The Veyron is a dangerous car in the wrong hands. Even highly trained Veyron test drivers have suffered broken noses, crushed lungs, fractured ribs, and diarrhea. And those are the ones who haven't crashed into anything. Honestly, for a moment I worried that I wasn't up to the challenge. Then I remembered that I have a degree in English and am therefore qualified to test the limits of a machine that just might go 300 mph. I climbed aboard.
What's the Veyron like to drive? Here are some performance facts to help tell the story: 0-to-60-to-0 mph can be accomplished while parallel parking. With the traction control switched off, the Veyron will do a four-wheel burnout from rest in seventh gear. It can beat a McLaren F1 to 100 mph--in reverse. At wide-open throttle, the Veyron can suck a bowling ball through the intake and shoot it straight out the exhaust. Above 238 mph, the small elephant that deploys from the roof at 150 mph is again retracted, decreasing drag. If one of the Veyron's turbochargers fell off, it would still have three.
On the road, stopped school busses become a blurred flash of yellow out of the corner of your eye. Cul-de-sacs shrink. As you push past 180 mph, shopping mall parking lots look like nothing more than people running wildly and throwing bags in the air. It's divine.
There used to be a glacier here.
Of course, all this performance isn't free. I saw a top speed of 254 mph, and at that speed the Bugatti (or, as it's affectionately nicknamed, the "Buga") will run out of fuel in twelve minutes, although it also has an economical cylinder-deactivation mode that allows it to run for twenty-four minutes. And the window sticker, which is itself printed on spider silk, is on the steep side at $1.25 million. Options, such as the Swarovski crystal windshield, can drive the price even higher.
Should you buy this car? That depends on your priorities, and some persons of means would rather use that kind of money to buy a nuclear submarine or Canada, to carve their faces into Mount Everest, or to build a floating skyscraper. But for a certain brand of oligarch, tycoon, sheik, emperor, or deranged CEO, only a Veyron will do.
The Veyron faces some competition
at the proving grounds.