It’s late at night and I’ve just bumped into another motoring hack at Dubai airport. It’s obvious why he’s here at the exact same time, in the exact same lounge as me: he’s one of the privileged few. He’s an experienced driver and, like me, he’s driven plenty of extremely fast cars in his time. Unlike me, however, he’s never before driven a Bugatti Veyron. Which is why we’re talking utter nonsense at 2am. We’re both heading for Spain, where we’ll both experience the full fury of 1200hp without a roof over our heads. The Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse beckons.
For us motoring journalists, it’s a question often asked: have you driven a Veyron? And if you’re able to reply in the affirmative, that’s closely followed by several expletives about how fortunate you are, while at the same time calling into question your parents’ marital status when you were born. Then, “what’s it like?”
And it’s at this point that any journalist struggles to find words appropriate to describe what it’s like to be catapulted down a road while behind the wheel of the world’s fastest production car. Amazing? Astonishing? Hardly ample descriptions, those. Here’s a few I tend to use: brutal, furious, mental, shocking, insane, breathtaking and, something most inquisitors aren’t prepared for, surprisingly easy. I wheel some of them out while talking to my fellow scribe, adding that the feeling you get when you stamp on the gas never, ever fails to shock. He thinks I’m exaggerating. After all, he argues, a Nissan GT-R is almost as quick to 100kph from rest. Wait and see, I tell him. Wait and see…
It’s not ideal, flying through the night before getting into the world’s fastest roadster and giving it some proper welly. My two previous encounters, with the first Grand Sport and the Super Sport, were less hurried and I’d managed to bag a decent night’s sleep beforehand – something I was grateful for. No matter, because, as I mentioned, it’s a surprisingly easy car to drive and, at least with the new Vitesse being sans roof, there’ll be little chance of me falling asleep at the wheel.
The unveiling of the Grand Sport Vitesse came as no surprise. We’re now used to manufacturers spouting drivel about how no further models are planned and yet they continue to emerge, with the same PR people insisting that their employers are simply reacting to customer demand. When the record-breaking Super Sport entered the ring in late 2010, Bugatti remained insistent that its drivetrain would not be shoehorned into the open-top Grand Sport. 18 months later, the wraps were taken off it at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. Is this the final variant, before Bugatti’s self-imposed production run of 450 Veyrons comes to an end? I wouldn’t bank on it.