Last year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance in California was the setting for the very beginning world demonstration of the freshly Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport. The reaction was super positive and today production of this roadster – restricted to 150 units – is to begin at Molsheim. Concurrently, the media and clients are calling for their first test drives.
The new Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport confronted the marque renowned for impeccable automotive solutions, aesthetics and driving dynamics with a entirely fresh set of challenges. In reaction to client demand, important adjustments have followed arrived to the vehicle’s complex structure to enable open-top driving, thereby adding a fresh attribute to this superior sport car. Containing a host of new and advanced safety and equipment features, it’s the world’s fastest and most stimulating roadster. It’s instantly identifiable because of its slightly higher windscreen, stylized daytime running lights, and lightweight, transparent polycarbonate roof.
The primary challenge in development the new Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport with its removable roof resulted from the incomparable structure of the fixed-roof Bugatti Veyron. An optimal combination of rigidity and lightweight engineering secures the monocoque passenger cell of the original model is highly strong, while considering an absolute minimal. As the roof is an built-in part of the vehicle’s body structure, removing it meant the load paths had to be completely redesigned to maintain the vehicle’s rigidity and crash safety, and to extend extra security from side impacts and rolling.
As a final result, the monocoque structure back-number reinforced round the side skirts and the transmission tunnel. The B-pillars have been cross-stiffened using a carbon fibre support, and a central carbon plate has been positioned below the transmission tunnel to guarantee the vehicle suffers from lower torsional flexing than any other roadster.
The doors of the new Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport are constituted of carbon fibre, and house an integrated longitudinal beam. In the event of an accident, this transfers the load from the A to the B-pillar, thereby dispelling impact energy. Moreover, the 2 redesigned air intakes for the 16-cylinder mid-engine now feature 10-centimetre wide carbon-fibre elements to provide security in the consequence of a roll.
Along with moisture-resistant, backstitched leather, a range of new equipment features has been expanded the interior, including a reversing camera with 2.7-inch monitor integrated in the rear-view-mirror, and the “Puccini” sound system with digital signal processor.
When the roof is closed, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport can reach 407 km/h, while speeds of up to 360 km/h are possible with the roof off. Should it rain, an innovative soft-top roof, like an umbrella, stored in the luggage compartment, can be opened up at any time. With this soft top in place, the car can travel at up to 160 km/h.
More than just an open Veyron
“When I had the chance to test-drive the new Grand Sport for the first time myself, I was filled with excitement”, said Pierre Henri Raphanel, Bugatti’s Pilot official, “as soon I shifted into second gear, I cognized this was a entirely another car. I could immediately feel the difference. Even with the roof still on, in the tips of my fingers and at the base of my spine everything was more present, more intimate. More precise with less understeer, almost as if you had taken away some filters from the suspension and the steering.” The former Le Mans winner has probably driven more kilometres in a Veyron than anyone else, presenting the car to a lot clients and the press. Taking off the roof “the excitement comes directly from the engine – giving you the feeling that you had a horsepower factory just thirty centimetres behind your head, trying to suck you up and swallow you,” he raves.
Assembled by hand at the company’s headquarters in Molsheim, Alsace, the Grand Sport will be delivered from July 2009 onwards at a price of 1.4 million euros (excluding taxes and transportation). Just 150 units will be made, with the first 50 of these going exclusively to registered Bugatti customers. So far 30 Grand Sports have been ordered. The Chassis Number one auctioned at the Pebble Beach Auction by Gooding and Company last summer and sold for 3.19 million Dollar. The additional revenues of 900.000 Dollar were donated by Bugatti to the Pebble Beach Company Foundation Charity.