Few cultural icons truly demand our consumer respect, awe and reverie quite like Bugatti Automobiles. It takes a masterful creator to summon respect at such an iconic level, and it is Bugatti’s commitment to innovative product creation that has garnered their cult following of elite luxury buyers.
Bugatti is in that precious, gilded league of astute empires because what they craft challenges the boundaries of what is actually possible in auto making. For over a hundred years they have sped through design limitations, and brought what was once only imaginable into visible existence, and in many ways single handedly formed our cultural vision of how sports cars should look and perform.
Their destiny as one of the world’s utmost car makers has only compounded over the years, and they are now breaking records and continuing their legacy with their recently released Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport 16.4 Vitesse. Referred to as ‘the most powerful roadster of all time’ the Grand Sport Vitesse has drawn on the engineering genius of the Veyron Super Sport’s engine, housing this monstrous power in the chic appeal of a drop top convertible.
President of Bugatti Automboiles S.A.S. Wolfgang Dürheimer says this about the company’s creative process, “We were instantly electrified by the idea of transferring the power of the Super Sport to the Grand Sport, which previously delivered a maximum of 1,001 hp, and thus taking the roadster to a new level,” says Wolfgang, “Our team has managed to transfer the world’s most powerful car engine to the open-top sports car while taking all vehicle dynamics and aerodynamic parameters into consideration. We are proud to present the fastest roadster ever.”
A W16 engine with a 7.9-litre capacity boasts a maximum torque of 5,000 rpm. That is a lot of power, power that enables the car to move at lightning speeds topping 255mph, and jet from zero to sixty in a legendary 2.6 seconds. In order to withstand the increased pressures of this power and speed, the car was extensively reinforced all drive train components to ensure immense forces were transferred safely at all times.
Whle the ‘stock’ model comes with a newly developed aerodynamically genius exterior including a roof spoiler to reduce wind noise, xenon headlights and a carbon fibre interior – the Veyron Vitesse models are all entirely unique, yet all boast a power gauge that actually goes up to an astounding 1, 200 hp.
While the Vitesse’s brother the Grand Sport blew people’s minds in terms of speed and performance, Bugatti’s engineers pushed themselves to create even more power, while not compromising design in engineering the Vitesse.
"The rapid success of the Super Sport convinced us to increase the performance of the Bugatti roadster. Once again our engineers worked hard to demonstrate that Bugatti is able to constantly redefine the boundaries of what is technically feasible," reveals Dürheimer, "We gave our all to transfer the achievements of the Super Sport over to the Grand Sport, thereby turning open-top driving itself into an extraordinary experience at high speed."
The Wei Long 16.4 Special Edition
However, the most outlandish version of the car is undoubtedly the Veyron Grand Sport Wei Long Edition which was released as a one of a kind ‘Chinese Year of the Dragon’ themed edition of the Vitesse. With a gilded price tag of $2.09 million dollars, and a bevy of opulent trimmings, even an ancient emperor would find this deluxe supercar worthy of an ultimate joy ride.
The luxury car company enlisted the help of Koniglice Porzellan Manufaktur of Berlin, who had previously wowed Bugatti fans by creating porcelain parts for the Grand Sport L'Or Blanc. In the Wei Long edition the fuel filler cap, wheel inserts and certain cabin features are all hand crafted from porcelain. However, the elite car company could not stop at mere porcelain fittings, so they engraved regal images of dragons into the cars' various porcelain amenities.
As an example of the customizability options available in the Vitesse, the floor mats in the Wei Long Edition are 100% silk. The interior is gorgeous brick red leather, which evokes a powerful aura of prestige, and it too is embossed with images of mystical dragons.
Rejuvenating an Iconic Legacy
Only in Bugatti do we find superior speeds, matched by pristine beauty and carnivorously lean designs. However their company philosophy seems oddly simple: Bugatti offers the best cars money can buy. This commitment to genius started with the original founder and crafter Ettore Bugatti. An educated artist and engineer, Mr. Bugatti sought to bridge the world of aesthetic design with the streamlined power of mathematical precision. His dream found immediate success and in the 1920s and 30s the Bugatti brand of vehicles won more races than any of competitors.
It seems history is repeating itself, as the Grand Sport Vitesse continues to the lead the way as a rare and trailblazing vehicle, in a league entirely its own.
VIDEO: Bugatti Veryron Grand Sport Wei Long Edition