There is nothing quite like the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport. With 987 hp from its quad-turbocharged 8.0-liter W16 engine and a claimed top speed of 252 mph, it is not only the most powerful but also the fastest open-top production car in the world.

At least it was for a year or two. With the introduction of the drop-top Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse, the stakes have been raised again. Packing the same upgraded engine used by the Veyron Super Sport (the world’s fastest road car), this final incarnation of the modern-day Bugatti delivers an outrageous 1,183 hp and is said to reach 255 mph flat out in seventh gear.

With such statistics, it would be all too easy to dismiss the Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse as nothing but a four-wheeled irreverence. Who needs that much power and the ability to go that fast in a road-going convertible, anyway?

But as Bugatti test driver Pierre-Henri Raphanel explains, “The only people who don’t consider it worthy of the ‘ultimate car in the world’ tag are those who haven’t driven it. There are cars that can do some of what the Vitesse does for a fraction of the price, but there are none that can do all of what it does.”

The car’s 0-to-62-mph time is 0.1 second slower than the Grand Sport at 2.6 seconds, given its larger turbochargers and their added inertia. But once it hits maximum boost, no other street-legal car—save for its closed-roof Super Sport sibling—has a hope of staying in touch. The car’s official 0-to-124-mph time is 7.1 seconds, and 186 mph comes in just 16.0 seconds. Bugatti says it runs the quarter-mile in 10.0 seconds.

For the full 255-mph experience you need the roof and a separate key that triggers a range of aerodynamic adjustments, including closing off front diffusers for added stability and trimming the rear-wing angle from 16 degrees to 3 degrees to reduce drag. Carbon-ceramic discs measuring 15.7 inches in diameter up front and 15.0 inches at the rear knock off speed with great authority, and the pedal feel is superb. Bugatti says the Vitesse’s brakes generate a maximum 2.0 g, hauling it to standstill from 62 mph in just 103 feet. That means the car will run from 0 to 62 mph and back to 0 in just 5.9 seconds.

The new Bugatti’s dynamic limits are so high that we will not pretend that we came anywhere near approaching them. We can say that the Vitesse corners in a satisfyingly controlled fashion devoid of any on-the-knife-edge drama of some high-end supercars. There’s a small degree of initial lean on the entry to corners as the chassis loads up with lateral force. But from there on, the body remains resolutely flat.

At nearly $2.14 million at today’s exchange rates, the Vitesse’s price is every bit as breathtaking as the new Bugatti’s sheer performance. By comparison, the standard Grand Sport will set you back $1.77 million. The Veyron and the Veyron Super Sport coupe are officially sold out, and 69 of the 150 Grand Sport and Grand Sport Vitesse models are spoken for. Apparently the Vitesse not only is astonishing in ability, but those in the know also see it as a solid investment—and a very fast one at that.

ON SALE: Now

Miller Motor Cars
342 West Putnam Avenue, Greenwich, CT 06830

Phone: (203) 629-3890

BASE PRICE: $2.14 million (est)

DRIVETRAIN: 8.0-liter, 1,183-hp, 1,106-lb-ft W16; AWD, seven-speed automatic

CURB WEIGHT: 4,378 lb

0-62 MPH: 2.6 sec (mfr)

FUEL ECONOMY (EPA): N/A