R.I.P. Bugatti Veyron, 2005-2015
EDGAR‘s obituary to the world’s greatest ever car.Neil Churchill March 5, 2015
So that's it. After a decade of thrilling the world with its 8-litre, quad-turbocharged, W16 engine and 1,200 horsepower, the Bugatti Veyron is no more.
The 450th and final model "La Finale" has sold - to a Middle Eastern buyer no less - and the production run for arguably the greatest car ever made has come to a stop.
It's a sad but poignant moment. Not only does it mark the end for the Veyron, but quite possibly the end for future combustion-only, big-engined supercars. Yes, Bugatti has confirmed there will be a successor to the Veyron, but much like the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1 and Porsche 918, it is likely to be a hybrid, with batteries and electric motors to add some eco-friendly boost.
But it wasn't just its power that made the Veyron so great, although admittedly, that did play a big part. It was the statistics surrounding the car in general.
Let's start with the price: AED 9.5 million, once you've added on all the extras. We suspect the price tag on La Finale was significantly more, as it was for all the limited edition models, of which there were many. Despite its massive cost though, it's believed that Bugatti actually made a loss on each car, such was the expense of its R&D.
Michelin had to produce a completely new set of tyres that could withstand the Veyron's load at 400 km/h. They cost AED 90,000 for a set.
When testing bird strikes at triple-digit figures, the front aluminium grille shattered, so it was remade with titanium and thereafter hit animals at 400 km/h with no damage.
Wolfgang Dürheimer, CEO at Bugatti, recently said that there were four main goals when developing the Veyron. 1 - it had to have more than 1,000 horsepower. 2 - it had to have a top speed above 400 km/h. 3 - It had to go from 0-100 km/h in under three seconds. 4 - it had to do all of this and still be a comfortable and civil enough for residential roads and requirements. All four parameters, of course, were achieved.
The car's shape - called ugly by some, though not us - couldn't deal with speeds above 320 km/h, so Bugatti made a top-speed mode. The suspension lowered and chassis openings closed off to limit drag. Torque distribution was digitally managed and active aerodynamics went into overdrive.
So why stop producing it? Well, even though it was still untouchable on figures alone, the Veyron was 10-years old. American carmakers such as Hennessey and Shelby had made it their sole mission to take the world record top speed away - a tussle that switched back and forth for a while, before Bugatti reclaimed it.
The aforementioned LaFerrari, P1 and 918 have set new benchmarks in hybrid power trains, and when those three supercar behemoths start bowing to the world's environment demands, the rest follow suit.
But there will be a replacement, that much is clear. Dürheimer has said the successor will "need to perform better than the Veyron in every possible way". Easier said than done? Maybe not. The Veyron was a heavy, luxurious car - point number 4 in the list of requirements. Bugatti could build a lighter, sportier car and still use the gigantic engine. But point number 4 was by no means the least important objective. It's unlikely Bugatti would want to sacrifice its luxury aspect.
The Veyron's story is a fairytale. What began as a concept vehicle turned into the benchmark for all future high-performance cars. It broke records and transcended what the supercar world thought was possible. It was car manufacturing's concorde moment, and sadly, it may never be topped.
Image credits: DieselStation.