Driven: Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse

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Bugatti ups the ante on the 1183hp Veyron Super Sport and creates the Vitesse.

Ever found yourself wanting more power? It’s now possible to buy an open-topped car that banishes those cravings for good. One slight hitch: the $2,245,000 price tag (before taxes) of the new Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse. But if you can afford to buy – and run – a Veyron, then you’re in the privileged position of being able to experience sheer, unadulterated, narcotically addictive acceleration like no other car can offer.

The Vitesse is no quicker than the hardtop it’s based on, but the detachable roof means you get to really enjoy the soundtrack of its epic quad-turbo W16 powerplant. Think gulping induction noise and a vocal wastegate atop a multi-layered, bass-heavy V8 voice and you’re some of the way there.

Torque is rated at 1106lb ft, and delivered from 3000rpm to 5000rpm – making it slightly peakier than the ‘standard’ Veyron – and the drivetrain remains familiar, with four-wheel drive and the seven-speed DSG twin-clutch gearbox but, as with the Super Sport, its internals have been beefed-up. There are new springs and dampers, and the carbon fiber monocoque has been treated to additional layers of weave. You can see that through the paint, should you so wish.

The acceleration dominates your first encounter. Some numbers: 0-60mph in 2.4sec, 125mph in 7.5, it will cover the standing quarter-mile in 10sec dead and tops out at 255mph. What they fail to convey is how that feels on the road. Overtaking ceases to be a chore and opportunities open up in the tightest of spaces. In utter safety. Just select your gear, push the throttle, and haul the horizon towards your windscreen. It’s joyous and more than a little pornographic.

What’s really clever is the dismissive way in which the chassis handles all that power and torque. The throttle is light and progressive, the steering is accurate and well-weighted, the brakes are strong and unfadable (on the road), and the handling is of the point-and-squirt variety with no discernable roll. It feels like it will rewrite the laws of physics, but push hard and you’ll encounter nice, safe understeer… which you can kiss goodbye to once you reach the apex of the bend and call up all that power for the exit.

It even goes slowly well. For Monegasque customers, its easy controls and ability to trickle will mean a lot. And for those who just want to get from A to B legally, the Vitesse hums along nicely – with the roof off – in a perfectly long-legged and relaxed manner. It has all that power, yet your grandmother could drive it. Topless.

There are those who would say that any new car costing this much and which consumes Earth’s resources at such a rate should be considered an obscenity. But what an engineering achievement. We love the fact that it exists at all.


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