Bugatti is back where it belongs! After losing its crown as the world’s fastest production car to the American-built Aero SSC Ultimate, the Veyron has bitten back. With 1,183bhp, a more slippery bodyshell and a confirmed top speed of 268mph, the Veyron Super Sport is officially the quickest thing on four wheels. Auto Express has driven the record breaker on the stunning roads of Andalucia, Spain.
Watch our video of the Bugatti Super Sport at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.
You might think that turning the Veyron back into a world-beater was simply a case of stuffing more horsepower under the hood – but the conversion from standard model to the Super Sport is more extensive than that.
Aerodynamics are key when it comes to top speed, so the Super Sport gets a longer roof with twin triangular air ducts, instead of scoops. It features a more slippery silhouette to feed more air to the engine.
The front air intakes have been expanded and reshaped, while two further vents have been added underneath the headlights. A new front splitter and F1-style double diffuser help to improve high-speed stability, too. Lightness is another crucial factor for extracting maximum performance, so the Super Sport has been on a diet. A total of 50kg has been shed thanks to lighter wheels, a redesigned monocoque (removes 25kg but is 10 per cent stiffer), carbon-fibre A-pillars borrowed from the Gran Sport and a new exhaust system – which also gets a wider and elongated design.
The changes continue under the skin, with longer second and third-gear ratios for the seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox, a wider rear track and quicker-reacting automatic dampers – which now deliver the ultimate combination of supple low-speed ride and unflappable high-speed control.
Instead of deploying at 137mph, as it does on the regular Veyron, the rear spoiler rises automatically at 113mph in a bid to better control the huge performance on offer.
Thanks to four even larger turbos, two improved intercoolers and the new exhaust system with reduced back-pressure, the 8.0-litre quad-turbocharged W16 now produces 1,183bhp and a colossal 1,500Nm of torque. As a result, it also produces quite a lot of heat. In fact, on full throttle the 16-cylinder engine churns out 80 times that produced by the central heating system of an average-sized family house.
Ironically for a model with such a landmark top speed, customer cars are actually limited to 258mph – 10mph short of their full potential – to avoid shredding the tyres. But if fuel consumption is a concern that’s no bad thing. At top speed the SS will drain its 100-litre fuel tank in 10 minutes, averaging 2mpg!
The biggest surprise comes when you drive the car in town at regular speeds – it’s as docile as a VW Golf. Wait for the roads to open up and squeeze the throttle, though, and the Super Sport bares its teeth.
Firstly, you hear the turbos breathing heavily as they spool up, then over 3,800rpm the engine, via the free-flowing exhaust, begins to roar. A “click, clack” can be heard as the spoiler emerges, and from there on you feel a relentless shove in the back. Yet thanks to four-wheel drive and a wider rear track, the Super Sport is capable in corners, too, with a hint of playful oversteer.
In every capacity, the Super Sport is better than the standard Veyron, except for its price tag, of course – a cool £1.7million. Yet 26 of the limited run of 30 Super Sports have been sold, so if you want your own slice of car history, you’d better be quick.
* Price: £1.7million
* Engine: 8.0-litre W16 quad-turbo
* Transmission: Seven-speed twin-clutch, four-wheel drive
* Power: 1,183bhp
* Torque: 1,500Nm
* 0-62mph: 2.5 seconds
* Top speed: 258mph (limited)
* Economy: 10.2mpg
* CO2: 596g/km
* Equipment: Sports exhaust, automatic spoiler, leather
upholstery, carbon-fibre trim, carbon-ceramic brakes
* On sale: Now