LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: THE 2009 BUGATTI VEYRON 16.4 GRAND SPORT
On the night before the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Bugatti took over the awards ramp to show its latest creation. Given that dozens of vintage Bugattis have traveled across that ramp over the past 50 years, it seemed quite an appropriate location for the debut of the latest model from the French automaker, the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport.
The regular Veyron 16.4 is quite exclusive in its own right – only 160 have been built, with deposits on 240 more — and the new Grand Sport will be built in even fewer numbers. Only 150 copies of the new roadster will be built, with the first 50 available only to current Bugatti customers.
The new Grand Sport is distinct in many ways, but the most noticeable addition — or perhaps subtraction — is the removable roof. The roof is made of a transparent polycarbonate and requires two people to remove. Once removed, the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport becomes what Bugatti calls the fastest roadster in the world, with a top speed of around 225 mph. Put the top back and the Grand Sport will reach just over 250 mph.
These incredible stats are made possible by the Veyron’s 8-liter W16 engine, equipped with four turbo chargers that send 1,001 horsepower to all four wheels. With enormous amounts of torque, the Veyron Grand Sport can reach 62 mph (100 kph) in just 2.5 seconds.
One of the challenges the Bugatti engineers faced was keeping the Veyron rigid and lightweight with the removal of the roof. The monocoque structure has been reinforced around the side skirts and the transmission tunnel, with additional carbon fiber support for the B-pillars. The doors of the new Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport are made of carbon fiber as well and feature an integrated longitudinal beam. The two air intakes for the 16-cylinder engine feature wider carbon fiber elements to offer protection should the car roll.
Also unique to the Grand Sport is a rather special umbrella design for use if the driver is caught by unexpected rain. Inspired by a photo of an older Bugatti driving in the rain with the passenger holding a large umbrella, the Grand Sport comes with an umbrella that unfolds to fit the exact shape of the hard top. Even with the umbrella latched in place, the Grand Sport can still move at 85 mph.
All that performance and exclusivity comes at a high price. The Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport will be priced at 1.4 million euros (just over $2 million) when it becomes available next March. For that one buyer who needed to be first on the list, the right to the first Veyron Grand Sport was auctioned at the Pebble Beach Auction presented by Gooding & Company. With the amount over the asking price going to charity, the winning bid for the new Grand Sport was $3.19 million.