New Times Takes a $2.5 Million Bugatti Veyron Vitesse for a Spin (and a Burrito)

Categories: Upper Class
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Michael E. Miller
A Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse worth $2.5 million
"Have you ever wrecked one of these?" I ask as our burnt-orange Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse bursts onto the Julia Tuttle Causeway. Butch Leitzinger shakes his head. The mild-mannered man is Bugatti's official driver, but a better title would be "pilot." With a top speed of 260 mph, the Veyron is more turbojet than Toyota.

"I had one crazy Canadian who tried to," Leitzinger yells over the roar of the 1,200-horsepower engine just behind our heads. "We came up on a 180-degree turn against the mountain, and he steps on the brake and the car goes 'pop' " -- Leitzinger turns his hand sideways to show how the car skidded on the ice -- "And I think, OK, we're dead." Instead, the supersmart car righted itself just in time. I squeeze out a nervous grin.

Leitzinger and I are on a high-octane, two-hour test drive of the Vitesse -- at $2.5 million, the most expensive car in the world. As he steers us south onto I-95, my stomach puckers: after a quick demo, I'll be the one behind the wheel.

I do the math in my head. This beast would take me 70 years of work to buy. And that's if I didn't pay taxes. Or eat.

"Let me pull back a bit so I can show you the acceleration," Leitzinger says cheerily a few minutes later. "I'm taking it down to second gear and..."

Vrrroooom! The air seems to split in front of us. My head hits the cushion. My skin ripples back on my skull, and my eyes dilate with delight. Bath salts? Try a Bugatti.

Leitzinger exits onto the Rickenbacker Causeway and pulls over: My turn. Adjusting the mirrors, I'm doubtful New Times would cover a $2.5 million auto claim.

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Michael E. Miller
Leitzinger explains what's special about the Vitesse
I start by driving slowly -- or at least what feels slow. When a flashing road sign alerts me to slow down, I realize, Holy shit, I've been doing 75 mph in a 45 zone. "They had to make the speedometer bigger because at first, people didn't realize how fast they were going," Leitzinger says.

Then comes the intentional speeding. Using triggers on the side of the wheel, I tap the car down into second gear. For a moment, the Rickenbacker is as empty and inviting as the Autobahn. I gun it and life dissolves into a blur of color and light. By the time I reach the bend in the road a few seconds later, the speedometer has hit triple digits.

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On Fifth Street, a pearl-white Ferrari 458 Spider stops behind us and the driver screams for us to pull over. We duck into a gas station."What the hell is going on here, boys?" croaks the man, who turns out to be a 54-year-old insurance mogul named Eric Giglione. "This is the most beautiful fucking car I've ever seen. Is this your bad boy?" he asks me. When he hears I'm a journalist, he laughs. "I thought you were Justin Bieber."No doubt the Bugatti is a beautiful car, but hotter than the Ferrari ? No way, I have eyes and I don't even consider the 458 the most beautiful Ferrari just the same.

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