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2005 Bugatti Veyron

Jason CammisawritersMark Bramleyphotographers

We could honor the fastest production car in the world by dousing it in hyperbole: the Bugatti was named after racing driver Pierre Veyron (true), who, thanks to a one-kilo-a-day cocaine habit, broke the lap record at Le Mans on foot - in combat boots (not true). But why bother with fiction when the reality is already insane?

This $1.5-million supercar is built by none other than Volkswagen. You know, the "people's car" company. The Veyron's Fahrvergngen comes from an 8.0-liter sixteen-cylinder engine force-fed by four turbochargers to produce 1001 hp. Well, it actually produces more than that, but 1001 has a nice ring to it. And besides, asking the engineers to rate this engine down to the insignificant power output of a single horse would be like verifying Bill Gates's net worth to the tenth of a penny.

The Veyron barely spins its tires as it claws its way to 62 mph in 2.5 seconds, according to Bugatti. After 55 seconds, its computers cut the engine's power to prevent it from accelerating past 253 mph. Keep your foot down, and in twelve minutes it's out of fuel.

It took a long time for something to finally dethrone the McLaren F1 as the fastest road car on the planet, and the Veyron did so handily. It also did it without compromise - it isn't just fast in a straight line, it handles like a go-kart, rides like a luxury car, and pampers its passengers in decadent luxury. It has such an abundance of power that it didn't need lightweight anything to kick the F1's carbon-fiber butt.

In fact, nothing about the Veyron exhibits restraint, which makes it the perfect poster child for the gas-is-cheap, eff-the-environment zeitgeist in which it was conceived. Premium unleaded will never again be a buck a gallon, and never again will there be a 4500-pound, 1001-hp Volkswagen that empties its 26-gallon fuel tank in twelve minutes.