During the 2014 Monterey Classic Car Week in Pebble Beach I was one of the few journalists invited to test drive the $2.5 million Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse.
My Bugatti coach for the test was Le Mans and Rolex 24 at Daytona Champion Andy Wallace. This driving experience was one of the rarest experiences I have had in my entire life.
The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse is truly the ultimate supercar, with a price tag to match. My first impression of the cockpit was that it has no unnecessary buttons. All of the commands are located in one spot so the driver does not lose focus when driving this amazing machine. Our route for the day included highway and canyon driving to make sure I could feel the differences driving this intimidating car.
With great power comes great responsibility. Driving the Veyron is a very surreal experience with immediate reaction to your every input. The new Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse boasts a remarkable maximum torque of 1,500 Nm (at 3,000–5,000 rpm) from the 7.9-litre capacity of its W16 engine. The maximum output (1,200 hp) is reached at 6,400 rpm. These figures allow the car to reach 62 mph from standing in an unbelievable 2.6 seconds. The top speed of 255 mph makes the four-wheel drive Vitesse the fastest production roadster ever. In “normal” handling mode, the Vitesse is electronically limited to 233 mph. Throughout my experience driving the Vitesse, I followed Andy’s directions and I had a blast.
In order to put the unrivaled power onto the road absolutely safely and masterfully, the engineers have reconfigured the chassis of the Vitesse. Thanks to the quick-responding dampers that have been adapted from motor racing, the control the vehicle has is perfectly balanced. Body roll and pitching during hard acceleration and braking are virtually imperceptible. In addition to the incomparable lateral acceleration of up to 1.4 g, the precise interaction of the tires, together with the intelligent all-wheel-drive system, ensures extremely good handling.
Numerous interior parts are made from carbon fiber in this Bugatti roadster. This includes the center console extension, a cover with the EB logo in the rear bulkhead, leather trim and the belt outlet covers on the seats. The bi-color black trim parts are also new in the Grand Sport version, as is a special seat design for the Vitesse. The two-tone leather seat covers are enhanced by contrasting stitching between the seat base and the side sections. Contrasting stitching is also featured on the leather armrest between the seats. Also new are the restraint systems, the illuminated start and parking lock button, an instrument cluster with shift-up information and — as a matter of honor — the power gauge that goes up to 1,200 hp!
At The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering, Bugatti presented the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse “1 of 1.” This edition of the fastest production roadster in the world impressively demonstrates a core competency of the French luxury brand, namely customization.
“The Grand Sport Vitesse “1 of 1” takes inspiration from the brand’s historical designs and vehicles. Bugatti revives the brand’s traditional colors, black and yellow.”
Company founder Ettore Bugatti and his son Jean had a number of important cars finished in the classic duo-tone combination of black and yellow, including the Fiacre bodies of the Type 41 Royale, the Type 55 and the Type 44. For this reason, the “1 of 1” was presented to the customer next to a Type 44, which was provided by the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California, USA, especially for this occasion.