One of the highlights of this weekend’s event at Pebble Beach was the debut of the new Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport, the convertible version of the Veyron. The Grand Sport features slightly higher windscreen, stylized daytime running lights, and lightweight, transparent polycarbonate roof. As you’d expect in a high-performance car, the main challenge resulted from the unique structure of the fixed-roof Bugatti Veyron. As the roof is an integral part of this, removing it meant the load paths had to be completely redesigned to maintain the vehicle’s rigidity and crash safety, and to offer additional protection from side impacts and rolling. As a result, the monocoque structure has been reinforced around the side skirts and the transmission tunnel. The B-pillars have been cross-stiffened using a carbon fibre support, and a central carbon plate has been positioned beneath the transmission tunnel to ensure the vehicle suffers from less torsional flexing than any other roadster.
The doors of the new Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport are made of carbon fibre, and house an integrated longitudinal beam. In the event of an accident, this transfers the load from the A to the B-pillar, thereby dissipating impact energy. Furthermore, the two redesigned air intakes for the 16-cylinder mid-engine now feature 10-centimetre wide carbon-fibre elements to offer protection should the car roll.
When the roof is closed, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport can reach 407 km/h, while speeds of up to 360 km/h are possible with roof off. In case rain starts, a folding roof stored in the luggage compartment can be opened up like an umbrella at any time. When this folding roof is in place, the car can travel at up to 130 km/h.
The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport will be available from March 2009 at the price of 1.4 million euros (excluding tax). Just 150 examples will be made, with the first 50 of these going exclusively to registered Bugatti customers, while this first unit will go to the highest bidder at the Pebble Beach charity auction presented by Gooding & Company.
Check out a full photo gallery after the jump.
Photo Gallery: Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport