There just aren't enough superlatives to adequately describe the exploits of Ettore Bugatti and the remarkable history of his marque, let alone its resurrection as a world-beating performance car manufacturer. The 882 kW (1,200 PS) Bugatti Super Sport reclaimed the title of the fastest production car in the world last year and it has now been joined at the top of the heap by its sibling, the 736 kW (1,001 PS) Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport which is now the fastest and most powerful convertible in the world. It has an electronically limited top speed of 407 km/h (252.9 mph) with the roof on, and will best 360 km/h (223.7 mph) sans lid. Special editions of both cars greeted the throngs at Auto Shanghai this week.
The Grand Sport on display in Shanghai is as much a statement of capability by Bugatti's customization team as it is about creating a standard model. With their customers spending the best part of two million bucks on their car, Bugatti has found that they usually want to make the vehicle a reflection of their own style and taste. Hence for a few extra dollars you can have any color, interior, finish, or material you desire. The Shanghai Grand Sport is matte white with blue carbon elements and blue alloy wheels. Inside, the color scheme is reversed with a predominantly blue interior contrasted by white stitching and the aluminum console.
Now one of the biggest thrills associated with driving the Bugatti topless will come from the proximity of those intake trumpets to one's ears. Get that eight liter, 16 cylinder engine with its four turbochargers inhaling hard and you'll be able to hear one of the most distinctive and glorious acoustic phenomena known to man.
If the heavens open, there's a light textile roof in the boot which will enable you to get home and dry, though your top speed will be limited to an almost pedestrian 160 km/h (100 mph). Refit the transparent polycarbonate roof again and you'll be able to go 247 km/h faster.
The special Carbon Super Sport shown in Shanghai is a production version with the carbon weave visible – its quite similar in external appearance to what you'd expect from Mansory, except the highlights are in aluminum. The interior is "Snow Beige" and "Beluga Black" with large slabs of polished carbon weave and beige leather.
Though all Super Sport models are capable of matching the 431 km/h (267.8 mph) record speed, the production versions such as this one are electronically limited to 415 km/h (257.8 mph) because the centripetal forces on the special tires get a little too extreme for safety's sake beyond that speed. In the interests of aerodynamics, the Super Sport engine gets its air from NACA ducts in the roof.