Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse: The world’s fastest convertible gets more power

Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse frontBugatti only makes one car, but it’s quite a machine. In top-spec SS form, the Veyron is the fastest production car in the world. Every Veyron is powered by an 8.0-liter, 16-cylinder engine with four turbochargers, making 1,001 hp in the (discontinued) standard Veyron, coupled to all-wheel-drive. There is even a convertible.

As a drop-top version of the world’s fastest car, the Veyron Grand Sport was pretty extreme already. Nonetheless, Bugatti has decided to give it a little more power; enter the Grand Sport Vitesse.

“Vitesse” means speed in Bugatti’s native French, so the company tweaked the convertible’s W16, giving it a total of 1,200 horsepower, with 1,106 pound feet of torque. To make this extra power, Bugatti says the turbochargers and intercoolers were enlarged. The chassis was also reinforced to handle all that torque.

The Vitesse borrows some pieces from the record-breaking SS, including its more aerodynamic front fascia and tuned suspension. Is Bugatti trying to build a convertible SS, so buyers can set world speed records while drying their hair?

Bugatti would not reveal the Vitesse’s top speed, but it will probably be higher than the current Grand Sport. That car is limited to 217 mph, making it the world’s fastest production convertible. With an extra 200 hp, there is no reason why Bugatti wouldn’t raise that limit. The SS’ record stands at 268 mph, but that would be difficult to reach with an open roof; the convertible just isn’t as aerodynamic as the coupe. That’s why Lockheed does not make a convertible F-22.

Bugattis are all about extreme numbers, especially when it comes to sticker price. A normal Grand Sport costs about $2.2 million; an SS costs roughly $3.3 million. Since the Vitesse is a step up from a normal Grand Sport, but not quite as fast as an SS, it stands to reason that its price will be somewhere between those numbers.

The Veyron has been around since 2005, but it never ceases to amaze. It shows what can happen when all of a company’s resources (especially those of the mighty Volkswagen group) are committed to a single objective. As a world record holder, it’s not a good idea to be complacent, so Bugatti has continued to incrementally improve the Veyron to keep it on top. The Grand Sport Vitesse might seem like a marketing ploy, a special edition to attract customers high on exclusivity. However, in the Veyron’s rarefied world, even incremental improvements count as forward progress. It’s not like anyone else has built a convertible as fast as this before.

The Vitesse will make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, with production set to begin shortly after that.