But despite the monumental engine and seven-speed gearbox, the engineering focus has shifted away from a pure sports car experience towards a more refined, all-round machine.
Bscher claims the Veyron is now ‘as easy and almost as comfortable to drive as a Continental GT’ and that as a result it is ‘totally unique [sic], quite unlike any other really fast car there has ever been because you can use it every day if you want.’
Not that most owners will, sadly. Of the 300 cars Bugatti intends to build (and hopefully sell) over six years, as much as 80 per cent of them will end up in museums or art galleries, or anywhere but where their makers intended; namely, doing Mach 6 along a deserted, derestricted autobahn.
No matter, because for a few short hours I got to drive the car last week, and although I didn’t quite reach Mach 6, I did at least drive it properly, on autostradas, over mountain roads and through towns. At one point I nearly reached 200mph in it, the only restrictions being my conscience and a lack of space.
I also drove it as quickly as I dared for an hour across a fantastic B-road with another Veyron dancing around in the mirrors. And I drove it through towns where, predictably, it pretty much brought Sicily to a standstill.
So what’s it like, driving the world’s fastest car? In truth it’s nowhere near as scary as it sounds, which is testament to what Bugatti wanted to achieve. When you climb aboard there are no particular physical contortions required, as there are in so many so-called supercars.
You pull on the beautifully crafted aluminium doorhandle, open the door wide and, once you’ve negotiated the highish, thickish sill, insert yourself easily into the seat, crafted from carbonfibre and covered in thick leather.
First thing you notice is the beautiful centre console with its gorgeous turned aluminium fascia. To achieve the desired consistency of finish they had to use a highly expensive and rare blend of aluminium and magnesium and to fashion just the indicator stalks alone out of this material costs four-and-a-half grand a time.
The Veyron, you soon conclude, is not a car VW will make money on, even at £800k a pop.
From behind the wheel the instruments look small and surprisingly fussy, especially the speedometer, yet the overall look is sensational. This is the most exquisite car cabin on earth, no question, even though the driving position seems intimidatingly low at first and the A-pillars are so thick there are big blind spots.
As ever there’s a starter button to press, and when you press it there’s the inimitable whirr of a supercar’s high-pitched starter motor, followed by what sounds remarkably like a big V8 firing up behind you. Except in this instance there’s a whole range of other noises to take in, including numerous whistles and fizzes from four big turbos and their collective wastegates.
It is not, however, a bullying, all encompassing noise, not like it is in a Lamborghini or Ferrari. The Veyron announces itself to the world in a more subtle manner than that.
Move away and immediately you notice how smoothly weighted the steering is, how easy the accelerator is to modulate, how unbelievably fast and slick the gearbox is as it moves seamlessly up and down the ratios, and how calm the ride is; also how good the visibility is out of the back, and how bad it is out of the front.