Tuesday, July 6, 2010

King of All Cars Tops 267 MPH

The Bugatti Veyron is, once again, the fastest production car on the planet.
Bugatti says an orange-and-black Veyron 16.4 Super Sport achieved an average top speed of 267.8 mph at the hands of test driver Pierre Henri Raphanel. Stop and think about that for a moment. That’s more than 393 feet per second and almost 4.5 miles per minute. Even Bugatti’s engineers were surprised.
“We took it that we would reach an average value of 425 km/h (264 mph),” chief engineer Wolfgang Schreiber said in a statement. “But the conditions today were perfect and allowed even more.”
Raphanel made his record-setting run at Volkswagen’s test track in Ehra-Lessien, Germany, in the latest version of the greatest automobile ever made. He had one hour to make back-to-back runs in each direction. The speedo hit 427.933 km/h against the wind and 434.211 with it. That came to an average of 431.072, which by our math is 267.8 mph.
And that was more than enough to take the title back from Shelby Super Cars and the Ultimate Aero, which had held the record since peeling off an average of 256 mph in 2007. Raphanel set the record on June 24; Bugatti announced it on July 4. Bugatti says Guinness was on-hand to verify the record, and we imagine the guys at SSC will not take this sitting down.
As the name suggests, the Super Sport is a hot-rodded version of a car that already has too much of everything. The 16-cylinder engine has been tweaked and tuned with bigger turbochargers (four, count ‘em, four) and intercoolers. Bugatti says the engine is good for 1,200 horsepower and a staggering 1,106 pound feet of torque.
The carbon-fiber monocoque is stiffer yet lighter, the suspension has been stiffened and Bugatti says the car is capable of 1.4g of lateral acceleration. The body has been revised, and the engine draws air through a pair of NACA ducts in the roof instead of two big scoops.
Bugatti plans to begin building the Super Sport this fall. The first five off the line will be identical to the record-setting car. The remainder will have the top speed governed at 415 km/h (257.8 mph) “to protect the tyres,” Bugatti says.
Our own Joe Brown drove the Veyron 1.6 Grand Sport last year; his review is definitely worth reading.
Photos: Bugatti

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