The lunar lander of cars.
One of the great paradoxes of the universe is that the only thing that never changes is the fact that everything is always changing. In the last ten years, you probably stopped using Axe body spray, friends you used to think were cool are now out of your life, and your bucket list likely collected a few check marks. The parts that you really remember are the instances that changed your life forever, but here at CarBuzz, we like to apply that thinking to the cars that changed the auto industry.
In the beginning, performance cars were for people who lived on the fringes. These early supercars were hard to handle and harshly punished timid drivers that weren’t precise to the millimeter. But supercars didn’t want to remain sadistic killers forever. After all, the people who can afford them usually aren’t the best drivers and supercar manufacturers didn’t want to bite the hands that fed them. In modern times, it wasn’t enough just to go fast, cars had to preserve the lives of their drivers but still have an untamed feel while delivering eye-opening performance. Supercars like the Ferrari Enzo proved that you could be faster than the unmanageable Porsche Carrera GT without being a death sentence.
In fact, Jeremy Clarkson even told his Top Gear audience that the Enzo showcases how supercars are approaching an era of perfection. If an Enzo was able to approach perfection, then it took a new class of car to achieve it. The Bugatti Veyron was an instant game changer for this reason. The car was so extreme in terms of performance, power, price, and driving accessibility that it spawned a new class of car; the hypercar. It wasn’t just the car’s mechanical excess that made it great, it’s the fact that over-engineering enabled the car to hit even the most ludicrous of speeds while being perfectly comfortable munching miles of highway or city tarmac. It was a true lady in the streets but freak on the track.
The combination of physics-bending performance and supple drivability marked a new epoch for cars. The Veyron pushed the benchmark so high that it inspired other automakers to achieve the level of perfection that Bugatti proved was possible. Biting at Bugatti’s heels was Ferrari, McLaren, and a slew of other horsepower-endowed cars that followed. They came with exploitable computer-designed chassis that enabled skilled drivers to practice their art while having computers nanny the newbie racers. Computer controlled launches, ultra-high horsepower figures, and stability control systems that kept drivers on the knife’s edge were all refined to near perfection following the Veyron's technology leap.
The Bugatti Veyron’s 2005 release paved the road for ultimate speed for the next decade. Without it, one could argue that cars like the Koenigsegg Regera and the hypercar trinity would not be the game changers they are today. The old Bug stands as the launch pad for hypercars, and hopefully its highly-anticipated successor, the Chiron, will play the same role.