Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bugatti Veyron 1.6.4 Grand Sport

I did something in a Rs 16-crore Bugatti Veyron that perhaps not many people on this planet have done. No, it’s not the acclaimed 407 kph top speed run. Uh-huh. Did Bugatti hire him on his looks alone? I don’t think so, because not too long ago (July 4, 2010 to be precise), Pierre took the Veyron Super Sport to its top speed of 431.072 kph, making it the fastest production car in the world. And here he was, indulging an Indian who wanted to press the horn button of the fastest convertible/roadster in the world!

The thing about the Bugatti Veyron is that it’s like the Taj Mahal. You read all sorts of reports about it and you’ve seen its images so many times that you’re left jaded. There is so much hype surrounding the Bugatti Veyron and the surreal statistics that accompany it that your vision gets clouded; the hype refracts the way you look at it. Take for example what Pierre demonstrated before handing over the car to me: he took the Grand Sport to the top seventh gear quickly. By then, we were doing some stunning three-digit speeds on those narrow Alsatian roads cluttered with unsuspecting drivers. If it were any other car, can you imagine what would have happened?
I have been in very, very fast cars. In the Bugatti Veyron, with the official pilot demonstrating its ability to beat the laws of gravity-inertia-motion-physics-whatever, my head and body were of course pinned, but gently my thighs and legs became weightless as my legs were nearly lifted.

What everyday usability! I could drive this car to work daily back home in Mumbai and I am sure this automotive Taj Mahal would be up to it. The steering feedback was just right, the prodigious output was offered in measured doses and the four-wheel drive setup ensured that it never stepped out of line.

Depress the pedal and the whoosh behind acquires a cyclone-like spirit, while the turbos put together a whistling philharmonic presentation and the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport brings the horizon closer at a frightening pace. One more time. Depress the pedal again and this time, there were no half-hearted measures.

The engine noise exploded behind me in a frenzy and it felt as if a 737 was hovering behind as the pretty Alsatian countryside started disappearing backwards in fast-forward mode. I was doing 250-kph plus while Pierre was giving me some Bugatti spiel over all that noise. Of the 125-plus kgm of turning force that’s available between 2200 and 5500 rpm, 74 kgm is ready at as low as 1000 rpm.
Time to pull out another surprise from the Bugatti Veyron Box Of Miracles. Touch the brake pedal at those speeds and coming to the aid of those high-tech carbon-ceramic brakes was the rear spoiler that altered its angle sharply and quickly to behave like an air brake, not unlike the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLRs of yore. The brakes, by the way, haul the Veyron from 100 kph to zero in 2.3 seconds. Yes, the Veyron is actually quicker to stop than to accelerate. I don’t know how Ettore Bugatti would have taken it. Turning off the highway, I made my way back to the Bugatti factory in Molsheim in crawl-mode, all the way whining to Pierre about how time passes so fast in an ultra-fast car. What sort of car is this anyway? Whatever it may be, it is truly an engineering marvel, not just an automotive engineering marvel. Ettore Bugatti would be happy.

Exclusive Motors, who sell cars from many an iconic car brand like Lamborghini and Bentley have picked up the gauntlet to sell and tend to the handful of Veyrons that the handful of Indians rolling in the green stuff would buy. Bugatti flew in Guy Caquelin, their Sales and marketing manager, Europe, Middle East and India, to pull the wraps off the Bugatti Veyron GrandSport 16.4 along with the Managing Director of Exclusive Motors, Satya Bagla.
Cost of the Bugatti Veyron GrandSport: INR 16 Crores, and that is the starting price. If you feel like, you can burn some more money and customize your Veyron to a great degree.

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