Bugatti Veyron to bow out in Geneva
Normally, cars are introduced at international motor shows, but this year's Geneva Motor Show will actually feature an ending of sorts. Those with good enough memories will know that 450 was always the planned number of Veyrons Bugatti was going to make before shutting down the line, and that 450th and final Veyron will be on the stand next month in Geneva.
The news came from Bentley and Bugatti chief Wolfgang Dürheimer in an interview with German car magazine Auto, Motor und Sport. Dürheimer didn't get in to specifics, but everyone seems to be betting the very last world-beating supercar will be a Grand Sport Vitesse, which would be the targa model with an extra high output 1,183 horsepower mill.
Like just about every other automotive news outlet on the planet, we've been impressed by the Veyron since day one. Its list of technological particulars sounds like Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott's shopping list:
- an 8.0-liter, quad-turbocharged engine with the cylinders arranged in a W16 layout displacing just under 8 liters (7,993 cubic cm (487.8 cu in) if you really want to be a stickler)
- a dual-clutch direct-shift gearbox computer-controlled automatic with seven gear ratios that can change cogs in less than 150 ms (and if you munch the gearbox, a replacement unit will cost you the price of a good used Ferrari)
- special Michelin PAX run-flat tires unique to the car that cost US$25,000 per set (the skins can be mounted on the rims only back in France, which will set you back another $70,000 for mounting and balancing)
- a total of 10 radiators: three heat exchangers for the air-to-liquid intercoolers for the turbos, three engine radiators, one transmission oil radiator, one differential oil radiator, one engine oil radiator and one for the air conditioning system.
And that's only about a third of all the gee-wiz stuff this car packs. How could anyone not like a car like that?
Even before its release in 2005, it was being heralded as the world's fastest production car. The Veyron Super Sport officially claimed that record back in 2010 at an astounding 268 mph (431 km/h) before setting the record again, in a manner of speaking, by getting the Guinness Book of World Records to officially award the Veyron, and not the usurper, the Hennessey Venom GT, the crown.
It wasn't all about bragging rights and speed runs either.
Over the journey we got a look at the inside of the Ricardo-built 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) system and were treated to a number of special editions, including the one-off "Bleu Centenaire" anniversary model, and the first supercar released sans paint job, the Pur Sang limited edition Veyron. There was even the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse World Record Car limited edition to drive home its Guinness credentials to anyone who wasn't aware.
All this is well and good and there is no denying that the Bugatti Veyron, in all its guises, forms and trims, is a startlingly potent car. In terms of outright velocity, it is unmatched. In expressions of exclusivity, it is hard to beat.
But it is also worth noting that for all of this, Bugatti has no real relationship to the company founded by one of the all time automotive greats, Ettore Bugatti. It was a nameplate, a badge, picked up from a semi-failed resurrection of marque from a few decades ago. And the people that acquired the rights to the Bugatti name? That most proletariat of all brands: Volkswagen. Also unlike the Bugattis from Le Patron's time, the new Bugattis do not race.
More's the pity that neither of those things are true, but other than those, there is nothing to pity about the Bugatti Veyron, the world's benchmark. Now attention will turn to its reported hybrid successor and the question is whether it will be worthy to follow in the Veyron's tire treads. We'll just have to wait and see.
Sources: Auto, Motor und Sport, Bugatti
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It said the company recommends changing the tires every 2,500 miles (4k km) and the rims+tires every 10,000 miles so you are looking at $170,000 per 10,000 miles in tires/rims alone.
For as expensive as the Veyron is and as fast as it is in a straight line the fastest reported Nürburgring lap time I have seen published for it is an embarrassingly slow 7:40 which is terrible for a $1.5 million car when $100,000 cars like the GT-R and Corvette C6 are boasting times in the ballpark of 7:20. Even the Camaro Z/28 has a posted time of 7:37 on a semi-wet track.
If you have a bottomless pit of money the 918 spider is 6:57, the McLaren P1 is ~6:30, and the LaFerrari prototype was 6:35. Those are cars in the same price range as the Veyron beating it by almost a full minute around the ring.
It was/is an iconic car but it's probably due for a hybrid overhaul. If the benchmark set by the 918, P1 etc. is any indicator the hybrid version will probably keep things interesting.
To some people top speed is an interesting benchmark to measure performance but IMHO after 240 MPH or so I think there is a high penalty to pay for being too far into diminishing returns. Doubling horsepower and adding a lot of weight/cost just to improve top speed another 20 MPH doesn't seem like it has much value outside of bragging rights.
I wish but had I really the money I would go for the Hennesy Venom GT. It is made in my country, looks better to my eye (I always thought the Veyron was ugly), it sounds better, is much simpler which in my book is always a good idea, and I think it will actually usurp the Veryon's records in time.
Don't get me wrong if someone handed me the title for a Veyron I'd drive it until the first oil change bankrupted me.
I'm sure if they wanted to make a car specifically to go around the 'Ring fast enough, they could easily accomplish it, it's just not what Bugatti does.
For some, a guy who works on his own car, builds his own engine will always be far more valuable then truly dumb devices like this thing.
When Ettore Bugatti passed away, so did the building of real Bugatti's.