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Bugatti Veyron: Concorde of cars?
December 12, 2005 1:38 AM   Subscribe

The Bugatti Veyron, according to Jeremy Clarkson on last night's Top Gear, may well be the Concorde of cars. So Clarkson is a man prone to hyperbole, but this time the facts might just back him up. A throw-away remark from VW boss Ferdinand Piëch became the informal design brief. A 1000 horsepower car capable of the north side of 400kph/250mph. It looks futuristic, but has the stats to match. 0-60mph in 2.5 seconds. In an acceleration race with a McLaren F1 (the previous fastest supercar), the Veyron can give the F1 a head-start to 120mph, but will still beat it to 200mph. At 250mph, the 100 litre fuel tank will empty in 12 minutes, and you can brake to stand-still in just ten seconds (albeit covering the length of four football pitches in the process). The car will set you back most of UK £1,000,000 but that's barely an indicator: the few that exist are being sold at loss because they "just wanted to see if they could". With an industry facing shifting priorities, there may never be another super-car quite like this.
posted by nthdegx (77 comments total)

 
...navigate to the Concept Cars link for, the tooltip on the first link to the official Bugatti page was supposed to say.
posted by nthdegx at 1:40 AM on December 12, 2005


That thing is damn ugly.

I'll take the McClaren F1 any day.
posted by randomstriker at 1:41 AM on December 12, 2005


I thought it was priced at £480,000; however it's built at a cost of several million (4?) per car.

Regardless, that's not really the point, the point is that it looks and sounds like any good version of the Batmobile should. And therefore I shall go and get one.

Eventually.

I just need to get these numbers right.
posted by NinjaPirate at 1:50 AM on December 12, 2005


Hitler is rolling in his grave.
posted by Pseudonumb at 1:51 AM on December 12, 2005


While I love Top Gear, and while I think the Veyron is a marvel of engineering, and while I know you would never actually do this in a Veyron, I just couldn't stand it when Clarkson banged on about how you could empty the fuel tank in twelve minutes if you drove it flat out. But then Top Gear has never exactly been a flagwaver for anything remotely resembling environmentalism.

But worse than that, the Veyron review was wrapped up in one of those epic races they occasionally do on Top Gear, where Clarkson drives insanely-fast-supercar-du-jour across the continent, and the other presenters James May and Richard Hammond take some other form of transport. This episode, May flew Hammond in a Cessna 182 from northern Italy back to London (well, almost), and Hammond was a complete jerk about May's flying—just wouldn't stop complaining the entire segment. Any proper gearhead would have an appreciation for the fact that you really do need to perform all those safety checks on a Cessna, because if you don't, the plane could fall out of the air and kill not only you, but the family of four whose house you just destroyed. In any case, I'd have a bit more respect for the guy who can fly a friggin' plane versus the guy who can drive a car that, in Clarkson's own words, is a really easy car to drive.

</topgearfilter>
posted by chrominance at 1:58 AM on December 12, 2005


chrominance, I think you've missed the whole point of Top Gear. The whole show is about the three of them bickering. The cars are just a sideshow.
posted by salmacis at 2:15 AM on December 12, 2005


0-60mph in 2.5 seconds. In an acceleration race with a McLaren F1(the previous fastest supercar), the Veyron can give the F1 a head-start to 120mph, but will still beat it to 200mph. At 250mph the 100 litre fuel tank will empty in 12 minutes,

100 litres in 12 minutes? Ha, yes, the hare -vs- turttle gig. A Prius will eventually catch up , pass you and won't see you at the pump.

This is a carosaur, soon to be extinct.
posted by NewBornHippy at 2:32 AM on December 12, 2005


No no, I totally love the bickering. Just this time it seemed quite a bit meaner than usual. I mean, Hammond gets the short jokes, May gets the slow jokes and Clarkson gets the terribly unhip jokes (whe they're not making fun of the GT he just bought!), but if I were May and I'd just shot the Veyron segment, I would've beaten the crap out of Hammond. I kept wanting to punch him as I was watching the episode!

While I'm at it, they really need to stop filming so many reviews at their private airfield-cum-circuit-track, and...
posted by chrominance at 2:36 AM on December 12, 2005


With an industry facing shifting priorities, there may never be another super-car quite like this.

I doubt that. The super-car market has never really be similar to the regular car market, because they are supercars. I sincerely hope that everyday non-super cars learn to respect the environment, I couldn't give a shit about supercars. There are so little of them, it's inconsequential.

What I am worried about is that soon there will be too many cars on the road and supercars like this won't have any wideopen road to just let loose and actually do what they're made to do.
posted by travosaurus at 2:49 AM on December 12, 2005


chrominance: I'd agree with salmacis - there's a fair amount of artistic license in the creation of these segments for Top Gear. Whilst the cars (the Bugatti in particular) can certainly create their own televisual presence to any petrol head, it is the rapport between the presenters that makes the series. Hence the Emmy nomination. That said, I would really like to see 'The Stig' put it through its paces on the track.

This is a carosaur, soon to be extinct.

Yup. They're only making a few. This was very much an experiment in engineering, and a pretty incredible one at that.

and supercars like this won't have any wideopen road to just let loose and actually do what they're made to do.

Anyone who takes this vehicle to 250mph on a public road would/should be banned from driving for life for endangering people's lives. Supercars are not built for performance on the highways, but to demonstrate the engineering skills of the car companies and appeal to consumers' fascination with speed and technology.
posted by Kiell at 3:02 AM on December 12, 2005


...supercars like this won't have any wideopen road to just let loose and actually do what they're made to do.

Advertise the manufacturer, waste fuel, pollute the air, make lots of unnecessary noise, endanger everyone anywhere near the road, and get the driver to his destination (if he gets there alive) just early enough to spend the extra minute bragging about how quickly he got there.
posted by pracowity at 3:06 AM on December 12, 2005


A few Veyron photos of mine from the Tokyo Motor Show.
posted by gen at 3:07 AM on December 12, 2005


"100 litres in 12 minutes? Ha, yes, the hare -vs- turttle gig. A Prius will eventually catch up , pass you and won't see you at the pump."

I'm not pro fuel-guzzlers, by any means, but no, the Prius would not catch up because in those 12 minutes the Veyron has covered fifty miles.

"I doubt that. The super-car market has never really be similar to the regular car market, because they are supercars"

Don't forget, though, that those priorities also generally include making money at some point, which this car isn't ever going to. It may seem like a few extra mph at the top end on top of a McLaren F1, but this car actually behaves itself at 250mph.

If you get toward the bottom of the first page, and then continue to the second page of the Clarkson Times article you appreciated more how high-tech this thing is: moreso than the stats alone communicate.
posted by nthdegx at 3:12 AM on December 12, 2005


Where's the trailer hitch?
posted by twsf at 3:13 AM on December 12, 2005


I love this bit:
...the door mirrors were generating downforce. That gives you an idea of how much of a bastard the air can be at this speed.

And to chrominance, Top Gear is the lads' mag of TV shows, don't watch it for its politics. :)
posted by magpie68 at 3:18 AM on December 12, 2005


uh.. nthdegx.. have you read The Tortoise and the Hare?
posted by Frasermoo at 3:23 AM on December 12, 2005


This car is in a class by itself, above and beyond the other supercars. Almost everything about it is mind-blowing. I lust for it badly. And I think it's quite beautiful.

Re: the "carasaur" comment... What might well become extinct are the (relatively) moderately-priced touring cars. They already partly have.

I had a BMW 840ci. It and the 850ci (the V-12) were the last models of this kind that BMW has made—the revamped 700-series are high-end luxury sedans, not grand touring cars like the discontinued 800s.

My 840ci was a big car, ostensibly seating 4-people but not really—only a child could sit in the backseat. There actually isn't much difference in the driving experience between the V-8 840ci and the V-12 850ci. Only after I had bought the 840, which was kinda on impulse, did I learn of the 850csi—BMW's racing team modification of the 850ci—which I then wished I had bought.

Anyway, these grand touring cars were built for the high-speed European roads like the Autobahn. My 840 accelerated respectably well-enough; but it was at the high-end that the car really shined. The car was capable of more than 150mph, but the American models were computer-governed to limit it to 150. I never had the opportunity to take it to 150, but on one occasion on an Interstate, I pushed it up to 135. Accelerating from 80 to 130 was not difficult at all for the car, and at 135 if drove as steady and comfortably as it did at 65. Before or since I've never driven a car at 100+ and have it handle this well. Cars that weren't really made to run over 100mph tend to be all over the road at that speed. My car was quite happy at 135 and it clearly had a lot left in it, but I was running out of straight Interstate and slowed-down.

I really like the idea of these luxury grand touring cars that are meant to cruise at high-speed and be comfortable. But there's not many left, if any.

The 800s were early-90s technology, but they were the best of BMW engineering. I sold the car a couple years ago, but even then at nine years old it had none—zero—squeaks or rattles. It was like a swiss watch. That kind of thing, I think, impressed me the most about the car. After owning it, every other car feels like a creaky jalopy.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:23 AM on December 12, 2005


uh.. nthdegx.. have you read The Tortoise and the Hare?

uh... Frasermoo... yes I have. It's about the dangers of complacency. If we are talking facts, though, the Prius isn't catching up. Ever.
posted by nthdegx at 3:30 AM on December 12, 2005


Where's the "teeth whitener" tag?
posted by Joeforking at 3:49 AM on December 12, 2005


Good thing I put my order in early.
posted by caddis at 4:04 AM on December 12, 2005


the Prius is catching up if the Veyron has overshot the petrol station.
posted by Frasermoo at 4:06 AM on December 12, 2005


and get the driver to his destination (if he gets there alive) just early enough to spend the extra minute bragging about how quickly he got there.

Oh no, it's not about the destination; it's about the journey. It's the Concorde principle: even though it became obvious that the project was a money pit, the British and French built the damn thing, and Boeing didn't. The piece by James May on the Top Gear site makes a good point, though:

Consider that our one-litre Lupo will do 94mph with just 50bhp, and that the new Porsche 911S needs 355bhp to do slightly less than twice that, and you will begin to understand the magnitude of VW's achievement.

A Prius will eventually catch up , pass you and won't see you at the pump.

Actually, the Prius and the Veyron have a fair bit in common: both are more proof of concept than true innovation. That's to say, hybrids aren't more efficient than a half-decent diesel-powered supermini, and their inflated price-tags reflect fashion and the chance to accumulate holier-than-thou points rather than an investment to be paid off at the pump. (As opposed to, say, a LPG conversion.)

That said, Clarkson's GT is much more unconscionable: it's a souped-up kit car with a severe drinking problem. And it goes against his own principles of forward-looking, over-reaching engineering.
posted by holgate at 4:49 AM on December 12, 2005


Gordon Murray (chief designer of the McLaren F1) on weight (while reviewing the Veyron):

Weight saving should be by design and not a post process. Weight is the car designer's biggest enemy. It works against you in every single aspect of vehicle dynamics. Power-to-weight ratio is one of the most misunderstood figures in the automotive world. Achieving a good power-to-weight figure by applying a huge horsepower to a heavy car is in no way the same thing as achieving the same ratio with a very light car.



One thing that bothers me about the Veyron is the relative end of the true supercar sportscar. They Veyron is a pig (over 2 metric tons). The McLaren F1 is a mere 1100 kilos. The two have similar bhp/weight ratios (Veyron's 1000hp/2086 kilos vs F1's 626 hp/1100 kilos) but that's not a very indicating statistic (as Murray explains above).

The Veyron will labor through the twisties, with a non-responsive turning system making it quite the bore to drive. A DSG clutch system and 4 wheel drive makes it a breeze to drive, even accessible to a 17 year old hothead. Quite a dangerous advent.

While the Veyron is a marvel of engineering (speed testing, tire compounds, aerodynamics), it is hardly a true sportscar. It's more like a Grand Tourer on steroids.

I'd take a 15 year old F1, an F40 or a RUF CTR12 over that thing anyday.
posted by stratastar at 4:59 AM on December 12, 2005


I thought it was £840,000 and they cost VW 5 million quid each (I watched top gear too)


Top Gear torrents.


An American friend of mine loves Clarkson and Top Gear - despite him slagging off the Ford F150 truck thing.

And I'd still take an Aston Martin v12 over this car.

(and the Prius is rubbish)
posted by 13twelve at 5:09 AM on December 12, 2005


Just for once, in these trans Europe races, I'd like to see May and Hammond drive the supercar and Clarkson given the derisible alternative. But then, it's his show and, as May often states, Clarkson needs the 'Powweeerrr'. Give me James May any day. Oh...and Vicki Butler-Henderson.
posted by movilla at 5:24 AM on December 12, 2005


Stratastar is quoting Gordon Murray from the new issue of Road & Track (link to an R&T Veyron photo gallery, the Murray article is not currenty online).

Even though the McLaren F1 always struck me as a bit cold and soulless, I highly recommend the article, it's got some fascinating insight into the art and science of designing supercars from someone who's done it.
posted by jalexei at 5:51 AM on December 12, 2005


I agree. The F1 is truly the consumate supercar of functional design, lacking the soul of the 959 or the F40 (albeit blowing them away in terms of performance).

For flair, an Enzo, MC12 or even the German Carrera GT blow away the F1 and the Veyron.

However, the lay person is interested in the silly stats (0-60, top speed), not the real stats (lap times, most often facilitated through Hockenheim and Nordeschlife).
posted by stratastar at 6:02 AM on December 12, 2005


Of course the real question is this: if I raced a Veyron in the quarter mile, who would win? With any other production car, there would be no question. But the Veyron has me worried. It may very well succeed where the McLaren and Enzo have failed. It may actually be faster than my $8000 sportbike.

Fuck, at least I get 40 mpg.
posted by ryanrs at 6:29 AM on December 12, 2005


I might buy myself two, one for a Birthday present and one for Christmas.........
posted by maxmix at 6:33 AM on December 12, 2005


"Vicki Butler-Henderson"
[quiver]
posted by NinjaPirate at 6:35 AM on December 12, 2005


if I raced a Veyron in the quarter mile, who would win?

How is this the real question? If you want a quartermile blazer, buy a Hayabusa or a 1000cc R1 (save a million+ in the process). A supersports car is not meant to be a 1/4 mile dragger. If it is, then it is no sportscar, just an abomination of mass...
posted by stratastar at 6:36 AM on December 12, 2005



if I raced a Veyron in the quarter mile, who would win?


Come the first corner or need to put on the brakes. Or rain.

The Veyron rocks - they did it, because they could. Its not about being faster around the Nurburgring that an F40 or F1.
The Caterham Super 7 is probably the fastest road car around a track like that.
posted by 13twelve at 6:43 AM on December 12, 2005


Stratastar, I was simply pointing out that the outrageous performance of the Veyron is not as unreachable as its £1,000,000 price tag might indicate. And let's be honest, nobody buys a Veyron for its lap times. I'll take an Elise instead.
posted by ryanrs at 6:44 AM on December 12, 2005


My favorite episode of Top Gear was the competition on the Isle of Man between the Aston Martin DB9, the BMW M6 and the Porsche 911 (the 911 came out on top). Good stuff.
posted by clevershark at 7:04 AM on December 12, 2005


And yes, the question of Veyron vs Sportbike is legitimate. One cannot fully appreciate the experience of driving a Veyron without considering the Yamaha R1. Anybody who drives a Veyron will have 19 year old kids on R1s trying to race them from every single stoplight. This omni-present circus of high-revving squids will mar the Veyron's presence as surely as a type-R sticker plastered to its boot.

You see, the cheap sportbike is the great equalizer of the automotive world. It enables the rowdy youth to sample the experiences of the privileged few. And vice versa.
posted by ryanrs at 7:08 AM on December 12, 2005


"At 250mph, the 100 litre fuel tank will empty in 12 minutes . . . With an industry facing shifting priorities, there may never be another super-car quite like this."

Good.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:17 AM on December 12, 2005


Maybe I'm not environmentally sensitive enough, but what the hell does a Prius have to do with an engineering exercise like the Veyron? It's proof of engineering ability, not an exercise in transportation. Other than both having four wheels, they're completely different.
posted by fet at 7:34 AM on December 12, 2005


I always did think it was amusing that I could outrun pretty much any four wheeled vehicle on the road with my R6/VFR800/RC51. Now I have a (relatively) slow BMW motorcycle and can only do 0-60 in 4 seconds.

You know how many cars I've raced? Zero. We're not all squids.
posted by cactus at 7:47 AM on December 12, 2005


Its nice to know they put all that money into the car's functioning and not very much into its styling because that's an ugly ass car. Reading the spec sheet it sounds like a Monster Garage project rather than an exoticar, ten radiators and four turbochargers?

But I sincerely doubt that this will be the last of the supercars.
posted by fenriq at 7:57 AM on December 12, 2005


Where's the "teeth whitener" tag?

HE HASN'T HAD HIS TEETH DONE, DAMMIT!!!
posted by salmacis at 8:00 AM on December 12, 2005


Best quote from clarkson

" It is a triumph for lunacy over common sense, a triumph for man over nature and a triumph for Volkswagen over absolutely every other car maker in the world."
posted by lalochezia at 8:20 AM on December 12, 2005


You won't be seeing Top Gear in the US any more. Jeremy Clarkson was on the Johnathan Ross show explaing how he hated the way the show had to be re-edited for the US- He couldn't say a crap car was crap, he couldn't call a tosser a tosser.

The very things that give this show a point of view. E.g. the Ford Mustang: By European standards this car is rubbish. Its engine has wasteful, unused capacity that turns fuel into nothing, it couldn’t get from one end of a country lane to the other without running out of brakes and it handles like a newborn donkey.
There’s more, too. It’s got a gruff engine note, its interior has the panache of an Afghan’s cave and … and … and I can’t go on. You see, I’m running through all this car’s bad points but I’m afraid my mind is consumed by the bit where I was doing 65mph on the 101, listening to some Eagles on 104.3.

posted by marvin at 8:20 AM on December 12, 2005


Expensive, wastes fuel, useless, impractical luxury -- he did say it's the Concorde of cars. There's a lovely Italian retro feel to it, thought
posted by QuietDesperation at 8:22 AM on December 12, 2005


To reach top speed the car has to lower itself to a level that probably wouldn't be safe but anywhere on a racetrack. Even then the slightest tap on the break disengages the 250MPH ability of the car. I would not even put this on the same level as other supercars. This is proof-of-concept if nothing else, tryin to compare it is ridiculous. The fact they could get a production car to be reliable at such speeds (tires not exploding, etc) is the real cool factor. And I think the target market already has all the other neat supercars, they're just adding another one in their garage.
posted by geoff. at 8:31 AM on December 12, 2005


Of course you're not a squid, cactus, you ride a BMW. Your trip mileage is too long and your license record too short. So you're doubly disqualified.
posted by ryanrs at 8:36 AM on December 12, 2005


I like my cars like I like my tampons: super.
posted by TimeFactor at 8:43 AM on December 12, 2005


I've always thought the front-end of the veyron was butt-ugly. Especially the scoop or whatever it's called. Looks ridiculous.

If I had the money I'd buy one, It's sure to go up in value once VW stops making them.
posted by delmoi at 8:59 AM on December 12, 2005


Actualy, looking at some more pictures it's not so bad, other then the goofy nose hole it's pretty nice looking. Did they make some chages from a few years ago?
posted by delmoi at 9:07 AM on December 12, 2005


Crikey, insomnia_lj - I'm as environmentally aware as they come. As I've said, at top whack the fuel tank may empty in minutes, but it does get some miles under its belt in the process. Shall we compare it to certain American *mass produced* vehicles when it comes to fuel economy and see how it does? Remember, 99.99% of the time, the ten people that own one of these *won't* be driving it at 250 mph. It is possible to have a valid environmental line against this car, but you'd have to take the same line when it comes to space exploration.

I don't drive. The majority of my reasons are environmental. I don't see that everyone should be entitled to combustion engines. If we must have a few combustion engines, though, let's put them in machines as good as these, rent them out on a race circuit and let everyone have a try.
posted by nthdegx at 9:34 AM on December 12, 2005


The Veyron will labor through the twisties, with a non-responsive turning system making it quite the bore to drive.

Agreed... I'd personally rather drive something light and nimble and fun than something that just has pants-wetting raw power. Say, a Lotus Elise, or even a well-made go-kart.

The Veyron is impressive, and the way it hunkers down to change its aerodynamic profile is just too cool. But it's a showpiece more than anything else.
posted by Foosnark at 9:56 AM on December 12, 2005


> a triumph for Volkswagen over absolutely every other car maker in the world

Too bad they didn't have the balls to call it a Volkswagen. All bow to the uber-SuperBeetle.
posted by jfuller at 10:09 AM on December 12, 2005


But 230 mph is about as fast as the Veyron will go until you put the car into top-speed mode. This involves coming to a stop and, while the car is idling, turning a key in a lock on the floor to the left of the driver's seat. When you do that, the car sinks down even lower on its suspension, until ground clearance has been reduced to a mere 2.6 inches in front and 2.8 in the rear. This setup also causes the front underbody flaps to close and the rear spoiler and wing to retract

Finally, a car with Super Pursuit Mode!
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 10:32 AM on December 12, 2005


I saw the Top Gear episode earlier today, I know the races are rigged and all, but that is besides the point. The car itself is fantastic, it hits the right numbers, 400kph, 1000bhp, etc, it might not be faster than a F1 car around a track, but it does have the speed in the straightline.

I am very impressed by the gearbox more than anything else, I know the Veyron won't be shifting gears in nanoseconds but damn that's one strong gearbox.

The Ferrari Enzo beat the McLaren F1 around the Top Gear track even though the McLaren has a higher topspeed, the reason being handling, the McLaren handles like crap at really fast speeds.

Clarkson is not afraid of bashing a car for its handling, so if he had nothing negative to say about it at high speeds, then it is quite impressive an achievement by Volkswagen.
posted by riffola at 11:20 AM on December 12, 2005


nthdegx writes "I'm not pro fuel-guzzlers, by any means, but no, the Prius would not catch up because in those 12 minutes the Veyron has covered fifty miles."

Hold on; the Prius has a much greater range than 50 miles, doesn't it?
posted by mr_roboto at 11:22 AM on December 12, 2005


Hold on; the Prius has a much greater range than 50 miles, doesn't it?

Yes. So does the Veyron if you're, you know, not going 250mph. The point being the Prius takes quite a bit longer to cover those 50 miles. It. Isn't. Going. To. Catch. Up.

And why does everyone assume this car is crap round corners? Clarkson indicated the absolute opposite. It's a shame they didn't have the chance to give the Stig a lap in the test track, though, because I agree that's the one stat that counts above the others.
posted by nthdegx at 11:32 AM on December 12, 2005


James May said it best:
But at the same time it is a marvellous and very special thing. Maybe one to be appreciated on an intellectual rather than practical level, much in the same way that no one actually eats caviar to stay alive.
posted by riffola at 11:33 AM on December 12, 2005


nthdegx writes "The point being the Prius takes quite a bit longer to cover those 50 miles. It. Isn't. Going. To. Catch. Up. "

I thought NewBornHippy's point was that the Veyron would run out of gas and come to a dead stop, allowing the Prius to catch up and pass it in about an hour. Not a particularly relevant point, but true, I think.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:39 AM on December 12, 2005


In case anyone missed the fuel economy figures:
Projected fuel economy (C/D est):
EPA city driving: 7 mpg
EPA highway driving: 10 mpg
Steady 253 mph: 3 mpg

Hence a range (at max) of 50 miles, and a tank capacity of just shy of 17 gal (sorry, rest of the world; we can't handle litres at all and liters only in soda bottles). At EPA highway driving, that's about 168.67repeating miles to a tank. Yay, math is fun!

And thanks to Marvin's link, I have now read the phrase "hoi polloi" twice today, when I don't remember ever seeing it before. Coolsville.
posted by Eideteker at 11:46 AM on December 12, 2005


FWIW, I rather liked that article on the Mustang. I hope that rising fuel costs drive American cars towards a more European design. Until then, I'll keep lusting after a Lotus Elise and a BMW 1200 series for my next rides.
posted by Eideteker at 11:54 AM on December 12, 2005


The Ferrari Enzo beat the McLaren F1 around the Top Gear track even though the McLaren has a higher topspeed, the reason being handling, the McLaren handles like crap at really fast speeds.

First, the "Top Gear track" is one of the least scientific analyses of car performances. They do not standardize the conditions or the tires, not to mention the dynamics of the track are not an adequate testing ground for car performance (far inferior to a similar sized track, say Hockenheim).

Secondly, of course the Enzo will beat an MF1. It has ceramic brakes, tungsten-magnesium tranny, electronic stability controls, better telemetric testing, etc etc...15 years of technology is quite the leap (take your old 88' Volvo versus your current car. Notice some differences?)

What makes the F1 so special is its meticulous attention to performance details (the first Carbon-Fiber Monocoque, gold lined interiors, an incredibly effecient engine, hp/weight ratio, accurate telemetry, reasonable reliability, amazing performance figures for its time, before extensive wind tunnel testing).

What the Veyron really signals (in my opinion) is the end of the supercar made for the European Marquis, 140 pound chain-smoker, and the ascension of the 250 pound fat guy who doesn't know a lick about motorsporting.
posted by stratastar at 12:37 PM on December 12, 2005


"It is possible to have a valid environmental line against this car, but you'd have to take the same line when it comes to space exploration."

Space exploration serves a purpose and advances important boundaries. This car, however, does not.

It's really quite a pointless display of bravado, frankly. It doesn't even entertain people in an efficient manner.

Boring. When they make one which runs a third as fast on orange peels and coffee grounds, let me know.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:13 PM on December 12, 2005


Someone in the UK- please record all "Top Gear"'s, convert them to NTSC - and then send them to me.

Somehow, listening to "Car Talk" on NPR about a caller's 8-year old Subaru with bad plugs just doesn't satisfy my gearhead fix.
posted by wfc123 at 1:19 PM on December 12, 2005


Random McLaren F1 note: it may have been fast, but the cornering forces it could handle (.81g) were really, really piss-poor, even compared to my 2004 stock ricermobile (.89g).
posted by davejay at 1:21 PM on December 12, 2005


Generally the only thing more boring than a car is a car enthusiast, but I like to read Clarkson now and then:
And that sets a question. How come America’s massive car industry can’t make what is basically beans on toast? A light, zesty, pine-fresh car with an engine at the front, a simple foldaway roof in the middle and rear-wheel drive at the back? Lotus can make a sports car using nothing but a melted-down bathtub and the engine from a Rover. Alfa Romeo can make a sports car using steel so thin you can read through it, and an engine that won’t start. Then there was Triumph, which made a sports car even though its entire workforce was outside the factory warming its hands around a brazier and chanting. [...]

This new version [of the Mustang] has been styled to resemble the original from 1965, and that’s a good thing. Less satisfactory is the news that it’s also been engineered to resemble the original with all sorts of technology that in Europe would have been considered old fashioned by Edward Longshanks.
posted by pracowity at 1:22 PM on December 12, 2005


wfc123 - just try using "Top Gear" on video.google.com - there are plenty of videos of Clarkson et al having a whale of a time.

Apologies for lack of linkage - work block access to video.google.com 'cos they are slags.
posted by longbaugh at 1:56 PM on December 12, 2005


I used to watch Top Gear on Discovery or The Learning Channel, but haven't seen it in a couple of months. Has it been taken off American TV? It was a really enjoyable show, even for a minor gearhead like myself.

Thanks for the pics Gen.
posted by vronsky at 1:57 PM on December 12, 2005


Looks like you can get Top Gear torrents at FinalGear.com.
posted by salmacis at 3:00 PM on December 12, 2005


What salmacis said re: finalgear.com. After discovering the previous incarnation of that site about a year and a half ago, I never put the Speed channel on anymore. Fifth Gear's also worth catching, even if it isn't quite as entertaining. insomnia_lj alert: Fifth Gear is also the more serious of the two shows, having once done a comparison test between a petrol, a diesel, and a hybrid to see which one was most *gasp* economical! They're also the masterminds behind that Smart car 70mph collision video you may have seen floating around the net.

You'll never go back to Motorweek again, just like Road & Track and Car & Driver are utterly useless once you've feasted upon Car, Evo and Top Gear Magazine.
posted by chrominance at 3:21 PM on December 12, 2005


For the same money, I'd take an Eclipse 500. (warning, jet noises).
posted by b1tr0t at 3:45 PM on December 12, 2005


I just couldn't stand it when Clarkson banged on about how you could empty the fuel tank in twelve minutes

Funny, he made the same observation when he raced from England to Oslo (ocean vessel vs. Mercedes SLR). Only I think the Merc would have taken 18 minutes.

As for the R1'ers, I think this video should shut you all up. As said above, they're great in a straight line, but come the first twisty and it all goes to shit, quickly. When it comes to turns, four wheels are better than two, any day of the week, and week of the year.

What the Veyron really signals (in my opinion) is the end of the supercar made for the European Marquis, 140 pound chain-smoker, and the ascension of the 250 pound fat guy who doesn't know a lick about motorsporting.

Very well said, but I don't agree. Not when cars like the Atom are constantly being introduced.

And don't even get me started on the monstrosity that is the Mustang 2+2 wanna-be. The original fastback may not have been a performance monster, but at least it was made of fucking metal.

/hates cheap detroit schlock
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:33 PM on December 12, 2005


Remember, 99.99% of the time, the ten people that own one of these *won't* be driving it at 250 mph.

Too many of them won't drive them, full-stop. There was a shot of Elton John's car auction a while back, and one of his luxury cars had 80-odd miles on the clock.

On the Prius as proof of concept -- in some ways, it solves an artificial problem: the reluctance of Americans to embrace diesel-engined cars for fuel efficiency. A good comparison might be the HD-based iPods, which used a suboptimal technology and will be seen as a curiosity in a handful of years.

Also, what chrominance said about the difference between British and American writing and broadcasting on cars. 'MotorWeek'? Give me a break. (The Discovery channel's re-editing of Top Gear was particularly bollocks, conflating pieces from three or four years ago, so you'd see a 2001 car that had long been superseded.)
posted by holgate at 4:51 PM on December 12, 2005


Yeah but it doesn't reach 251Mph. Granny stuff.
posted by elpapacito at 5:35 PM on December 12, 2005


"It may actually be faster than my $8000 sportbike."

It's definitely faster than my $8,000 sportbike. 0-60 in 2.5? Pretty impressive. I wouldn't want to drag against it.

And no, this will not be the last supercar. As long as there are men with ridiculous amounts of money and either a bit of insecurity or a childlike fascination with fast toys, there will be supercars.

I wouldn't mind taking it for a spin at Nurburgring, though! :)
posted by zoogleplex at 6:46 PM on December 12, 2005


The problem with a really fast looking car is that it slows you down.
posted by marvin at 8:31 PM on December 12, 2005


On the Prius as proof of concept -- in some ways, it solves an artificial problem: the reluctance of Americans to embrace diesel-engine cars for fuel efficiency.

Deisel = pollution.

The US auto industry is actually optimized to improve air quality (mostly driven by California's strict regulation, as well as the US in general). A 50mpg TDI Volkswagen produces more smog then all but the most gas-hungry SUVs.
posted by delmoi at 8:59 PM on December 12, 2005 [1 favorite]


It was a good segment but I wish they had also done a real review of the Bugatti. Usually the "races" use cars they've already reviewed properly and that have done a lap with the Stig.
posted by smackfu at 10:08 PM on December 12, 2005


No one said it'd be the last super-car.
posted by nthdegx at 11:41 PM on December 12, 2005


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