What are the realities of buying into the world’s fastest production car?

“The world almost certainly doesn’t need a car like the Bugatti Veyron,” we said in our landmark 5000th road test back in March 2011. “But the fact that it exists in the first place is, we feel, reason in itself to celebrate.”

Bugatti’s flagship supercar was, quite simply, like nothing that had been built before. Here was a road-legal production car, one that was perfectly civilised and easy to drive, that could sprint from 0-62mph in 2.5sec – despite weighing almost two tonnes – and reach a staggering 253mph.

Its outrageous performance was primarily thanks to the powerhouse tucked away amidships: a quad-turbocharged 8.0-litre W16 petrol engine that generated 987bhp and 922lb ft, which was channelled to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. 

You’d hope that the Veyron would be out of this world in all respects, though, given that at its 2005 launch it would have cost you just over £1 million. A stratospheric price, admittedly, but this was an engineering tour de force – albeit one that we did observe at the time to be a touch clinical compared with, say, a McLaren F1.

However, a good example of an F1 will set you back upwards of £5 million without trying these days, whereas a decent used Veyron will cost from only £650,000. That doesn’t make it the casual investment, though, not by any stretch, because the running costs are simply off the dial.

“That’s what really separates the Veyron from other supercars,” says Carl Hartley, director of luxury and performance car dealership Tom Hartley. “It’s not the price, as there are others that are more expensive, but the costs of keeping one going. The problem is that a Veyron can easily generate a bill of £100,000 for an annual service. I’ve got a Ferrari Enzo in here now and the biggest service is £1400.” 

Each annual service reputedly requires that the Veyron be transported back to the Bugatti factory in Molsheim, France, for inspection and maintenance. “Bugatti will not touch the car if you don’t do what it wants to do,” says Hartley. “When the company says you need a new set of tyres, you need a set of tyres. That’s £6000 a corner. Then every three sets you need new wheels, which cost £50,000."

An annual service costs £15,000, but if any additional work – such as new wheels and tyres – is needed, the costs will spiral. Maintaining a warranty will set you back £50,000 a year, too, and is highly recommended, given the complexity and nature of the car. Official dealer H.R. Owen does offer a fixed price servicing scheme, however, as well as extended warranties and UK workshop facilities, which may grant you more control over yearly expenditure.

“There are no common faults with them, though,” notes Hartley. “They’re an extremely good piece of engineering.” There are, however, a few things to look out for when considering a used Veyron. You need to ensure that the service history is complete and correct, and, preferably, find a car that’s been to Bugatti recently for an inspection or service to avoid any immediate large bills. “Most don’t come with warranties, but it’s nice to see one that’s had one recently,” adds Hartley. “A Veyron that’s not been in warranty for four or five years isn’t a good thing.”

If a Veyron does have any mechanical issues, the only way to get faults resolved is to send it back to Bugatti. “Everything is recorded by the company, so any tampering would have implications,” says Hartley. “Speed, brake applications, economy, journey time, it’s all logged.”

Most Veyrons are treated as showpieces by their owners, though, so finding a low-mileage example in excellent condition isn’t difficult. “The highest-mileage Veyron I know of is a 2006 car that’s done 26,000 miles,” observes Hartley. Most, however, tend to have fewer than 5000 miles on the clock.

“Driving one at low speeds is exactly the same as driving a Bentley Continental GT,” says Hartley. “Driving one hard is terrifying. It’s amazing how fast they are and how much grip they have. I still don’t think to this day there’s a car that attracts more attention. I think they’re undervalued.” 

Bugatti Veyron problems:

Colour combinations Veyrons are very colour dependent. Solid colours usually look good, but two-tone red and black works well, as does black and Bugatti blue. 

Original equipment New Veyrons came with an additional key for activating the high-speed mode, a tablet computer and a set of documents and manuals. Make sure they’re all present.

Paint and trim issues Use cosmetic flaws as a haggling point, although paint, trim or interior issues can be repaired by suitable body shops or trimmers, so issues shouldn’t be hard to resolve. 

Grounding damage Veyrons don’t have much ground clearance, so it’s important to look at the underside for any obvious damage. 

Limited editions “You could almost buy two standard Veyrons for the price of one of the limited-edition models,” says Carl Hartley. “As an investment, they’ll always be worth more, but they cost more in the first place.”

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Our Verdict

Bugatti Veyron
The world doesn't need a car like the Bugatti Veyron, but the fact it exists at all is reason for celebration

The Bugatti Veyron redefines what's possible in a road car, but does it justify its eye-watering price?

Join the debate

Comments
13

3 January 2015
The words `money' and `drain' spring to mind. It makes running a Ferrari look like free motoring. It'd probably be more fun withdrawing the cash from the bank and feeding it straight into a shredder - and that's before we talk about fuel and insurance costs. Sod that.

3 January 2015
Very useful used car purchase advice for Autocar readers!

3 January 2015
Overdrive wrote:

Very useful used car purchase advice for Autocar readers!

Maybe not but, it does give an interesting insight into the ridiculous cost of owning such a special car. Perhaps Autocar could publish a similar article about the Mclaren F1, just for comparison purposes.

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

3 January 2015
Frightmare Bob wrote:
Overdrive wrote:

Very useful used car purchase advice for Autocar readers!

Maybe not but, it does give an interesting insight into the ridiculous cost of owning such a special car. Perhaps Autocar could publish a similar article about the Mclaren F1, just for comparison purposes.

Actually, levity aside, I agree. It shows how wealthy you need to be just to run these cars, never mind being able to afford the already astronomical purchase price in the first place.

3 January 2015
Frightmare Bob wrote:
Overdrive wrote:

Very useful used car purchase advice for Autocar readers!

Maybe not but, it does give an interesting insight into the ridiculous cost of owning such a special car. Perhaps Autocar could publish a similar article about the Mclaren F1, just for comparison purposes.

I do dimly recall that the F1 costs extraordinary amounts to maintain, but still some way short of the Veyron. As far as I know, those two cars are in a class of their own cost-wise, though it'd be interesting to see how the Huayra, P1, LaFerrari and 918 compare.

3 January 2015
No wonder the upfront costs are relatively reasonable. Ridiculous price gouging by Bugatti. If you intended on keeping the car forever I suppose you could try and find a reliable independent mechanic and sod the service history.

There probably isn't a Haynes manual for it and I bet Bugatti prevent common service parts, diagnostic equipment, etc out of general distribution.

3 January 2015
With only a few hundred ever made one would be right to expect the Veyron to appreciate. But the ridiculously high maintenance costs - which is presumably Volkswagen's way of recouping some of the costs of building this over-engineered car - drags it back. One wrong oil change and it would probably disintegrate before hitting the top speed that it is so famous for.

4 January 2015
I'd imagine the mclaren f1 will probably be in the same ballpark cost figure to carry out the service as the bugatti. The cost difference will be replacement parts. I can imagine the eye watering costs on the bugatti as described above. Either way both cars have been produced in such limited numbers this is what you are dealing with. A very expensive hobby.

4 January 2015
Don't buy one,plain and simple,nice to see,nice to hear,maybe nice even to get a passenger ride in,even if you can afford one,if it spends more time at the Bugatti Factory,what's the point in owning one?,plus,like the rest of us,it can only do the legal speed limits,no, these sensationally fast cars are great to see on a runway pitted against other cars,they are to big for British Roads.

Peter Cavellini.

4 January 2015
Rich people - God's way of telling you that being poor is, perhaps, not quite as bad as you thought.

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