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Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport: A 1200-horsepower road-going tomahawk

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On: Fri, Jun 3, 2016 at 3:01PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Bugatti Veyron 16.4  Super Sport:  A 1200-horsepower road-going tomahawk

So that’s it. You created the biggest, baddest, meanest, most brutalizing road-going supercar of all time. It costs over a million dollars, can run 0–60 quicker than most family sedans can go 0–30, and has exactly one pony over 1,000 horsepower being produced from its behemoth 8.0-liter 16-cylinder engine. Oh, and the car can hit 253 mph before it runs out of steam. That should be enough. Honestly, that should be enough. Yet, it’s not.

The ‘you’ I’m referring to is Bugatti. The car is the Veyron. When it bowed onto the scene in 2005, it became the ultimate king of the hill. No Ferrari, Lamborghini, turbo Porsche, LFA, Viper, or GTR even comes close to dethroning it. Just to put it in perspective, in a race to 150mph with a Lamborghini Mucielago LP640, the Veyron walks away from the Lambo to the tune of about four car lengths, which in the auto world is a Secretariot-caliber win. That should be enough, yet somehow it is not.

Speed is addictive, and it seems once you’ve been exposed to the sickness, you’re never able to recover. In fact, your desire and need only gets worse. What used to be fast isn’t fast anymore, and you can’t function normally unless you feel that rush of adrenaline pulsing through your blood again and again. For some, it happens from streetlight to streetlight. Guys in all forms of cars take a little hit of the stuff, ripping off 1-2 shifts at several thousand RPM higher than necessary, just for a small dose of the medicine to suppress the sickness. Some guys race cars at the track. They have it bad too. Mod after mod, sinking thousands of dollars into engines they’ll have to rebuild over and over, constantly in search of a cure that is only ever temporary at best. And yet, some guys build cars for the masses. It might sound like that shouldn’t be in the same category, but it is, at least for the guys building the sportier models. Typically, it’s no accident that the guys that love cars end up working on the ones everyone else loves.

There’s no doubt that there is a team of those speed-diseased adrenaline junkies working at Bugatti. As previously mentioned, the Veyron should really be enough for any rationale, normal-thinking human being. But for them, it is not. If more is better, than the most should do for now, and with that thought the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport was born.

Keeping with the same nonsense that propels the "standard" Veyron, the Super Sport retains the 8.0-liter W-16 engine, but engineers decided to increase the size of the four turbochargers and intercoolers while ratcheting up the boost to 21.8 psi (up from 18.9 psi), bringing the power up to an honestly stupid 1183 horsepower and 1106 lb-ft of torque (compared to the meager 1001 hp and 922 lb-ft of the now inferior Veyron). The front fascia is improved for better air intake, using larger openings than its lesser brethren. Out back, there is a reworked rear-diffuser incorporating twin center-mounted exhaust tips.

Suspension upgrades to accommodate the bigger power include new dampers, longer spring travel, and stiffer anti-roll bars. Weight has been reduced thanks to a modified carbon-fiber monocoque that also increases rigidity, both characteristics that are necessary when you have a car that is built to challenge the speed of light. The skin of the Veyron Super Sport is made completely of carbon fiber, saving another 110 pounds. The eight-piston brakes stay the same in the Super Sport as the base Veyron, measuring 15.7 inches and retaining their carbon-ceramic composition for increased heat tolerance and durability as well as reducing unsprung weight.

The performance numbers on this car are nothing short of obscene. 60 mph comes up in a staggering 2.4 seconds. 0–124 mph is achieved in 7.3 seconds, and 0–186 mph comes up in 15.0 seconds flat. Just to put those numbers in perspective, that same Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 runs to 124 mph in 11.5 seconds and then on to 186 mph in a more than double 31.0 seconds. Lateral grip is improved over from the base Veyron by 0.1g to 1.4g. Like we said, the men who made this car are sick, very sick

Although top speed is the entire reason this car was built, even if you could afford the $2.4 million price tag, your car would not be hitting the record-breaking 268 mph that is this car's claim to fame. That's right, one of the standard features that comes with your Veyron 16.4 Super Sport is an electronic speed limiter. Now, before you go into convulsions about the man holding you down, fear not, you will still be able to satisfy your speed addiction for some time because the limiter is set only 10 mph off that sickening speed to 258 mph. Seems silly, doesn't it? Well, yes and no. The reason for the limitation isn't because Bugatti wants to ruin your fun. It's actually to keep you safe. Not that going 200+ miles per hour can ever really be considered safe, they understand that. The reason is actually because the tires on the Super Sport, although they cost $42,000 a set to replace, are still just tires. At 268 mph they are rotating at 53 revolutions per second, that's 3,180 rpm. The heat and force generated at that speed can be nothing short of catastrophic and would reportedly last somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 minutes, though no has yet to get in and try it to get an exact figure. Bugatti would rather it not be one of its paying customers.

Although 258 mph doesn't sound like much of a difference, it does provide a bit of a buffer without sacrificing too much of the fun. Bugatti electronically limiting its beast to 258 mph is also probably no small jab at the former champion, the SSC Ultimate Aero TT whose top speed was 256.18 mph. Oh and those tires might last around 10,000 miles tops, and after the third tire change Michelin necessitates changing the entire wheel setup ($69,000 for those), just to make sure the bead seal is correct. However, the secondary safety device built into the car is its 26.4-gallon fuel tank, which at 268 mph would be completely empty is about 10 minutes anyway.

With such audacious numbers, one would think that the Veyron Super Sport would be the be-all end-all to anyones speed sickness. A ride in a car of this magnitude should surely end that deep-set need in its drivers’ bones to embarrass speed limit signs, the truth is the car is more of an outbreak monkey than anything else. It doesn't even take a ride to infect innocent bystanders with the sickness. Simply hearing a 1200-horsepower road-going tomahawk slicing through the air at 200+ mph is enough to encode anyone’s DNA with the need for speed.

So that should be enough, right? Fastest production car in the world, disgustingly gaudy specs, and a price tag of a small lottery... that should be enough. However, all of those other guys out there that don't work for Bugatti also have the sickness, and they want the speed title back. So what will come next? No one outside of the diseased-ridden walls of all of those supercar manufacturers knows, but one thing is for sure: The sickness is spreading.


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