Production of the Bugatti Veyron roadster, which was unveiled at last year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, has commenced.
Bugatti's Veyron for hairdressers
Being billed as the world's fastest roadster is no mean feat, but Bugatti insists this is more just a Veyron sans roof.
It boasts a range of new safety and equipment features, with the most notable being the reinforced monocoque structure, B-pillars bolstered with carbon fibre support and, for greater torsional rigidity, a central carbon plate.
Doors are also made of carbon fibre and reinforced with an additional beam to better dissipate crash impact forces.
Airy, but quick
New features have been added to the interior, too, and changes include moisture-resistant leather upholstery, a reversing camera with a 2.7-inch monitor and a Puccini audio system with a digital signal processor.
However, despite the added comfort benefits, this car remains a Veyron, which means it is blisteringly fast. With the lightweight transparent polycarbonate roof in place, it is able to hit a forbidding top speed of 407 km/h.
Top down, it is still able to clip 360 km/h but should it rain, an umbrella-like soft-top stowed in the luggage compartment allows the car to reach speeds up to 160 km/h.
Feel the difference
“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, a former Le Mans winner and Bugatti’s official pilot.
“As soon I shifted into second gear, I knew this was a completely different 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.”
Removing 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,” Raphanel gushed.
Assembled by hand at the company’s Molsheim headquarters in Alsace, production of the Grand Sport is limited to 150 units. The first units will be delivered from July 2009 with prices starting at 1.4 million euros.
The first 50 units will be going exclusively to registered Bugatti customers and 30 Grand Sports have already been ordered.