The Automobile as Art: The Anatomy of the 2013 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse

Offered at RM Sotheby’s Essen sale, 11-12 April 2019

Andrew Miterko

“Vitesse” is the French word for speed. As if Bugatti’s 1,001 horsepower Veyron supercar had not set the bar high enough, the company set out to produce a more powerful edition dubbed the Super Sport, with 200 more horsepower and improved aerodynamics. Produced as the roadster version of the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport, the Grand Sport Vitesse is officially the fastest and most powerful production roadster in the world reaching an averaged top speed of 408.84 km/h (254.04 mph) in April 2013. Click ahead to explore the details of Bugatti’s supercar which harmoniously blends elegance and brute performance.

Lot 272: 2013 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Vitesse

Estimate €1.500.000- €1.700.000

Massive, Technologically Advanced Engine

Eight Litres, sixteen cylinders, sixty-four valves, four turbochargers work in unison to generate a sum of 1,200 bhp. The 16 cylinder engine block was created by mating two narrow angle W8 engines which share a common crankshaft. The Grand Sport Vitesse benefits from the additional 200 horsepower via larger turbochargers and intercoolers from the Veyron 16.4 Super Sport, and allows the car to rocket from 0/100 kmh (62mph) in 2.6 seconds and the ability to break the 400 kmh (249 mph) mark.

Variable Aerodynamics

In order to counteract the aerodynamic challenges at such high speeds, Bugatti utilized a rapidly responding central hydraulics system which is capable of making instantaneous ride height adjustments, as well as an active rear wing and front diffuser flaps. At speeds over 200 km/h the ride height is lowered by 90mm in front, 102mm at the rear, the diffuser flaps open and the rear wing and spoiler are fully extended. Over 375 km/h, the diffuser flaps close, the spoiler and wing retract, and the steering is restricted and ride height is lowered even further.

Exterior Design

The Veyron’s sleek exterior design was created not only to optimize aerodynamics, but to pay homage to the company’s history. The center line that runs the length from nose to tail references the Type 35 and Type 57 SC Atlantic, while the horseshoe grille bridge the gap between early models and present day. The body line from the front fender sweeps around a large intake duct and continues to the rocker panel to create the distinctive Bugatti line inspired by Ettore Bugatti’s signature.

Carbon Fiber Construction

Unlike the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport, the Vitesse’s body is entirely constructed of carbon fiber. This specific chassis was held back to be displayed during the Geneva Motor Show in 2013, and featured a body finished in clear coated exposed black carbon fiber, which allows the weave shows through in direct light.

Lavish Interior Appointments

The Vitesse’s interior is uncompromising in terms of luxury and comfort. Sport comfort seats are trimmed in supple Gaucho and Beluga Black leather with Bugatti Light Blue diamond contrast stitching, and feature Vitesse embroidered in the headrest and transmission tunnel, along with the signature ‘EB’ logo embossed in the seat leather. The rearview mirror was painted to match the two-tone leather interior, a black alcantara steering wheel was specified, and door sill plates reading “Geneva Motor Show 2013” were fitted.