The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is the most powerful, most expensive, and fastest street-legal production car in the world, with a proven top speed of over 400 km/h (407 km/h or 253 mph). It reached full production in September 2005. The car is built by Volkswagen AG subsidiary Bugatti Automobiles SAS and is sold under the legendary Bugatti marque. It is named after racing driver Pierre Veyron, who won the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1939 while racing for the original Bugatti firm.
Development of the vehicle began with the 1999 EB 18/3 "Veyron" concept car. Introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show, it was similar in design and appearance to the final Veyron production car. One major difference was the EB 18/3's use of a W18 engine with three banks of six cylinders. The Veyron was designed by Hartmut Warkuss of Volkswagen rather than Giorgetto Giugiaro of ItalDesign who had handled the three prior Bugatti concepts.
VW chairman Ferdinand PiÃ«ch announced the production Veyron at the 2001 Geneva Motor Show. It was promised to be the fastest, most powerful, and most expensive car in history. Instead of the W18, the production model would use a VR6/WR8-style W16 engine. First seen in the 1999 Bentley HunaudiÃ¨res concept car, the W16 would get four turbochargers, producing a quoted 1001 horsepower (see engine section for details on the power output). Top speed was promised at 403 km/h (250.4 mph), and pricing was announced at â‚¬1 million (US$1.3 million at the time).
Development continued throughout 2001 and the EB 16/4 Veyron was promoted to "advanced concept" status. In late 2001, Bugatti announced that the car, officially called the Bugatti Veyron 16.4, would go into production in 2003. However, the car experienced significant problems during development. Achieving the required high-speed stability was difficult - one prototype was destroyed in a crash and another spun out during a public demonstration at the Monterey Historics event in Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. Production of the Veyron was delayed pending resolution of these and other issues.
PiÃ«ch retired that year as chairman of the Volkswagen Group and was replaced by Bernd Pischetsrieder. The new chairman promptly sent the Veyron back to the drawing board for major revisions. Neumann was replaced as Bugatti president by Thomas Bscher in December of 2003, and substantial modifications were made to the Veyron under the guidance of former VW engineer, Bugatti Engineering head Wolfgang Schreiber.
After the release of the car, it has been reported that while each Veyron is being sold for Â£840,000, the production costs of the car are approximately Â£5 million per vehicle. As Bugatti, and therefore Volkswagen, are making such a loss, it has been likened by automotive journalist Jeremy Clarkson to Concorde; in that they are test-beds for advancements in technology and developed as exercises in engineering.
In the case of the Veyron, it will be several years before Volkswagen will be able to see if their investment in developing ground-breaking technology has paid off. One key measure is how much (if any) of the technology developed for the Veyron finds use in mass-produced cars.
The first personally owned Veyron was debuted in front of Hotel De Paris in Monte Carlo during the 2005 Grand Prix.
The Veyron features a W16 engineâ€”16 cylinders in 4 banks of 4 cylinders, or the equivalent of two narrow-angle V8 engines mated in a vee configuration. Each cylinder has 4 valves, for a total of 64, but the narrow V8 configuration allows two camshafts to drive two banks of cylinders so only 4 camshafts are needed. The engine is fed by four turbochargers, and it displaces 8.0 L (7,993 cc/488 inÂ³) with a square 86 by 86 mm bore and stroke.
Putting this power to the ground is a dual-clutch DSG computer-controlled manual transmission with 7 gear ratios via shifter paddles behind the steering wheel boasting an 8 ms shift time. The Veyron can be driven by full automatic transmission. The Veyron also features full-time all-wheel drive developed by Haldex helping to transfer power to the road. It uses special Michelin run-flat tires designed specifically for the Veyron to accommodate the vehicle's top speed.
The car's wheelbase is 2700 mm (106.3 in). Overall length is 4466 mm (175.8 in). It measures 1998 mm (78.7 in) wide and 1206 mm (47.5 in) tall.
Curb weight is estimated at 4,160 lb (1890 kg). This gives the car a power to weight ratio of 529 bhp/tonne.
According to Volkswagen, the final production Veyron engine produces between 1020 and 1040 metric hp (1006 to 1026 SAE net hp), so the car will be advertised as producing "1001 horsepower" in both the US and European markets. This makes it the most powerful production road-car engine in history. Torque is 1250 NÂ·m (922 ftÂ·lbf).
Top speed was initially promised to be 252 mph (406 km/h), but test versions were unstable at that speed, forcing a redesign of the aerodynamics. In May 2005, a prototype Veyron tested at a Volkswagen track near Wolfsburg, Germany, and recorded an electronically limited top speed of 400 km/h (249 mph). In October, 2005, Car and Driver magazine's editor Csaba Csere test drove the final production version of the Veyron for the November 2005 issue. This test, at Volkswagen's Ehra-Lessien test track, reached a top speed of 253 mph (407 km/h).
The Veyron is the quickest production car to reach 100 km/h (62 mph) with an estimated time of 2.5 seconds. It also reaches 200 and 300 km/h (124 and 186 mph) in 7.3 and 16.7 seconds respectively. It should also be noted that the Veyron's 0-200 mph (0-322 km/h)time is quicker than the McLaren F1's 120-200 mph (193-322 km/h) time. This makes the Veyron the quickest-accelerating production vehicle in history. It also consumes more fuel than any other production car, using 40.4 L/100 km (4.82 mpg) in city driving and 24.1 L/100 km (10 mpg) in combined cycle. At full-throttle, it uses more than 125 L/100 km (2.1 mpg)â€”at full throttle, the Veyron would empty its 100 L fuel tank in just 12.5 minutes. The car's everyday top speed is listed at 234 mph (377 km/h). When the car reaches 137 mph (220 km/h), hydraulics lower the car until it has a ground clearance of about 3 1/2 inches (8.9 cm). At the same time, the wing and spoiler deploy. This is the "handling" mode, in which the wing helps provide 770 pounds (3425 newtons) of downforce, holding the car to the road. The driver must, using the key, toggle the lock to the left of his seat in order to use the maximum speed of 253 miles per hour (407 km/h). Theoretically it can go faster but it is electronically limited to 253 miles per hour (407 km/h) to prevent tire damage. The key functions only when the vehicle is at a stop when a checklist then establishes whether the carâ€”and its driverâ€”are ready to enable 'top speed' mode. If all systems are go, the rear spoiler retracts, the front air diffusers close and the ground clearance, normally 4.9 inches (12.4 cm), drops to 2.6 inches (6.6 cm).
The Veyron uses unique cross-drilled and turbine vented carbon rotors for braking that draw in cooling air. Each caliper has eight titanium pistons. Bugatti claims maximum deceleration of 1.3 g on road tires. Prototypes have been subjected to repeated 1.0 g braking from 194 to 50 mph (312 to 80 km/h) without fade. With the car's fearsome acceleration from 50 to 194 mph (80 to 312 km/h), that test can be performed every 22 seconds. At speeds above 124 mph (200 km/h), the rear wing also acts as an airbrake, snapping to a 70-degree angle in 0.4 seconds once brakes are applied, providing up to 0.6 g (6 m/sÂ²) of deceleration. Bugatti claims the Veyron will brake from 252 mph (406 km/h) to a standstill in less than 10 seconds. The braking is also so evenly applied that the car will not deviate from a straight path if the driver lets go of the steering wheel, even with the brakes fully applied starting from close to top speed.
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