Click "View Photos" at left to come along on PopSci's test drive of the impossibly fast Bugatti Veyron 16.4.
How was the Veyron drive, you ask? Absolutely unbelievable. Otherworldly. Achieved amazing velocities in the California desert and could have gone much faster were it not for traffic visible miles down the road-and, of course, the fact that these were public roads. At high speeds (the 'ron tops out at 250mph and does 0-60mph in 2.5 seconds), my companion, Bugatti pilote officiel Pierre-Henri Raphanel, looked absolutely bored. Not because he necessarily had faith in me as a driver, or that he routinely drives fast in this car and is a former LeMans and F1 driver, but because he had absolute confidence in the car itself. It is rock-steady at every speed. The DSG transmission produces completely uninterrupted, linear acceleration. Your head doesn't bob at each gear change-you can't even feel it happening. It just goes, like a rocket sled. There's a gauge on the dash that shows how much horsepower you're using at any given moment, from 0 to 1001 horses. At full boogie, in triple-digit speeds, the effect is thunderous.
To get a sense of how priviledged PopSci was (and I was) to get this ride, consider: The company sold 30-minute drives at a charity auction recently for $10,000, and 12 people bought them.
Perhaps best of all, the car has a hypnotizing effect on onlookers. Everywhere we stopped, a crowd gathered. Truck drivers knew it by name: "That the Vy-rin?" I stopped counting cell phone cameras after ten minutes. At the end we drove down Mulholland drive, then through Malibu, and I felt like a complete rock star.
Look for more in-depth coverage of the Veyron in the coming months in PopSci.