How much is too much? The question resonated through the summer of 2013, when Bugatti – the boutique French builder of impossibly advanced, improbably pretty sports cars – introduced the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse World Record (above), its raciest dress package for the world’s quickest topless production car. Recent group acquisition Ducati is the only brand within the VW firmament that builds anything that approximates the open-air hysterics and profligate, petrol-vaporising potency of the Veyron. The 1199 Panigale R is, quite simply, the quickest version* of perhaps the quickest bike currently manufactured, a machine that would leave even a mighty Veyron for dead in the curves. Plutocrats needn’t liquidate their Swiss bank holdings for the privilege of owning one, either. Builds start at $31,000 in the US.
*(Ducati offered the 1199 Superleggera, a $65,000 whim that could out-accelerate a Panigale R, to 500 customers in 2013-14. It sold out.)