one has officially gotten the SSC Tuatara up to its 276 mph top speed yet. To make matters more in the SSC’s favor, it runs off of 91-octane fuel, so there is no de-tuning needed.
Under the Tuatara, you have unequal length upper and lower A-arms combined with coil-over springs adjustable coil-over shocks and an anti-roll bar. This may sound pretty basic, but combine that with the Tuatara’s lightweight body and you have a nimble little machine that can pull 1.05 g on the skid pad. There are no on-road tests of it yet, but we are confident in saying that the Tuatara will outperform the Veyron 16.4 in the twisty stuff.
The Tuatara boasts a set of 15-inch ceramic rotors all the way around, and an 8-piston caliper and 6-piston caliper squeezing the front an rear brakes, respectively. This brings the Tuatara to a stop from 60 mph in only 103 feet. It’s hard to compare the Bugatti to the SSC, as Bugatti times its stop whereas SSC measures its stopping distance, but they are likely very close to one another.
We’ve gotta give the performance category to the SSC Tuatara. Though there aren’t any tested specifications yet, on paper it looks like it’ll annihilate the Bugatti Veyron 16.4. We could be wrong here, but we have to go with our gut until the Tuatara gets some testing under its belt.
If you have to ask this question, you know you’re in for trouble... The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 starts off at $1,250,000 and the SSC reportedly will start off at $1,300,000.
We are not one to undeservedly hand a victory over to the little guy just to be fair, but if the little guy earns it then we have to give it to him. In this case, the SSC Tuatara is clearly the winner. The only category that the Bugatti runs away with is the interior. The stuff that really matters – performance and outward appearance – the SSC wins fairly easily. Now, we are aware that all of the numbers listed for the SSC directly from SSC’s testing, not independent surveys. This could all change once we get our hands on a Tuatara to drive.
In reality though, we would take either, as long as you’re buying!