Typically, it is only those exceptionally rare and desirable classic cars that can boast a value upwards of a million dollars. And it takes many decades for the value to grow that much, so only a truly special car can leave the dealership costing $1.7 million with its odometer reading zero. The 2009 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is such a car: an engineering masterpiece that easily belongs in the car collection of any extremely wealthy automotive connoisseur.
Normal car terms barely apply to the Veyron. No fewer than 1,001 horses stampede forth from a one-of-a-kind 8.0-liter W16 engine with four turbochargers. Mid-mounted and feeding all four wheels, the Veyron's engine uses its amazing thrust to exceed the theoretical maximum speed of F1 cars. It's not quite as quick as Louis Hamilton's ride, mind you, but its 2.5-second 0-60 time beats anything else you could buy and drive legally on public roadways. And should you dare to venture out on a closed course for a maximum-speed jaunt of 253 mph, the Veyron has been meticulously engineered to aerodynamically glue itself to the ground. An automatically raising rear wing not only aids in that endeavor, but also cants upward when the brakes are applied to provide additional stopping power.
As if this monumental performance and sky-high-price aren't enough to assure exclusivity, the Bugatti Veyron can be customized to each customer's desire. Each body shell can be painted in two tones, with the front fenders and doors differing from the rest of the car. The interior can similarly be fashioned in two colors. Taste is no object, either, so feel free to bedeck your Veyron with the "Oakland A" (green and yellow), the "Joker" (purple and green) or the "Ronald McDonald" (red and yellow).
For 2009, that choice increases thanks to the new Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport. After customers lamented the lack of a convertible version, Bugatti obliged, returning to the drawing board to structurally reinforce the windshield header and the roof air intakes to allow for an open top without sacrificing the Veyron's capabilities. Though it's really a targa-style body rather than a full roadster or convertible, the Grand Sport allows for a greater interaction between the driver and natureÂ…as well as 1,001 angry horses.
There are also several special-edition Veyrons available for 2009, though they're probably already spoken for. The most notable are two different special edition models to celebrate Bugatti's 100th anniversary. The Veyron Bleu Centennaire is painted in two shades of Bugatti Blue, with a special Snow Beige interior featuring quilted seats and a leather-covered center console. The Veyron L'Edition Centennaire is available in four different colors with exposed polished aluminum bodywork that serves as an homage to one of the four great European racing nations of the 1920s (France is blue, Britain green, Germany gold, Italy red).
Obviously, with a car like the 2009 Bugatti Veyron 16.4, it's hard to dispense useful buying advice since no other production car is close in terms of price or performance. However, compared to similarly desirable conveyances, we'll point out that the Veyron has noticeably less interior space than an Azimut yacht and is much slower than a Gulfstream G650. On the flip side, it is almost as affordable as some California beachfront property and it's easier to rid yourself of irksome neighbors, too. So should you have the financial wherewithal to purchase a Veyron and especially if you own a road long enough to really enjoy it, why not take the $1.7 million plunge?
The 2009 Bugatti Veyron is an exotic sports car available as the 16.4 coupe and Grand Sport roadster. The latter has a glass roof panel (that must be removed by hand) and an accessory soft top that can be stored in the car's trunk. Standard equipment includes 20-inch front wheels, 21-inch rear wheels, specially designed Michelin run-flat tires, carbon-ceramic brakes, a height-adjustable suspension and parking sensors. Interior features include full leather trim, heated seats, a choice of three types of sport seats, automatic climate control, a 400-watt CD sound system, iPod interface, Bluetooth, a back-up camera and a navigation system with a rearview mirror display. The Grand Sport includes a removable partial-glass roof panel and an accessory canvas roof panel.
Every Veyron can be equipped with a two-tone exterior and interior, while Bugatti is open to customizing your million-plus-dollar purchase in most any way you see fit. There are several special edition models for 2009, which mostly feature specific paint schemes.
As one might expect in a $1.7 million car, the Veyron's cabin is pretty fancy. The leather upholstery is opulent and omnipresent, and extensive aluminum trim adorns the center stack, steering wheel and other controls. The gauge cluster features a somewhat gimmicky "power gauge" that supposedly displays real-time horsepower production. The Veyron's bathtub-like high beltline, obtrusively thick A-pillars and low seating position don't bolster its credentials as a driver's car, but there's a lot of room in there, even for taller folks.
To keep the elements out of the Grand Sport model, its removable roof panel features a transparent glass center that when in place can still withstand the Veyron's maximum speed. That's not the case with the accessory canvas roof, which can only be used up to a recommended speed of 80 mph. But at least it can be stored in the front trunk, retracting like an umbrella, complete with a removable pole that aids in mounting it from inside.
The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is propelled by a mid-mounted and quad-turbocharged 8.0-liter W16 engine. Its 1,001 horsepower and 922 pound-feet of torque are delivered to all four wheels via a beefed-up seven-speed version of Audi/VW's excellent dual-clutch sequential gearbox (DSG). The transmission has two automatic modes -- normal and Sport -- and may also be shifted manually via paddles on the steering wheel.
Published reports consistently have the Veyron hitting 60 mph from rest in less than 3 seconds, and the car will attain extralegal velocities at a similarly dizzying rate. That 253-mph top speed must be enabled via a separate key, however; otherwise, the Veyron is limited to a mere 233 mph. A raising rear wing extends to two different heights to keep the car stable and to assist in braking.
The 2009 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is so fast that it needs an eponymous adjective. We're thinking "Veyronish," or perhaps "Veyronic." Trouble is, only the Veyron itself currently fits that description. In a straight line, the only things on Earth that accelerate faster are racecars, jets, rockets, bullets and Superman. None of those are lined in leather, though. Quite simply, the Veyron can go faster than is legally possible, so we'd suggest buying your own strip of deserted road and inviting us over sometime. We'll bring some guacamole.
If there were one thing to complain about -- and it is certainly an esoteric issue Â– it is a lack of emotional involvement. Designed to perfection, the Veyron doesn't quite generate the visceral appeal that otherwise might come from cars like the Ferrari 599 or Porsche 911 GT3 that take a more raw and hard-edged approach to performance. If you're looking to get around your personal racetrack, there are other cars that will technically do it more quickly than the Veyron.
There are no side or side curtain airbags in the 2009 Bugatti Veyron -- just the bare minimum front airbags, as mandated by the government. Stability control, traction control and antilock carbon-ceramic disc brakes are standard.
For 2009, the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport is introduced. It is essentially a Veyron with a removable roof panel. There are also a number of special-edition models available, two of which celebrate Bugatti's 100th anniversary. The Veyron's base price has also risen $200,000 to $1.7 million.