The Bugatti Veyron, which has been riddled with problems since its inception, has recently achieved a top speed of 400 km/h and put parent company Volkswagen's plans for a 2005 release back within reach.

The Bugatti Veyron, which has been riddled with problems since its inception, has recently achieved a top speed of 400 km/h and put parent company Volkswagen's plans for a 2005 release back within reach.

The 8,0-litre W16-powered supercar's development has been stunted by several delays that have stretched its release from April 2003 to September 2005. The most recent delays were attributed to the car's high-speed stability and it was rumoured that the car's top speed would be slashed to 350 km/h.

However, during recent tests on the high speed section of the Volkswagen test circuit at Ehre-Lessien, the Veyron realised 400 km/h-plus - a figure that was confirmed by the German Homologation Authority. The car managed to reach and maintain this speed several times, as is required by official measuring procedures.

Hailed as the world's fastest road car, the ambitious Veyron project was first unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show as the EB16-4 concept where it seemed unlikely that the car would ever make it into production. The car's 8,0-litre 64-valve engine develops 736 kW of power and peak torque of 1 250 N.m with the aid of four turbochargers.

A seven-speed sequential gearbox was developed specifically for the EB16-4 Veyron with gear changes effected by paddles situated behind the steering wheel. Its double clutch transmission (DCT) shifts from one gear to the next in two tenths of a second. The car has a permanent all-wheel drive system.

Earlier, head of Volkswagen AG Thomas Bscher said a maximum of 300 cars would be assembled at the firm's French factory.

Original article from Car