The Veyron is a car of engineering beauty, not the visual work of Monet. So it’s no disservice to bluntly describe the Veyron as a weird, insect-like machine with four huge tyres, an absurd number of scoops and winglets along the flanks and across the roof, featuring a distinctive white-and-red badge on the nose that reads ‘Bugatti.’
On the tail are written the letters E and B. On top of the engine, which has no cover and is exposed directly to the air for cooling purposes, are the numbers 16 and four; 16 cylinders, four turbochargers.
Which, in case you were wondering, equates to 987bhp and 922lb ft in standard form. It’s numbers like those produced by its 8.0-litre W16 engine (the W configuration suggesting, in effect, two 4.0-litre V8s attached to a common crank) in where the Veyron’s real beauty lies.
Launching a different version of a Veyron is not merely a case of increasing the power or taking the roof off. The world’s fastest version of the world’s fastest car, the Super Sport, for example, is virtually a brand new car in its own right, with everything on it that moves either redesigned or re-engineered over the ‘standard’ 16.4 version.
Asides from more power and torque (up to 1183bhp and 922lb ft), there are extra cooling ducts beneath the headlights and by its huge NACA ducts on the roof. The A-pillars are narrower than on the original Veyron and allow much better visibility from behind the wheel – something that’s needed when you’re going more than 250mph.
The open-top Grand Sport and Grand Sport Vitesse models do without fixed roofs, instead getting a transparent polycarbonate units that weigh 19kg and can be lifted on and off after pushing two release buttons, but cannot be stowed in the car. As a result, Bugatti has incorporated an emergency carbonfibre soft top that can be stowed in the boot and used at speeds of up to 99mph if it rains.
To finish the range off, in 2010, the Bugatti Veyron Supersport was born, which saw this range-topper get an additional 198bhp to take its output to 1187bhp allowin it to reach 268mph as well as being given an eye-watering price tag of over £2 million.