Bugatti Veyron: Tres rapide...
2004 Bugatti Veyron
An 8.0-litre W16 sits behind the driver
Officially the World's fastest production car
The Bugatti brand is one of the automotive industry's oldest
marque's, and it has plans to make a public and very loud
comeback with what could well be the fastest production car
to ever hit the blacktop.
After what seems like years of teasing us with prototypes,
mock sketches and the odd mention of a 1001 brake horsepower
engine, the Bugatti Veyron is finally finished and will be
sold to European markets late in 2006, and America and Asia
Pacific territories after that.
While the Bugatti name is essentially Italian, Carlo Bugatti
(father of Ettore Buggati) left Milan for France in 1904,
and the marque has since built its cars in Molsheim, France.
Today, the Bugatti name is owned by Volkswagen, and the new
Veyron supercar has also been styled by the Germans, yet despite
this many of the die-hard Bugatti fans are still pleased with
the car's appearance.
The Bugatti Veyron was formally announced as ready-to-go
by Volkswagen in Monte Carlo recently.
The automaker also released offical images of the production
car (pictured right), which is slightly different from the
Veyron shown at the 2002 Geneva Motor Show.
To start with, the long bodied Bugatti - which measures a
4.5 metres from grille to 'zorst, and a massive 2.0 metres
wide - gets slightly re-jigged headlights and a few extra
air intake apertures, such as those located just behind the
As it stands however, the Bugatti behemoth is one very exotic
proposition, both in terms of styling and performance.
The twin intake snorkels mounted on the roof help funnel
cool air to the mid-mounted engine, and while practical, they
add a great deal of visual impact too.
Volkswagen's goal was create the world's fastest production
vehicle, something that could be driven on the road smoothly,
or right-royally thrashed.
As such, one of the first hurdles the company faced, after
developing a killer 16-cylinder engine, was to make sure it
was aerodynamically sound.
To be able to reach speeds of more than 400km/h and still
provide linear handling characteristics, the Veyron's body
had to be sleek, but under the car and out of sight are the
kind of ground effects more commonly seen on Formula One cars.
Volkswagen paid lots of attention to the front and rear spoilers,
and the company reckons that the new Veyron will hold higher
corner speeds, be able to more effectively get power to the
ground while exiting corners and also decelerate more rapidly
under brakes thanks to all the painstaking work they've carried
out in the wind tunnel.
The most impressive aspect of the new Bugatti supercar has
to be the 16-cylinder engine, which is located behind the
driver (mid-mount) for a low centre of gravity, ergo improved
turn-in and general handling characteristics.
Rather than try and squeeze 16 cylinders into a vee format,
Volkswagen came up with a much more compact idea a few years
ago - the 'W' configuration. In layman's terms, it's basically
two 4.0-litre V8s sharing the same crankshaft, which makes
it more compact than similarly sized V12s.
This gargantuan 8.0-litre W16 has four valves per cylinder
- for a total of 64 valves - and together with a supremely
sophisticated forced induction system, it belts out 1001 horsepower,
or 736kW @ 6000rpm.
Just to put that in perspective, the Veyron generates more
power than four of Subaru's potent WRXs put together.
Made of aluminium and magnesium (to keep weight down), the
7993cc W16 powerplant has four turbochargers and four camshafts,
one for each bank of four cylinders respectively.
With a 9.0:1 compression ratio and variable valve timing,
the quad-turbo system helps boost the car's low end, while
providing a fatter torque curve at the same time: 1250Nm of
torque @ 2200-5500rpm. The closest any other production car
comes to this staggering figure is Mercedes'
CL 65 AMG, which pumps out 1000Nm from its 6.0-litre twin-turbo
The new Bugatti is fitted with a brand-spanking new 7-speed
semi-manual transmission, which is operated by paddle shifters
located behind the tanned leather steering wheel. On average,
the twin-clutch system takes just 0.2 seconds to change gears,
which is quicker (on average) than a traditional manual.
In the real world, this 736kW and 1250Nm combines with the
7-speed, all-wheel drive transmission and a 1600kg kerb weight
to propel the Bugatti Veyron to 100km/h from rest in 2.9 seconds.
That's very quick.
If that isn't enough, the four-wheel drive chunk of exotica
will hit 300km/h in 14.0 seconds flat and can cruise at 400km/h
with ease. The car is electronically limited to 400km/h (248
mph), though if de-restricted the 8.0-litre coupe would be
capable of at least 450km/h, perhaps more if the final-drive
ratio and fuel-injection mapping was tweeked.
To safely and reliably accelerate to 400km/h, the Veyron
makes use of custom-designed Michelin tyres, which utilise
what has termed the Pax system. The tyres are capable of dealing
with the stress of 400km/h speeds, and they also have a special
pressure monitoring system and run-flat capability, so that
even in the event of a high-speed puncture, things won't go
all pear shaped.
So, at the end of the day, Volkswagen has not only built
one hell of a coupe, but it now also has bragging rights to
the world's fastest car - and a direct swipe at the likes
of McLaren's F1, Lamborghini's
Murcielago and Ford's
The Bugatti Veyron is expected to cost roughly €750,000,
which is about $1,300,000 in local currency. It is expected
that a handful will make their way to Australia, but most
will be sold in Europe.
The new all-wheel drive Veyron has more power than the current
crop of Formula One cars, and with its massive 8.0-litre,
quad turbo engine, carbon fibre-reinforced chassis and aluminium
body panels, there are few cars out there today that combine
such technical sophistication with a look that's quite unorthodox,
yet strangely appealing.