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HarleyEarl

2007 Bugatti Veyron

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November 28, 2005

First Drive:
2007 Bugatti Veyron
Review and photos by Michael La Fave
Canadian Driver

For 47 years, Bugatti built race, touring and luxury cars that were, and still are, thought by many to be the finest automobiles of their time. Ettore Bugatti's company went bankrupt in 1956 less than a decade after his death, but not before producing almost 8000 automobiles – some with impressive race provenance. Almost 35 years later, the company re-surfaced under Romano Artioli, a wealthy Italian car distributor who had acquired the rights to Bugatti's famous name, and the hallowed marque set out once again to build the most amazing cars in the world.

Artioli introduced the EB110, named for the 110th anniversary of Ettore's birth. It was the fastest and one of the most expensive production cars the world has ever seen.
In 1995, after building 126 of the ultra-exotic 550-horsepower EBs, the company once again closed its doors leaving a dozen or so cars in various stages of assembly entombed until creditors decided what to do with them.

In 1998, Volkswagen bought the Bugatti name and a new era began amidst speculation that the cursed brand and VW's incredible dream of rebuilding it would again end in tears. In 2001, Bugatti showed the Veyron 16.4 concept car and announced that it would bring it to the market as the fastest and most powerful car in the world. Years passed and the Veyron finally seemed to be ready to enter the public stage as the world's ultimate road car. An embarrassing spin on a demonstration lap at the 2003 Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance confirmed rumours that the 1001-hp car was un-driveable and that it would require massive re-engineering.

Bugatti's new president, Dr. Bscher, was determined to see the Veyron come to market and led the company with the help of head of engineering, Dr. Schreiber, in a massive re-design of over 85 per cent of the Veyron's parts.

The result, named after Pierre Veyron who drove a Bugatti Type 57 to victory in the 1939 LeMans, is just as promised: the most powerful, fastest and most expensive production car ever built. Period.

It is difficult to describe the experience of driving this car because it is simply without comparison, rival or peer. How is one to convey the experience of piloting a 1001-hp, 407 km/h, 1 Million Euro supercar?

For example, the price is a staggering sum of money (about 1.5 million Canadian when this was written) for what is by all accounts a car. The best selling car sold in Canada, which happens to be a Honda Civic, costs almost one one-hundredth what the Veyron does. Even in Vancouver or Toronto, $1.5 million buys a very nice house, boat or retirement in Boca Raton. But to those who can spend $100-million plus on a house, $200-million on a yacht, or $20-million to take what, by all accounts, might be a one way trip to the moon on a Russian space ship - the cost of the Veyron falls well in line with the best of what the world has to offer. Which is, after all, exactly what it is.



Many will openly question the necessity for this car's power and astonishing maximum velocity but perhaps they don't understand or appreciate what a technological achievement the Veyron actually is. Humankind has always pushed to travel faster, fly higher, design better, etc, etc. The Veyron takes automobiles to the next level. Even for a company with seemingly limitless resources, the Veyron wasn't easy to develop. Dr. Karl-Heinz Neumann, former president of Bugatti, stated in 2001 that the Veyron, which was but a concept car at the time, would make 1001 horsepower and would top 400 km/h. He really had no basis on which to make this claim especially considering that it wasn't he, as he was replaced not two years ago, who would spend 70 hours a week for the next five years figuring out how to make such an audacious machine comply with environmental, safety and internal VW requirements.


Click image to enlarge
Dr. Neumann's comments set wheels in motion and the result is a car that topped the un-toppable. In March 2005, the Veyron set the production-car top speed record at 407 km/h, besting the 1998 McLaren F1 supercar (itself $1M at the time) by 17 km/h. The biggest difference between the McLaren and the Veyron (or any other supercar and the Veyron) is that the Bugatti is a real car that you can drive every day.

Our driving impressions were in some ways confirmation of what we expected, and in others a true revelation. Obviously the Veyron was going to be fast – 0-100 km/h in 2.5 seconds, 200 km/h in 7.3, 300 km/h in 16.7 and on to its top speed of 407 km in just under a minute! We also knew, however, that it was heavy and wondered, "Would it be ponderous?".







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Our drive route was a combination of winding countryside and long stretches of Italian autostrade. On the tight, undulating, poorly paved roads that crisscross the Sicilian countryside, the Veyron could not be used to 100 per cent of its capability or at least not by us. We find it rather appealing in fact that the car has more power than can be used in 99 per cent of situations. Driven as fast as some of the most capable cars in the world it is barely stressed. Completely uncork it and it will blow every other road car away.

There's even a power gauge on the instrument panel that shows how much of the 1001 horsepower you are actually using. It's particularly amusing that although the gauge tracks power usage in 100 horsepower increments it ends at 1001. We were often only tapping 300 to 400 hp and still passing everything in sight, but dropping the car into second gear via the steering-wheel mounted paddles or shifter and flattening the accelerator causes the power meter to flip to 700-800 hp or so producing a rush of speed unlike anything we have experienced before. The shove in your back, which incidentally is but inches from the massive 8-litre, 16-cylinder, four-turbo engine, is akin to the sensation of being in a jumbo jet at take off. The scenery literally blurs past and the next corner approaches like a cinematic car chase on fast-forward.


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Such manoeuvres are often met with a blinking ESP light, letting you know that at least one, if not all of the massive tires are spinning. If you want to impress the crowd from a standing start there is a launch control feature that executes perfect acceleration runs with smoke pouring from all four tires. The engineers are so certain of the powertrain's durability that they unreservedly stated that the clutches (of which there are two wet-clutch-packs in the seven-speed DSG transmission, each with 7 friction plates) would last the life of the vehicle. It helps that the oil in their housings is cooled and that the 150-millisecond gear changes are smooth and seamless.

As expressed earlier, we had some reservations about the Veyron's massive 1950-kilogram weight. You could imagine how pleased we were to discover that the Veyron steers like a go-kart.





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Light and direct with a similar feel to a Porsche 911, the steering points the car's nose in quickly and accurately and, though the car will understeer, if you barrel into a corner too fast and are smooth enough to transfer the weight correctly, there is massive grip. Be careful, however: this car needs to be respected and carrying too much brake or getting into the power too soon will snap the rear end loose as we discovered – not entirely on purpose. Driven smoothly with metered inputs rewards the driver with an effortless, secure and nimble companion for country roads. When driven sedately the Veyron is placid and comfortable – your mother could take it to fetch a bag of milk.

Next up was a blast down the Italian autostrade, and on the gently curving elevated motorways that arc through the Sicilian countryside, we quickly exceeded 250 km/h. These less than perfect roads often caused the carbon fibre undertray to scrape the ground but the chief electrical engineer (Wolfgang Bäker) in the seat beside me seemed completely unconcerned. For anyone from North America, cornering at 220 km/h should seem daunting – even frightening - but the car's multiple automatic aerodynamic devices (the suspension lowers and the rear wing deploys with switch-blade speed at 220 km/h creating real front and rear downforce) make the car more secure at 300 km/h than most are at 140! This posture – with the car slightly lower, the rear wing fully deployed and a secondary wing elevated as well – is called the ‘handling setting'. It can also be set manually should the driver wish.


Click image to enlarge
Even with such prodigious power, the Veyron needs a fair amount of space to reach 407 km/h, and on these public roads we couldn't safely reach the top speed. We did hit 307.8 km/h, which is by far the fastest this journalist has ever driven, and we cruised at speeds between 220 km/h and 280 km/h for a while and the car was barely budged by pavement irregularities or expansion joints. The engine is relatively quiet except for its deep baritone under hard acceleration. Often the whirring of the transmissions gears is louder than the intake or exhaust.

If we had really wanted to try for V-max, we would have had to come to a complete stop and use the ignition key to set the car into top-speed mode. In this setting, the Veyron drops its body snugly over the wheels (only 65 mm front and 70 mm rear of ground clearance remain), the wing retracts to a low-profile setting just above the rear fenders and various vents are closed to smooth airflow around and under the car. Without these aerodynamic adjustments the car's 1001 hp will push it to only 375 km/h. If at any time the driver jumps out of the throttle, makes a significant steering input or touches the brakes, the car defaults to the handling mode.


Photo: Bugatti. Click image to enlarge
One of Dr. Shreiber's requirements for the Veyron was that it's capable of stopping faster than it accelerates. Deceleration from 100 km/h takes but 2.3 seconds and from 407 km/h it takes only 13 seconds! The force of the brakes has to be experienced to be believed and at elevated speeds the large rear spoiler tips forward to act as an air brake – thereby doubling the cars aerodynamic drag. The ceramic-reinforced carbon brakes measure 40 mm in diameter up front and are gripped by eight, piston calipers with four pads each. At any speed their awesome bite required mental re-adjustment and you have to hold yourself back in your seat by bracing against the steering wheel if you don't want to be bruised by the seatbelt.





Photos: Bugatti. Click image to enlarge

After a few corners of the Pergusa racetrack, I decided to amp up the speed a bit and found out just how incredibly fast this car is. In even the fastest car, we would have been travelling at 75 per cent of the speed we were travelling in the Veyron as we approached a right-hander. Under heavy braking and simultaneous turning, the Veyron stepped out to the left approaching the corner, but the lightning-fast steering required but a simple flick of opposite lock, and a bit of ESP intervention had us safely on our way again.

On the track's smooth surface, the Veyron felt even more secure than on the road, which is saying a lot. Comparably, it was similar to the cornering forces we experienced at Mosport with Hurley Haywood at the wheel of a Porsche Carrera GT, but with far more urge coming out of corners and blasting down the straights.

A big part of what makes a car with 925 lb.-ft. of torque even remotely driveable is the AWD system and that the tires measure a rather large 265 mm in front and a truly massive 365 mm in the rear on wheels that are roughly 20 inches in diameter. We say roughly because the tires are from Michelin's PAX run-flat system and the actual wheel measurements are not comparable to conventional wheels. It's also worth noting that it costs about $8,000 to replace one rear tire.


Photo: Bugatti. Click image to enlarge
If you study the images, you will notice that the Veyron is essentially a massive engine with four-giant wheels pushing a passenger compartment. And what a passenger compartment it is. Every surface is either leather or metal and the machine-turned centre stack is simply stunning. The driver and passenger sit almost entirely in the front half of the car giving it its plump sensual form. There is in fact a remarkable amount of room inside – the cabin was designed to accommodate six-foot seven-inch drivers. Hey, if you want to sell 300 cars for almost $2M apiece after taxes, you better not alienate anyone. The view straight out the back is okay, but out the sides are massive blind spots. Good thing you don't have to worry about anyone passing you.





Photos: Bugatti. Click image to enlarge

It seems almost pointless to mention, but as you can imagine fuel consumption is significant. On our drive, the car averaged a staggering 44 L/100 km, which is truly impressive. Admittedly, we were travelling rather, um, briskly, but sedate driving will only return 30-ish anyway. While on the subject of fuel economy, it's amusing to note that at V-max the Veyron's 100 litres of premium fuel will be consumed in about 12 minutes – or 81.4 kilometres. If you don't have a calculator handy that's 125 L/100km!

Unlike many AWD systems, the Veyron's is capable of directing up to 100 per cent of the engine's power to either the front or back wheels. Imagine – in some circumstances the Veyron is a 1001-hp front-driver! According to Dr. Schreiber the split varies depending on how hard the car is accelerating and/or cornering with the system constantly working to maximize stability. You can't actually feel the power shift, but if it wasn't working there's no way the Veyron would be as effortless to drive as it is.

The saddest thing about driving the Veyron is the fact that it is unlikely we, or any of our colleagues gathered in Sicily, will ever get to do so again.



Author, Michael La Fave at the wheel of the 2007 Bugatti Veyron. Click image to enlarge

It's almost certain that it will be quite some time before five examples of this impeccable automobile are gathered in one place again. At the end of our test day, the hard-working Veyron team took the five cars around the Pergusa circuit for several parade laps and had them filmed from a helicopter.

Though the Veyron is an incredible machine, it begs the question of what will be next for Bugatti. Rumours of VW-based, V6-powered cars are inaccurate. We suspect that the next Bug will be a car that brings back the grand style of the Royale – a luxury limousine to end all luxury limos. It would have to retain the same 1001 hp engine and transmission, but the rest would be entirely new and bespoke. Beyond that, a smaller sedan that you would actually drive every day and a sports car that leverages the Veyron's engineering advancements. We see a market for a three or four model line-up all priced over the $300,000 mark.

In all, only 300 Veyrons will be made even if demand is greater. If demand is lower, the final number (of units produced) will be lower as well, but that would be a shame. What will also be a shame is if too many of these cars end up sitting in garages or bolted to den ceilings. The Veyron is an automobile that must be driven. It brings joy to those that see it even if they just got their doors blown off and their front grill sucked out.
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The only car thus far that has managed to threaten the McLaren F1's title as the coolest Exotic car of all time. It's been 12 years since the F1 was unleased and yet IMHO nothing so far has even coem close.


This is the one right here though. Crazy!!!


We did hit 307.8 km/h, which is by far the fastest this journalist has ever driven, and we cruised at speeds between 220 km/h and 280 km/h for a while and the car was barely budged by pavement irregularities or expansion joints. The engine is relatively quiet except for its deep baritone under hard acceleration. Often the whirring of the transmissions gears is louder than the intake or exhaust.

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See, I have a huge problem with this:

>>"Ettore Bugatti's company went bankrupt in 1956... 35 years later the company re-surfaced under Romano Artioli... who had acquired the rights to Bugatti's famous name, and the hallowed marque set out once again to build the most amazing cars in the world. "<<

This is NOT the same company, it's a totally unrelated company that is glom-ing off the residual reputation of Bugatti. It's like peeling the label off a bottle of rare vintage liquor and pasting it on a brand new bottle from another company, all the while telling you it's the same thing.
Mercedes pulled this same sh!t with the maybach, a company unrelated to either mercedes or benz in the past, yet mercedes stole the entire history & reputation of maybach and claimed it as their own. Toss the whole '98 "merger" nightmare in the mix and you have the key to the riddle: scumbags. And the lawyers & lawmakers that allow this sort of bullsh!t are also scumbags.
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I hear ya, Balthazar... but truthfully if I had more money than god I'd be buying the rights to a deceased brand right now... Oldsmobile, Studebaker, Deusenberg, Packard, DeSoto... so many deserve to be brought back!
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You really need to see...and more importantly...hear this car launch from a dead stop. It's amazing.

[post="49806"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


I can only imagine (aka dream)...
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See, I have a huge problem with this:

>>"Ettore Bugatti's company went bankrupt in 1956... 35 years later the company re-surfaced under Romano Artioli... who had acquired the rights to Bugatti's famous name, and the hallowed marque set out once again to build the most amazing cars in the world. "<<

This is NOT the same company, it's a totally unrelated company that is glom-ing off the residual reputation of Bugatti. It's like peeling the label off a bottle of rare vintage liquor and pasting it on a brand new bottle from another company, all the while telling you it's the same thing.
Mercedes pulled this same sh!t with the maybach, a company unrelated to either mercedes or benz in the past, yet mercedes stole the entire history & reputation of maybach and claimed it as their own. Toss the whole '98 "merger" nightmare in the mix and you have the key to the riddle: scumbags. And the lawyers & lawmakers that allow this sort of bullsh!t are also scumbags.

[post="49764"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


It's not like Artioli just decided to revive the Bugatti name. He had to buy it from an active company that was already using it. Ettore Bugatti's company was folded into another company and eventually became part of an engineering firm making, among other things, aircraft parts. Artioli purchased the rights to the Bugatti name for his automotive use. The EB110 was a valid use of the Bugatti name.

As for Maybach, it's a similar story. Maybach was folded into Daimler-Benz many decades ago. It was their name to use and the Maybach 57 and 62 are, again, valid uses of the name. Nothing stolen...it was theirs.

History's more interesting when you know the story.
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I see more of a Honda CRX... except about $1.49 million more expensive.
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I find it pretty interestingly styled for a modern car. As in I mean it is somewhat creative, as in I have not seen this car in anything else. Well maybe a Prius :lol: I like it, not my style but I like it, alot, maybe this could be considered most like a 350Z ? Kinda bubbly and all. Well Randsom dumped Olds and went on to other things. Jeep doesnt know what it is but it aint Willys? Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo and who knows what others have changed ownerships how many times ? General Motors, BMC, British Leyland, BMW has Mini's, Rootes Group and Chinese made Buicks. So, come on, give it to me, we might as well have a bitchin Bugatti ! Color my World
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About its styling...

I was standing in the middle of the small and deliberately darkened hotel courtyard when a German voice in the darkness advised me to move, 'schnell'.

The Veyron swept in and I narrowly avoided becoming the first person in history to be run over by a road car developing more than 1,000 horsepower.

That would have put me up there with that bloke who fell under the wheels of Stephenson's Rocket.

Then the lights came on, to subdued cheering, and something else struck me. The Veyron is not ridiculous.

Whenever manufacturers talk of a money-no-object ultracar, I brace myself for a welter of carbon-fibre fatuousness and broken front air dams: but here was something quite classy looking.

I still think the Bugatti grille at the front is an aberration, and it seems odd that the engine is mounted outside, like it is on a Morgan three-wheeler.

Obviously it isn't for the shy and retiring, but neither does it look like a monument to excess. It's taut, stubby and most shapely.

By the standards of its coevals it's positively discreet, and comes in a Royale-style two-tone paint job, as befitting 'the fastest car on earth with comfort you would not believe.'

Even the interior is perfectly agreeable. A bit bling, maybe, but at least made from proper materials and not plastered with pseudo space-age trim...

- James May


http://www.topgear.com/content/features/st...ories/03/1.html
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This car is so unbelieveable. I was reading about it in Motor Trend. It's got a horsepower gauge (which I think is freakin sweet) and a $30,000 sound system....oh what I would give to just sit inside and listen to some music. This car is honestly turning into one of my favrotie cars.
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It's not like Artioli just decided to revive the Bugatti name. He had to buy it from an active company that was already using it. Ettore Bugatti's company was folded into another company and eventually became part of an engineering firm making, among other things, aircraft parts. Artioli purchased the rights to the Bugatti name for his automotive use. The EB110 was a valid use of the Bugatti name.
As for Maybach, it's a similar story. Maybach was folded into Daimler-Benz many decades ago. It was their name to use and the Maybach 57 and 62 are, again, valid uses of the name. Nothing stolen...it was theirs.


The original maybach company had no organizational connection with mercedes. 20 years passed between the end of maybach production and M-B purchasing a majority stake in the old maybach engine plant. Therefore, IMO, while it may be legal to use the name, it is reprehensible to claim ownership of the previous long-dead entity's vehicular accomplishments.

Bugatti has a likewise formidable gap in time between incarnations (30 years), but I have not seen evidence that the current administration has made outright claims upon the original company's accomplishments, as DCX has so brazenly done, so I should rightfully withdraw my protest here.

I realize I am reacting to the ramblings of a Pavlovian 'journalist' and I am probably expecting too much yet again, but the implied automatic benefit-of-the-doubt based on the reputation of a long-dead company gets under my skin...
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Oh lemme tell ya....I saw one go from zilch to 70 in the blink of an eye this summer. And the speed limit was 45. I was talking to one of the engineers and he looked up and kind of laughed and said in a german accent "yes, he's exceeding the speed limit a little there...."

[post="53494"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


The fact that it can get to 250mph in less than a minute is amazing. I mean, how awesome would that be?! I can just imagine what that would feel like.
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Bugatti has a likewise formidable gap in time between incarnations (30 years), but I have not seen evidence that the current administration has made outright claims upon the original company's accomplishments, as DCX has so brazenly done, so I should rightfully withdraw my protest here.

I realize I am reacting to the ramblings of a Pavlovian 'journalist' and I am probably expecting too much yet again, but the implied automatic benefit-of-the-doubt based on the reputation of a long-dead company gets under my skin...


While I would have to do some minor research to refute your Maybach claim (and I highly doubt the "20 years" claim), I can argue the Bugatti part.

Artioli never claimed that the "new" Bugatti company was the continuation of the old company, just a continuation of the name itself. And the connection to the Bugatti name is direct....Artioli bought the name from Messier-Bugatti, the company that the original automaker became.

As an automotive historian, I'm the first to argue against historical inaccuracies. But Artioli made a connection between his company and Ettore's company, but never said it was the same company...only the same name.

Like I said before, the EB110 does the Bugatti name proud. The car was extreme (held the record for top speed in a production car), had a great design (without being "retro"), and was a quality product fitting the Bugatti name...and wasn't a "corporate" product. The Veyron does much the same...but I have a small problem with Veyron pistons being related to those found in the lowly Lupo.
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Damn, that '51 has a great body!


But an ancient chassis. The Bugatti Type 101 (pictured) was built after Ettore's death by his son and is based on the pre-war Type 57 chassis.
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I saw a blue on black Veyron in Germany... and it is amazing to see in person. It was in a showroom, so unfortunately I never saw or heard it run. On to some dissapointing Bugatti news... the new MT shows a "sedan" version that is supposed to go into production. That thing is DISGUSTING if you ask me.
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