The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is a car unlike any that has come before. Sure there have always been fast, luxurious cars. But the Veyron takes it to another level not just in terms of speed but in terms of, well, just about everything.
It was named after a relatively unknown Bugatti test driver named Pierre Veyron who teamed with Jean-Pierre Wimille to win the 1939 24 Hours of Le Mans driving a Bugatti Type 57C. While the Veyron bears the name of the company founded by Ettore Bugatti and is produced at the site of the company’s original works in Molsheim, France, the driving force behind its creation was Volkswagen Group and its chairman, the indomitable Dr. Ferdinand Piëch.
Dr. Piëch, grandson of Porsche founder Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, played a key role in a number of automotive developments including the Porsche 917 race car and the Audi Quattro all-wheel drive groundbreaking drivetrain. He was also voted “Car Executive of the Century” in 1999.
His goal with the acquisition of Bugatti was nothing short of the creation of the ultimate car. Following a series of concepts sporting a whole lot of cylinders and four digit power figures, the Veyron concept was initially shown at the 2003 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
The production Veyron arrived in 2006 with a price tag of about $1.2m, depending on exchange rates. Since then prices have edged as far as the $2m-$3m range. Yes, in the world of super cars inflation is real, and the sales tax alone can amount to the price of a very nice car.
At the heart of the Veyron is, of course, its engine. This engine is very different from any other. For one its displacement is 8.0 liters. Okay, so an SRT Viper has a larger engine. But the Veyron has four turbochargers. Okay, so the Bugatti EB110 had four turbos. But the Veyron has sixteen (!) cylinders. Okay, so the 1932 Cadillac Phaeton had sixteen cylinders.
But no other car has combined all of those attributes into one engine: Giant displacement, lots of turbos and lots of cylinders. Oh, and the cylinders are arranged in a W-pattern rather than a typical V-pattern. It’s a quad-turbocharged 8.0 liter W-16 engine that just happens to produce over 1,000 metric horsepower (987 SAE hp) and 950 lb-ft of torque. Those are the official ratings, which are rumored to be quite conservative.