If one had to pick one single automobile to crown as king of all cars during the last decade, the Bugatti Veyron would probably be it. A stupendous engineering achievement and a welcome revival of the legendary prewar French marque, it single-handedly raised the bar for automotive performance. What the McLaren F1 was in the 1990s the Bugatti Veyron was in the 2000s, and in many ways it still is today. When it was introduced during the first half of the decade, the Veyron brought a whole new meaning to the term "exotic car". Its performance figures and price tag had more than enough extra zeros to get people's attention and the Veyron quickly shot to the top of many dream car lists.
1,000-plus horsepower. 250-plus miles per hour top speed. Four turbochargers. Sixteen cylinders. Massive airbrake with as much stopping power as a normal car. Base price of almost two million dollars. These are numbers that sound like they came out of a comic book, but they're just some of the things that make the Veyron stand out. Challenges have been made to the hypercar's top speed and there are certainly machines that will go around a track faster, but so far nothing has really matched the clever combination of raw power and careful sophistication that the Veyron has achieved.
A few variations of the Veyron have come about over the years, the most extreme of which is the nearly 268 mile per hour Veyron Super Sport. That car wrested Bugatti back its "world's fastest production car" crown, but another version, the 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse, now gives Bugatti double the pleasure by being the world's fastest production roadster, not to mention the most powerful. The open-top Veyron did 254 miles per hour at Volkswagen's test track in Germany thanks to its obscene 1,200 horsepower, almost 200 more than the regular Grand Sport convertible. Torque is up as well, jumping from 922 to 1106 lb/ft. If you're crazy enough to do it, towing a boat wouldn't be too much of a task at all. As Bugatti is glad to point out, Vitesse means "speed" in French, but everyone already knew that it was going to be fast. What we don't know, however, is just how long this car will hold the title of world's fastest roadster. Given how high Bugatti has raised the bar, it will probably be quite a while.
The Grand Sport Vitesse looks very much like the standard car with its outlandish, not-so-grateful looks, but with a tiny little chunk of open air where the roof used to be. Bugatti has modified the chassis to take the 200 extra horsepower as well as carried out all the other appropriate tweaks to make sure that this Veyron stays, like all the others, the perfect mixture of comfort and brute savagery. Again like the other Veyrons is the fact that the Grand Sport Vitesse will be a rare sight. Only around 150 will roll out of the factory and each will come at the eye-popping cost of around $2,250,000. It's a lot, yes, but nobody ever thought it wouldn't be.