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Bugatti Veyron 16.4

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Bugatti Veyron

Bugatti Veyron 16.4

Jan Hvizdak
June 7, 2007

Following four long years of design and development, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4, the fastest legally-produced car which can be seen on roads, was finally ready for manufacture in 2004. Billed as the most exclusive sports car ever, the Veyron follows the example of its Bugatti predecessors – the limousines and racecars of the twenties and thirties, which are now among the most desirable classic cars available. The Veyron is the culmination of almost a decade of concept cars and design models, and concept became reality in the form of a limited production of 300 cars.


The outstanding performance, speed and acceleration of the new Bugatti demand safety systems to match. The single-piece unibody construction is made from carbon fibre, and achieves maximum marks in crash tests. This is complemented by both driver and passenger airbags for extra protection. High-speed tyres have been specifically designed for the Veyron to cope with speeds of over 350 km/h, and are fitted with a PAX system to guarantee safety in handling, even under sudden loss of pressure. The rear spoiler also provides an extra safety feature, acting not only as a source of downforce, but also as an extra braking function during emergency stops. When specific braking forces are applied, the spoiler changes position to provide extra air resistance. The Veyron’s braking distance is subsequently comparable to that of a lorry.

The Powerhouse

The Veyron’s W16 (16 cylinder engine with 4 banks) alloy engine occupies a unique position in the history of sports car manufacture. Its special design uses the VR principle – a space-saving technique that employs two slim, eight-cylinder blocks sitting perpendicular to each other.

The new Bugatti boasts 1001 horsepower, providing acceleration which is unparalleled amongst its rivals: 0-60 mph in 3 seconds, and 0-200 mph in an astonishing 14 seconds. With torque peaking at 923 lb/ft, the Veyron’s incredible power allows it to reach a maximum speed of 252.3 mph (406 km/h).

The Veyron’s directshift gearbox is also a unique feature of this vehicle. The 7-speed sequential gearbox transfers power to the wheels through a permanent 4x4 system. This results in acceleration from standstill to top speed without interruption – previously unheard of in the automobile industry.

Interior Styling

The Bugatti Veyron 16.4’s cabin is both luxurious and practical. It features high-quality leather upholstery (optional two-tone upholstery), magnificent metallic trim and controls which are carefully designed and laid-out for maximum comfort and accessibility.

Bugatti’s motor sport heritage is also evoked by the instrument panel, which features a central rev counter, around which can be found four smaller instruments. Unnecessary extras are deliberately avoided, further cementing the Veyron’s genuine sportiness. The classic Bugatti two-tone paintwork remains unchanged on the Veyron 16.4. Five different colour combinations are available for the car. In every combination, the darker colour is used for the bonnet, roof and rear of the vehicle, and the lighter colour for the sides and front wheel arches.

Jan Hvizdak works for sport-cars.org where you can also read about BMW headlights or Porsche spoiler.

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