Bugatti Veyron

One quickly runs out of superlatives when trying to describe the Bugatti Veyron. I'm not even sure if one should use the word "car" to refer to such a monster. Endowed with absolute power and a daunting maximum speed, the Veyron looks and sounds like it just came out of some impossible future inhabited by gigantic gas pumps.

50 years after Ettore Bugatti's death, Volkswagen used its magic wand to resurrect the legendary firm, and to say the least, the German carmaker did a mindblowing job.

Motorsports enthusiasts will instantly refer you to the mythical Bugatti Royale from the 1930s, a colossal and majestic masterpiece, sold at such a prohibitive price that only three people were able to afford to buy it at the time. The Royale turned out to be one of the most rare and prestigious automobiles of all times, but despite record-breaking performances, its endless and fairytale-like silhouette became above all a symbol of unequivocable luxury able to make any Rolls Royce look like your everyday sedan. Instead of trying to match the Royale's incredible legacy, re-Volkswagen decided to look for inspiration in Bugatti's racing history to design the Veyron, rightfully using the name of the famous driver who won at Le Mans in 1939 behind the wheel of a Bugatti Type 57.

We got to drive this exceptional vehicle for a few miles in the parking lot of a San Diego country club. It's easy to feel intimidated by this incredible machine, so we carefully and promptly handed it back to its official tutor, French race car driver PierHenri Raphanel.

The Veyron is unbeatable. Its wide and massive shape sets it aside from other supercars such as the sleek Mercedes McLaren SLR or the angular Ferrari Enzo. But the real thrill comes from the Veyron's unrivaled performances: with an engine delivering 1001 hp and a top speed neighboring 250 mph, the new Bugatti flies over the road like a rocket in the morning sky. The Veyron goes from 0 to 62 mph in 2.5 seconds, which is no less than a second faster than a Ferrari Enzo. Pedal to the metal, you can reach 200 mph in little more than 15 seconds. This is a first in the field of street-legal vehicles, and you would have to steal a Champ Car to have a chance to catch up with the Veyron. To be frank, at the end of the day, I still wouldn't put a dollar on you.

Revolutionary techniques were involved in the making of this 21st Bugatti. In order to gather the 1001 horsepower needed to establish a new automotive legend, Volkswagen has designed an 8 liter W16 engine by mating two narrow-angle V8s. Peak torque is 922 lb/ft at 2200 rpm No less than four turbochargers garnish this frenzied powerhouse and engineers had to come up with a special seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to allow for all this wild energy to be transferred to the road. Needless to say, fuel efficiency was never an issue in the process, and you'll be delighted to learn that the Bugatti Veyron has given a new meaning to the term gas-guzzler by settling for a little more than 2 miles per gallon at top speed. In this configuration, the tank would go from full to empty in less than 12 minutes. All kinds of rumors are surrounding this unbelievable ride: pushing hard on this monster will make a set of tires last about 125 miles.

bugatti veyron red and black

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