The world's fastest car

The buzz at L.A.'s annual Auto Show is all about the newest, fastest car in the world, Bugatti's Veyron 16.4.

The super sleek car has a 16-cylinder engine in a "W" layout with four turbos, giving 1001 horsepower running through a clutchless sequential 7-speed transmission. It has a launch control feature which allows the driver, when pressing the brake and gas at the same time, to make the most of the car's rocket-like propulsion and jet forward. It accelerates to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds and hits top speeds of 253 miles per hour.

"The aerodynamics of a car get puzzled over 200 mph. The challenge is to make it not to fly," said Victor Mullen, CEO and founder of Spyker, whose cars were displayed next to the Veyron.

(The informal title of fastest car was previously held by the McLaren F1.)

Many people will remain only admirers of the Veyron, with its exclusivity and price tag of $1.3 million. Bugatti plans to make only 300 of the cars over the next four years and buyers of the vehicle now will have to wait until 2007 before their car arrives. Bugatti officially displayed the Veyron for the first time ever in North America at this week's show.

So what goes into a $1.3 million car? It has a German motor, a French gearbox, Italian leather interior and all carbon fiber and aluminum frame from France. It's all wheel drive can power-shift in icy conditions, stopping sideways if need be. A spoiler even flips up like the back of an airplane wing for added braking power from high speeds. The gas pedal has electronic sensors so that it can detect the style of the driver, saving power if the car is being driven to the grocery store vs. racing on the Autobahn.

At the show, even novices can sense there's something special in the room. Veyron is surrounded by sleek glass barriers so the public and the media can't get too close, but they can look on as a hired hand dusts the carbon fiber and aluminum frame regularly.

"It's a very special car. I'm a great admirer," Mullen said.

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