The Bugatti Veyron has recalibrated that which can be achieved by the motor car.
The world almost certainly doesn’t need a car like the Bugatti Veyron. But the fact that it exists in the first place is, we feel, reason in itself to celebrate. It is, after all, the wildest creation on four wheels – the point at which whatever progress has been made by the motor car over the past century can be measured, at its most extreme, its most expensive and, yes, its excessive best.
So in many ways the Veyron is the best car the world has ever seen. You have to admire Bugatti and VW for a) having the guts to conceive such a monster in the first place and b) for summoning the engineering nous and commitment to produce it.
But in trying to be the best at everything, which it pretty much is, the Veyron fails in the one key area that has defined the great supercars over the years; despite the titanic performance and refinement it doesn’t grab you emotionally like it should. Not like an F40, F1 or even a Murciélago does.
Bugatti’s argument is that it isn’t meant to. The Veyron, says Bugatti, is the supreme technical creation – as refined on the road as it is relentless against the stopwatch – and therefore it isn’t concerned with matters as trivial as emotional involvement or a ripping exhaust note.
And as an engineering achievement that means it will remain unrivalled for years to come, and possibly forever.
But that doesn’t automatically make it the best supercar in the world. The most impressive, yes, undoubtedly. But the most memorable? Not for us. Not quite.