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Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse: Priciest car we've ever driven (CNET On Cars, Episode 19)

Bugatti's open-top Veyron holds a speed record and just about everyone's stare; Cooley's Top 5 cars of 2013 (so far); AWD systems explained; and a look at BMW M3s, then and now.

Now playing: Watch this: Episode 19, Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse: Priciest...


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Well, I don't know what to say about the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse that hasn't already been said. Add to that the fact that we only had access to it on public streets with moderate speed limits and you can see I was in a pickle. So I chose to seek out the essence of the car and tell some of its less-told stories. I hope you find it at least something of a departure from the usual fawning and drooling over its top speed and horsepower.

2013 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse

I should also point out that, upon reflection, it was not the most interesting car I have driven. The Porsche 911 GTS, Cayman R, Audi R S5, and Nissan GT-R all come to mind as more exciting cars to drive on the street. The Veyron clearly needs track time -- or time parked in front of the casino -- to warrant its $2.25 million price. At the speeds most of us drive, it felt a lot like a $70,000 BMW or Lexus -- except for those noises! What a wonderful assortment of unexpected, guttural sounds come from the engine well.

Head-on collisions are grisly enough, but when they are just slightly head-on they are almost worse. This week in the Smarter Driver we'll show you the nasty effects of a small-overlap frontal collision and how new testing shows a lot of cars are lousy at surviving them.

Few areas of car tech innovation have so much proprietary tech in them as all-wheel-drive systems. In Car Tech 101 this time we give you a solid overview of all-wheel drive, how it differs from four-wheel drive, and why it's about a lot more than just getting out of the snow.

The Xcar guys take us on a trip down memory lane -- at high speed -- with a look at the first BMW M3 and the latest BMW M3. I think you'll find it enlightening which one Alex Goy picks as his favorite and why.

As always, e-mail me your thoughts, suggestions, and comments.