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The Bugatti Veyron, Driven

By David Ponce

The Bugatti Veyron is nothing new, so no hate mail please. But for those of you who’ve never come across this thing of beauty, know that it just happens to be the fastest, probably most expensive production car in the world. The W16 engine (that’s right, two Audi V8 engines fused together) is coupled with 4 turbochargers and is cooled by (count’em) 10 radiators. It transmits an earth scorching 1001 bhp to the ground through a carefully crafted 7-gear paddle transmission and reaches 62mph in 2.5 seconds. Top speed? 252mph, aka 405kph, aka 370ft/s. That’s a football field a second.

It’s faster than the McLaren F1. Faster than an F1 car. Faster than anything. Matter of fact, you could give the McLaren a headstart, let it reach 120mph, and you’d still get to 200mph quicker!

It comes at a price. A cool million. And lots of gas. I heard somewhere it takes a gallon of juice just to start. But, really, who’s counting when you’re driving the finest this planet has to offer?

Jeremy Clarkson of The Sunday Times recently drove the car (the bastard), and for his impressions, come inside. Out here, you get the link to the full article. It’s really fascinating.

When you push a car past 180mph, the world starts to get awfully fizzy and a little bit frightening. When you go past 200mph it actually becomes blurred. Almost like you’re trapped in an early Queen pop video. At this sort of speed the tyres and the suspension are reacting to events that happened some time ago, and they have not finished reacting before they’re being asked to do something else. The result is a terrifying vibration that rattles your optical nerves, causing double vision. This is not good when you’re covering 300ft a second.

Happily, stopping distances become irrelevant because you won’t see the obstacle in the first place. By the time you know it was there, you’ll have gone through the windscreen, through the Pearly Gates and be half way across God’s breakfast table.

On a recent drive across Europe I desperately wanted to reach the top speed but I ran out of road when the needle hit 240mph. Where, astonishingly, it felt planted. Totally and utterly rock steady. It felt sublime.

Not quiet, though. The engine sounds like Victorian plumbing — it looks like Victorian plumbing as well, to be honest — and the roar from the tyres was biblical. But it still felt brilliant. Utterly, stunningly, mind blowingly, jaw droppingly brilliant.

[The Times Online] VIA [Retro Thing]