Thursday, February 7, 2013

Driving The Fastest Car On The Road: The $2 Million Bugatti Vitesse by Forbes

Driving The Fastest Car On The Road: The $2 Million Bugatti Vitesse
by Hannah Elliott

 When you’re driving 200 miles per hour in the world’s fastest production car, you don’t exactly swerve to miss a bird.

Even an enormous blackbird flying straight at you.

“It came out of nowhere – I thought it was a brick,” Bugatti’s team pilot Andy Wallace told me the other day. We were cruising the back roads of Connecticut in the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse. Wallace was the one driving when the bird hit earlier this year. “It didn’t leave a mark.”

Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse Orange Eternal
Custom paint job by artist Venet
Pulverized, is more like it.

Which is how you’ll feel after driving the 1,200-horsepower supercar. But in the best way possible–it’s a mental pulverization rather than physical as your brain tries to make sense of the phenomena it just experienced.

“Bugatti must be the ultimate driving experience man can produce,” Wolfgang Durheimer told me recently in Germany. The Bugatti head races cars on the weekends–he’s been up to 233mph in the Veyron and is pushing for 250 on his next drive.

Indeed. And this isn’t just another Bugatti. The Veyron Vitesse is not an updated soft-top version of the 16.4 Grand Sport. It has a brand-new body made completely out of carbon fiber, redesigned air scoops, refined sculpture on the front and rear fascia, and a highly tuned suspension system that sets it far apart from its predecessors. I drove the Veyron Grand Sport a year ago in California, and the Vitesse is better.

Vitesse sits four inches off the ground (two inches at 230mph or faster), utterly stable and smooth in the most matter-of-fact way. At high speeds it never shudders, never squirms. It manages corners as a mother with child: firm but gentle. Always calm. Wallace tells me you couldn’t flip this car if you tried.

Specs, just because: It’ll go from zero to 100mph and back to zero in just over 9 seconds. Zero to 200mph to zero in 27 seconds. On the way up, you’ll hit the 60mph mark in about 2.5 seconds.

High speeds require special considerations, naturally. A spoiler deploys, and the windows go up automatically, at 112mph. Three suspension heights include Standard, Handling (for most track driving and open highways), and Top Speed (anything above 230mph – you’ll need a key to engage this one). The brakes are pure ceramic, impervious to the considerable heat generated by such aggression. Max torque is 1,500 Nm.

$2.4 million - 1200 horsepower - 255 mph

Contrary to popular belief, the 16-cylinder engine takes Super Unleaded gasoline–not the tears of Vestal virgins–for fuel. It gets an average of 10 miles to the gallon.

The crazy thing is that driving the Vitesse for an afternoon will almost convince you it would work as a daily driver. It would, too, if taking a $2.1 million car on hum-drum errands about town is your bag. (It’s really as easy to drive as your dad’s Audi. Steering requires one finger at the wheel, if you want.) As you’ll notice from my hair in the video above, there’s almost no wind battering inside the car.
Carbon fiber themed interior - Center console extension
EB logo in the rear-bulkhead leather trim
Belt outlet covers on the seats

Each of the 350 Veyrons built is unique, though carbon fiber is a constant theme throughout. The outer skin of the car is made completely from the stuff, which means you can get your Bugatti clear-coated in visible carbon if you like. The center console, the EB-logo cover in the rear-bulkhead and the belt outlet covers on the seats are also sheathed in carbon.

Seats come quilted in premium cowhide.

“It takes 14 cows to give the hides for one car,” Wallace told me. Special Alpine cows kept in wooden-fenced fields at high enough altitudes to evade the flies and ticks. Scarred leather seats aren’t exactly a good look.

Also new and of note for the Vitesse: knee pads in the centre tunnel area, an additional 12V socket in the glove compartment, the seat belt configuration and the instrument cluster with shift-up information. Most importantly, look for a new power gauge that reaches 1,200 hp.

Bugatti calls including the meter “a matter of honor.” Use it well. —

1 comment:

  1. Great car, it is not only fastest but also has great style and features.


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