Thursday, March 3, 2011

SSC Ultimate Aero vs Bugatti Veyron - Part 1: Performance

            Since the SSC Ultimate Aero has been revealed it has been compared to the Bugatti Veyron. Unfortunately the SSC has had constant bashing using very little facts to base the arguments on. So how do they compare when you truly look at how they are designed and made and what they have accomplished?

            Before you get into this, know what I am comparing. The Ultimate Aero in question is the 2007 model that makes 1183hp. The Veyron is the standard 1001hp model. Yes, there is the faster Veyron Super Sport model, but there is also a faster Ultimate Aero model(2009-2010). Those will be compared in a future post.
SSC Ultimate Aero
Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport

            Performance is the main reason the two cars have ever been compared in the first place. Both are 250+mph hypercars with sub-11 second quarter mile times. But how do they really compare?
I will start off with acceleration. Acceleration seems easy enough to list some stats and compare. But that is leaving out vital information on what the data means. So first the data. The Veyron has a claim of taking only 2.6 seconds to reach 60mph. That is blistering acceleration. The Aero takes 2.78 seconds, not quite as fast but still insane. So here is the analysis of the data: 0-60 is almost a useless test. It merely shows the starting grip of the tires. In order to show complete performance of tires, engine, and weight the quarter mile is used. It is a much more accurate and realistic test as it does not just test power/grip but power/weight and some power/drag. In this case the Veyron gets there in 10.2(Car & Driver) seconds and the Aero completes it in 9.9 seconds. The Aero maxes at 144mph and the Veyron at 140. So why is this test more important? In a race around a circuit only once are you ever at a dead stop: the start. The next 30 laps or so you hardly ever get below 50mph, so an acceleration test between 50 and 150mph is more appropriate. Using the 0-60mph time you can see that the Ultimate Aero is much faster from 60-140mph, meaning on the back straight of a circuit the Aero will gain several car lengths on the Veyron. Since both these cars are capable of 250mph they have much more left in them after the quarter mile ends. A zero to 200mph test is great, or a standing mile. The problem is both cars are very expensive and rare and few tests like this have taken place. For comparison though, SSC claims they hit 205mph in 1 Kilometer, or about 0.62 miles. In the standing mile the Veyron hit 204.4mph(Road & Track - Speed Kings)
2009 Ultimate Aero

Veyron drifting on a dry lake bed
There is a lot of "Anti-Americanism" in the car industry. One of the long standing stereotypes is that American performance cars have bad handling. This came about in the 1960s and 70s when Muscle cars were designed for drag racing as opposed to track racing as drag racing was more popular here. After all these years Americans have greatly advanced for the world market but the stereotype is as strong as ever. The Ultimate Aero has received a lot of this stereotype as SSC is an American company. Contrary to popular belief, the Aero can turn. Simple skid pad shows the Veyron at 0.94g(Road & Track, Feb. 07) while the Aero pulls a massive 1.05g(SSC). Slalom is an interesting test. While the skidpad tests what peak g-forces a car can withstand for a constand turn, slalom tests a cars agility, how quickly it can change direction from left to right and right to left. The Veyron goes through the slalom in 68mph(Road & Track). The Aero did the same test in 73.1mph(Road & Track), smoking the Veyron. Keep in mind the Aero is 82.7 inches wide, 4 inches wider than the Veyron, giving the SSC a disadvantage as wider cars have to make wider turns in the slalom test. In addition the Ultimate Aero was a prototype during the test with many bugs and a supercharged engine making only 1046hp. Since then the handling has been vastly improved by new suspension set up and reduced weight. Imagine it’s time now.
Let’s first talk about design. The Bugatti was designed on form, the SSC on function. When it comes down to looks it is all opinion. This is an article on fact. Both cars are argued as the better looking. So for functionality. The Aero has a drag coefficient of .357 and a frontal area of 19 square feet. The Veyron has a Cd of .41 normally and a .36 in top speed mode with a 22.3 sq ft. FA. That gives the Aero a CdA of 6.783 and the Veyron a 9.143/8.028. What this means is with equal power in both cars the SSC will have a higher top speed. And when it comes to top speed you need to be aerodynamically stable. The 2007 Aero was stable up to 273mph. For 2009 it has been slightly redesigned front splitter that makes it even more stable. The Veyron is stable to mid 250mph. It is always a big help to back up your claims with tests.

           For top speed the Aero hit 257mph. The Veyron hit 253mph. When the Veyron did its top speed run it had a 5.5 mile straight on the Ehra Lessien test track. Leading into the straight was a 130mph turn. It was a perfectly level maintained test track. The Veyron used over 3.5 miles to accelerate. In comparison the Aero had only 2.5 miles to reach its max velocity on a two lane public highway that had an s-bend in the middle. The Aero was able to hit its top speed in less distance, in less perfect conditions. It demonstrated its high speed stability with the s-bend by navigating through it at 210mph. The Veyron has never accomplished such a feat. When the Aero reached the speed of 257mph it was still accelerating at a decent pace leaving room for another 10mph.
2007 Ultimate Aero in Washington for the World Record run
Bugatti Veyron Super Sport on the Ehra Lessien test track
The Ehra Lessien test track from the sky
Road & Track:
Car & Driver:


  1. Thx for this detailed comparison (part 1) between these supercars. I think both are outstanding but the numbers telling me the Aero is the one to beat.

    Those cars are too expensive to compare on a track. So we may only compare these numbers.
    I prefer the design of the Aero and it's only my point of view. But it's a fact that the SSC build on function will allways have the advantage over the Bugatti on higher speeds. The skidpad numbers of the SSC are awesome. No doubt that on a race track the Aero would destroy the Veyron completely. I think the SSC is the car to raise the bar and the Veyron is the one to show off in Monaco. ;)

    Greetings from Jürgen (Cologne/Germany)

    1. Why are they too expensive to race??? Aren't there car shows all over the world where both of these cars are featured?? I was at a car show in NYC and both cars were there. The reason they won't race is because Bugatti Veyron doesn't want to lose the title as "world's fastest car". They're afraid they might have to drop the price of the car if they lose to a car half the price.

  2. jerrod shelby (shelby super cars) in an unconfirmed story started out building ferrari f355 "replicars" using pontiac fiero chassis a true american entrepenuer he then build lamborghini diablo replicars powered by corvette engines on his own designed space frame chassis he made his own car on this same chassis with a supercharged c6r corvette racing engine which was basically an extremely aeordinamically refined lamborghini diablo replica with his own personal design cues so the largest auto manufacturer in the world volkswagen got beat out by an american in an aeordinamic diablo replicar with a badass american pushrod v8 engine thats one for the americans. and it is a better looking faster car with less expensive stuff to go wrong and look at him now tuatara

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