The Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 is a mid-engined grand touring car. The Super Sport version is the fastest road-legal production car in the world, with a top speed of 431 km/h (268 mph). The original version has a top speed of 408.00 km/h (253.52 mph). It was named Car of the Decade (2000–2009) by the BBC television programme Top Gear.
Designed and developed by Volkswagen Group (based on the Bentley Hunaudieres concept) and produced by Bugatti Automobiles SAS at their headquarters in Château Saint Jean in Molsheim (Alsace, France), the Veyron’s chief designer was Hartmut Warkuss, and the exterior was designed by Jozef Kabaň of Volkswagen, with much of the engineering work being conducted under the guidance of former Peterbilt Trucks engineer and now Bugatti Engineering chief Wolfgang Schreiber. Though commissioned by Volkswagen, this car is only sold through the Bugatti manufacturers and cannot be found at any Volkswagen dealer.
A number of special variants have been produced, including two targa tops. In December 2010, Bugatti began offering prospective buyers the ability to customize exterior and interiors colours by using the Veyron 16.4 Configurator application on the marque’s official website.
The car is named after French racing driver Pierre Veyron, who won the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1939 while racing for the original Bugatti company. The 16.4 refers to 16 cylinders and 4 turbochargers.
Specifications and performance
The Veyron features an 8.0 litre, quad-turbocharged, W16 cylinder engine, equivalent to two narrow-angle V8 engines . Each cylinder has four valves for a total of sixty four, but the narrow staggered V8 configuration allows two overhead camshafts to drive two banks of cylinders so only four camshafts are needed. The engine is fed by four turbochargers anddisplaces 7,993 cubic centimetres (487.8 cu in), with a square 86 by 86 mm (3.4 by 3.4 in) bore and stroke. The transmission is a dual-clutch direct-shift gearbox computer-controlled automaticwith seven gear ratios, with magnesium paddles behind the steering wheel and a shift time of less than 150 milliseconds, built by Ricardo of England rather than Borg-Warner, who designed the six speed DSG used in the mainstream Volkswagen Group marques. The Veyron can be driven in either semi- or fully automatic mode. A replacement transmission for the Veyron costs just over US$120,000. It also has permanent four wheel drive using the Haldex Traction system. It uses special MichelinPAX run-flat tyres, designed specifically to accommodate the Veyron’s top speed, which cost US$25,000 per set. The tyres can be removed from the rims only in France, a service which costs US$70,000. Curb weight is 1,888 kilograms (4,162 lb). This gives the car a power-to-weight ratio, according to Volkswagen Group’s figures, of 446.3 metric horsepower (328 kW; 440 bhp) per ton.
The car’s wheelbase is 2,710 mm (106.7 in). Overall length is 4,462 mm (175.7 in), width 1,998 mm (78.7 in) and height 1,204 mm (47.4 in). The Bugatti Veyron has a total of ten radiators:
- 3 heat exchangers for the air-to-liquid intercoolers.
- 3 engine radiators.
- 1 for the air conditioning system.
- 1 transmission oil radiator.
- 1 differential oil radiator.
- 1 engine oil radiator.
It has a drag coefficient of 0.41 (normal condition) and 0.36 (after lowering to the ground), and a frontal area of 2.07 square metres (22.3 sq ft). This gives it a drag area – the combination of drag coefficient and frontal area, represented as CdA – of 0.74 m2 (8.0 sq ft).
According to Volkswagen Group and certified by TÜV Süddeutschland, the final production Veyron engine produces 1,001 metric horsepower (736 kW; 987 bhp) of motive power, and generates 1,250 newton metres (922 ft·lbf) of torque. The nominal figure has been stated by Bugatti officials to be conservative, with the real total being 1,020 metric horsepower (750 kW; 1,006 bhp) or more.
Super Sport edition
The Veyron Super Sport features an engine power increase from the standard 1,001 metric horsepower (736 kW; 987 bhp) to 1,200 metric horsepower (883 kW; 1,184 bhp) and torque of 1,500 N·m (1,100 ft·lbf) and a revised aerodynamic package. It was shown publicly for the first time at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2010.
Bugatti’s official test driver Pierre Henri Raphanel drove the Super Sport version of the Veyron on Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien high-speed test track to establish the car’s top speed. With representatives of the Guinness Book of Records and German Technical Inspection Agency (TÜV) on hand, Raphanel made passes around the big oval in both directions achieving an average maximum speed of 431.072 km/h (267.856 mph). Once produced for sale, the first five Super Sports will sport the same black and orange finish as the first production car, which was used to set the speed record, and all production models will be electronically limited to 415 km/h (258 mph) to protect the tyres.
German inspection officials recorded an average top speed of the original version of 408.47 km/h (253.81 mph) during test sessions on the Ehra-Lessien test track on 19 April 2005.
This top speed was verified by James May on Top Gear in November 2006, again at Volkswagen Group’s private Ehra-Lessien test track. May noted that at top speed the engine consumes 45,000 litres (9,900 imp gal) of air per minute (as much as a human breathes in four days). The Veyron has the highest top speed of any street legal production car. Back in the Top Gear studio, co-presenter Jeremy Clarkson commented that most super-cars felt like they were shaking apart at their top speed, and asked May if that was the case with the Veyron at 407 km/h (253 mph). May responded that no, the Veyron was very controlled, and only wobbled a tiny-bit when the air-brake deployed. May further commented “Absolutely yea, it’s totally undramatic. But I would give you a bit of a warning, It’s a bit disorientating doing that sort of speed, because after I came off the banking, I was slowing down to stop, and you know how you get a bit impatient and think ‘I’ll just open the door’, fortunately I looked back at the speedo, and I was still doing seventy.”
On 4 July 2010, Bugatti’s official test driver Pierre Henri Raphanel piloted the Super Sport edition and was clocked at an average of 431.072 km/h (267.856 mph) on the same track, taking back the title from the SSC Ultimate Aero TT as the fastest production vehicle of all time. The 431.072 km/h mark was reached by averaging the Super Sport’s two test runs, the first reaching 427.93 km/h (265.90 mph) and the second 434.20 km/h (269.80 mph). The record run was certified by the German government and the Guinness Book of World Records.
The car’s everyday top speed is listed at 350 km/h (220 mph). When the car reaches 220 km/h (140 mph), hydraulics lower the car until it has a ground clearance of about 9 cm (3.5 in). At the same time, the wing and spoiler deploy. In this handling mode the wing provides 3,425 newtons (770 lbf) of downforce, holding the car to the road.
For top speed mode the driver must, while at rest, toggle a special top speed key to the left of the driver’s seat. A checklist then establishes whether the car and its driver are ready to attempt to reach 407 km/h (253 mph). If so, the rear spoiler retracts, the front air diffusers shut, and normal 12.5 cm (4.9 in) ground clearance drops to 6.5 cm (2.6 in).
The Veyron’s brakes use cross drilled, radially vented carbon fibre reinforced silicon carbide (C/SiC) composite discs, manufactured by SGL Carbon, which have a much greater resistance to brake fade when compared with conventional cast iron discs. The lightweight aluminium alloy monobloc brake calipers are made by AP Racing; the fronts have eighttitanium pistons and the rear calipers have six pistons. Bugatti claims maximum deceleration of 1.3 g’s on road tyres. As an added safety feature, in the event of brake failure, an anti-lock braking system (ABS) has also been installed on the handbrake.
Prototypes have been subjected to repeated 1.0 g braking from 312 km/h (194 mph) to 80 km/h (50 mph) without fade. With the car’s acceleration from 80 km/h (50 mph) to 312 km/h (194 mph), that test can be performed every 22 seconds. At speeds above 200 km/h (120 mph), the rear wing also acts as an airbrake, snapping to a 55° angle in 0.4 seconds once brakes are applied, providing an additional 0.68 g (6.66 m/s2) of deceleration (equivalent to the stopping power of an ordinary hatchback). Bugatti claims the Veyron will brake from 400 km/h (250 mph) to a standstill in less than 10 seconds, though distance covered in this time will be half of a kilometer (third of a mile).
Edited from Bugatti Veyron