As legendary Bugatti supercar bows out, others wait in line
Like the Bugatti Veyron, the Koenigsegg Regera, Pagani Huayra and McLaren P1 GTR are so exclusive, and pricey, only an elite club of the super-rich can dream of driving them
They accelerate like fighter jets, have custom-made interiors and multimillion-dollar price tags: supercars are centre stage at the Geneva Motor Show, even as one of its legendary stars is bowing out.
The last Bugatti Veyron ever to be made has pride of place at the show for car enthusiasts to bid farewell after the brand announced last month that it had sold the 450th and final model, with its 16-cylinder monster engine that produces up to 1,200 horsepower.
“With the Veyron we created a modern icon, and this show is an opportunity to put the car on a pedestal and celebrate, and say thank you to everyone involved, and close the chapter,” Stefan Brungs, Bugatti’s head of sales, said.
Since the Veyron was unveiled at the beginning of the 2000s, competitors have rushed to carve out a place in this exclusive world of cars that only the ultra-rich can afford.
Sweden’s Koenigsegg, for instance, boasts it makes not supercars or even “hypercars”, but full-blown “megacars”.
The company is presenting its Regera at the Geneva show, which opened to the public on Thursday. The car comes with a hybrid powertrain that produces 1,500 horsepower, capable of accelerating from zero to 400km/h in 20 seconds.
That’s roughly twice the horsepower of a regular Formula One car, though the Regera is much heavier.
“Now it seems to be pretty normal to have almost 1,000 horsepower,” said Jens Sverdrup, the brand’s head of sales.
The cost? Around US$2 million, or more depending on what you want added.
That’s the amount the thrill-seeking rich will also need to fork out for McLaren’s P1 GTR.
Like Aston Martin’s Vulcan, which also premiered in Geneva, it is a car destined for “gentlemen drivers” that can only be used on special tracks, and the price tag comes with piloting lessons included.
But Dave Eden, spokesman for the brand made famous by its Formula One success, warned that the P1 GTR will only be made available to those who already own the P1 road car, a hybrid supercar unveiled in 2012.
And orders for the GTR have been limited to just 40, a figure almost attained, he said.
“We’ve got people flying in from all over the world to see the cars,” Eden added.
While the stalls of more generalist brands are open to all, those of the supercar manufacturers are surrounded by glass barriers and entrances are guarded by imposing security men.
Some brands, like Italy’s Pagani, make an effort for the vast majority of visitors who will never have the means to pay for such supercars by giving out posters.
“We sell cars but we give as a present dreams to car lovers all around the world,” says Luca Venturi, spokesman for Pagani. “We are the kind of guys who used to have a Lamborghini Countach poster on the wall.”
The brand manufacturers the Huayra, a carbon-fibre Batmobile look-a-like whose interior is made of leather. The Huayra costs about HK$11.14 million before tax.
As for Bugatti, its Veyron may be bowing out but the brand owned by Volkswagen has no intention of leaving it without heirs.
Bugatti still holds the speed record for a production car at 431km/h, and its next vehicle “will be fascinating and even better than what you see here”, Brungs said.
“The car will come most probably next year.
“We love competition, and if someone tries to beat us, we’ll take this as a challenge, and we enjoy striking back.”