What is it?
There are all sorts of crazed statistics about the new £2m Bugatti Veyron Super Sport with which you can fray the outer edges of your imagination. Quite apart from the fact that it boasts 198bhp beyond that of the regular 987bhp Veyron and can do 268mph, when the crankshaft of this car’s 8.0-litre W16 engine is rotating at precisely 6400rpm in seventh gear, it will quaff its way through a 100-litre tank of fuel in just under eight minutes.
The W16 quad-turbo engine also develops its maximum torque figure the entire time between 3000 and 5000rpm, so there is no torque ‘peak’ as such. How much twisting power does it actually generate? How does 1105lb ft grab you? Or, to put it another way, near enough twice as much as a Noble M600 – one of the most potent cars anyone on this magazine has ever driven.
But the number to end all numbers concerning the Super Sport, the one that will stop you in your tracks and make you either laugh or cry, is this; in the same time that it takes a McLaren F1 to get from rest to 200mph, the Veyron SS can go from zero to 200mph and back again – and then do zero to 60mph as well. Think about that for a moment – and then think about it for a little while longer.
There will be just 30 Veyron Super Sports in total, each one handmade at Bugatti’s small factory in Molsheim, at the foothills near the woods of Alsace. So far Bugati has sold some 260 Veyrons since the original planned batch of 300 went on sale in 2005. Think of the Super Sport therefore as the last and final version – the best version no less – of the world’s best car.
What’s it like?
What’s perhaps most amazing of all about this most amazing of cars, however, is that despite its heart-wrenching, lung-bursting performance, it is also quite incredibly civilised to drive. Such was Bugatti’s desire to provide the Super Sport with a refined personality, the overall impression you get after spending a day at the wheel is indeed one of supreme luxury.
When you put your foot down and feel your internal organs squeezed to one side under the sheer g-force, there is also the unique, rather lovely sensation of sitting in your favourite armchair in your favourite lounge while doing so. And in the end it is the Veyron Super Sport’s pure breadth of ability that separates it so completely from the rest of the automotive world – the fact that it can throw you at the horizon with sufficient force to make you feel physically uncomfortable, while at the same time providing you with the sights, sounds and smells of the most luxuriant car money can buy.
By fitting bigger turbos, bigger intercoolers and improving the way it breathes, Bugatti was able to generate the extra power and torque required without trying too hard at all. What needed rather more time, effort and re-engineering skill was making sure the powertrain remained cool enough when on full reheat – as did the retuning of the chassis, suspension, braking and steering systems. And, most crucially of all, the aerodynamic package as well.
Because the Super Sport accelerates that much faster than the regular Veyron, the speed and angle at which it deploys its various wings had to be completely recalibrated – otherwise, says Bugatti, the car would have become ‘terminally unstable’ before it got anywhere near its top speed. Hence the reason the massive bi-plane wing now emerges from the redesigned rear bodywork at 180kmh and at a different speed/angle compared with the standard car, whose wing doesn’t appear until 220kmh.