As and when the Volkswagen Group builds a successor to the Bugatti Veyron, it will have some big shoes to fill.
When it was originally launched back in 2005, the 987bhp (1,001hp) Veyron 16.4 became the fastest production car in the world, with a top speed of 253mph.
A few years later that record was broken by the Veyron Super Sport, which used a 1,184bhp (1,200hp) version of the 8.0-litre, quad-turbo W16 engine to 268mph.
According to a report by Autocar, son-of-Veyron will be even faster, with a top speed of 286mph targeted. The car would use an updated, near-1,500bhp version of the existing W16 engine, probably backed up by an electric hybrid system.
The hybrid drivetrain and direct fuel injection would improve fuel economy, while electric turbos would eliminate lag. A seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox would take drive to all four wheels.
All of this is perfectly feasible, but that 286mph top speed could cause problems. The Super Sport’s record top speed was right at the limit of tyre technology – customer cars were pegged back to 256mph to avoid destroying them. Though the new car would be considerably lighter, that target speed would really push the boundaries.
Autocar road test editor Matt Prior said: “Even though aerodynamic drag increases at the square of speed, if you up the power enough, it’s entirely feasible that Bugatti could find another 18mph for the taking in the Veyron’s successor.
“But we’re well into the realms of academia now. Making a road car that can do 286mph is one thing; making a road car do it on road tyres is rather more difficult.” Finding a long enough road would be another issue.
On the other hand, when VW’s engineers were handed the specs for the original Veyron, they said it couldn’t be done. So you never know.
No one high up in VW Group management has admitted that a Veyron replacement is on the cards, but Autocar spoke to sources within the company who said development is well underway.
If Veyron 2.0 does emerge, it will likely be some time in 2016. In the meantime, 15 Veyrons are still to be built, to complete the 450-car run.
The image above is an artist’s impression of the Veyron replacement, commissioned by Autocar