The fastest cars in the world. That’s a pretty bold claim to fame, but it seems that nearly every week, a ‘new’ manufacturer comes on to the scene trying to claim their glory and the coveted top-spot on the mph scale.
Surely, it’s just a question of loading up the engine with so much power, that it can’t possibly fail. Right? Or what about making it super lightweight and as slippery as a slippery thing at a grease convention? No?
The problem is that despite being almost invisible, and barely affecting our daily lives, air can be hard work, and the faster you go, the harder it gets. And then of course, things have a habit of getting … twitchy … when you start pushing over 200mph (I speak from experience), which means all that aero you want taking off to make the car slippery, is needed to make it stable. Catch-22 then.
For the record, we’re talking about road cars, not special one-offs, not land speed record holders, and definitely nothing other than traditional internal combustion with maybe a little hybridization where needed.
Fast is Subjective
It’s all very well saying “the fastest cars in the world”, so exactly what sort of ‘fast’ are we talking about? An old Group B rally car was ridiculously fast up to around 100mph, even more so when you’re skimming a tree-lined dirt track, but is it fast fast?
To make it easier, I want to concentrate on top speeds … anything under 200mph isn’t going to cut it in this group … all of these supercars are in the 200+ mph club.
Let’s get started!
Hennessey Venom F5
- Power: 1,600 bhp
- Torque: 1,300 lb-ft
- Engine: 7.6 liter twin-turbo V8
- Weight: 2,950 lbs
- Top speed: 301 – 311mph
- Price: $1,600,000 USD
God bless America and John Hennessey, for it’s his vision that’s putting the U.S. firmly on top of the speed map when it comes to road cars, this is America’s hypercar.
It’s first debut was at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in 2017, and it’s still yet to prove its dominance, so some of the speed numbers are modelled, and therefore theoretical. The intention was to break the 300mph mark, but latest reports are saying it could be as high as 311mph – you might as well strap yourself in to an aircraft!
With a coefficient of drag of just 0.33 from the all carbon fiber body, John Hennessey has the fastest car on earth tag firmly within his sights. Will it really do everything that Hennessey say it will? Watch this space.
SSC North America Tuatara
- Power: 1,750 bhp (E85 Flex Fuel) 1,350 bhp (regular 91 octane)
- Torque: n/a
- Engine: 5.9 liter twin-turbo V8
- Weight: 2,750 lbs
- Top speed: 300+ mph
- Price: n/a
You’d have to say that John Hennessey was probably fairly confident in what he had planned, until the Tuatara from SSC turned up; it’s 200 lbs lighter, makes more horsepower (even on regular gas) and more than that, they’ve tuned the aero to perfection – a coefficient of drag of just 0.279 – I can’t explain just how incredible that number is.
Although similar to the F5 in that it has full carbon fiber bodywork, it also uses a carbon cell / chassis setup, which probably accounts for the difference in weight against the F5. This car has been in the making for many years – first whispers surrounding it go back as far as 2011, but it’s really only been since 2017 that rumors / whispers or gossip was really confirmed.
1,750 horsepower, super lightweight, rear-wheel drive and slippier than a greased pig – the American dream.
Koenigsegg Agera RS
- Power: 1,360 bhp (E85) 1,160 (regular)
- Torque: 1,011 lb-ft
- Engine: 5.0 liter twin-turbo V8
- Weight: 3,075 lbs
- Top speed: 284.55 mph
- Price: $2,500,000 USD
While the boys from Hennessey and SSC are talking a good fight, Koenigsegg, the small car maker from Sweden is out there doing it, or at least his customers are. The Agera RS is a track-focused car, but all 25 of the production models are road legal.
In fact, despite being a track car, it’s surprisingly well mannered and well catered to – with an actual usable luggage compartment and removeable hardtop (that can be stowed on-board). Back in November of 2017, one of the Agera RS models set a number of records, all on a public highway near Las Vegas.
Fastest flying mile, fastest production car, fastest 0-249-0 time … this thing does it all. For the record, it averaged 277.87 mph across the two runs (one in either direction), it actually hit a top speed of 284.55 mph, the 0-249-0 time smashed the previous holder’s time (Chiron) down to 33.29 seconds. The original price was between $2.1 – $2.3 million, depending on the exact specification, but since it claimed the records, they’re now worth in the region of $2.5 million.
Hennessey Venom GT
- Power: 1,244 bhp
- Torque: 1,155 lb-ft
- Engine: 7.0 liter twin-turbo V8
- Weight: 2,743 lbs
- Top speed: 270.49 mph
- Price: $1,250,000 USD
That man John Hennessey may have a new trainset to play with (the Venom F5), but he’s no stranger to claiming the title to the world’s fastest car – the Venom GT took that record back in 2013, and then again in 2014 with a 270.49 mph run. It couldn’t be classed as the fastest production car because there wasn’t enough of them built.
You may be wondering what it is … it’s kind of like a smooshed-up hybrid of a Hennessey and a Lotus Exige, just a bit longer, fatter, wider and heavier. And of course, much faster. Essentially, Hennessey use the Exige chassis and lengthen it and widen it, with bespoke carbon fiber bodywork in the same style as the little Lotus, as someone that’s had extensive dealings with the Exige, I find it strange to hear the roar of the mighty V8 coming from it. But then I always did think that’s what it needed.
And that’s how the Venom GT came about – with John Hennessey wondering how quickly a wild a 1,000+ bhp Lotus Exige would kill you.
Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
- Power: 1,188 bhp
- Torque: 1,106 ft-lb
- Engine: 8.0 liter quad-turbo W16
- Weight: 4,052 lbs
- Top speed: 269.4 mph
- Price: $2,600,000 USD
Despite being a very heavy-weight contender at over 1,000 lbs heavier than some of the competition, the Veyron Super Sport could be the Daddy of this list. Yes, there are some faster cars out now, but the Veyron SS has been around for nearly a decade, and not only will it still outperform most cars, it does it with luxury and style – no skimped on, stripped out lightweight ‘race’ specials here.
If like me, you have trouble comprehending just how fast these cars are, the SS in particular, think on this: The McLaren F1 (further down the list) is considered as the one that really kicked off the 200+ mph club, so it’s no slouch.
The Veyron Super Sport will travel from 0-200-0 mph and then a quick sprint back to 60 mph in the same time that it takes the F1 to hit 0-200 mph. Here’s another fun fact – flat-out, the Veyron will drain its 100 liter gas tank in less than 8 minutes, or in around just over 30 miles.
- Power: 1,479 bhp
- Torque: 1,180 lb-ft
- Engine: 8.0 liter quad-turbo W16
- Weight: 4,398 lbs
- Top speed: 261 mph (limited)
- Price: $2,470,000 USD
Let’s address the elephant in the room first – top speed is limited to 261 mph. However, the factory did say they’d expect 289 mph without the limiters, and if they had the tires to safely do it. Essentially, it’s the same base engine as the Veyron, but with some heavy modifications, which accounts for the extra 291 horsepower.
There are some very impressive numbers associated with the Chiron; 249 mph comes up in 32.6 seconds, staggeringly, stopping it from that speed takes just 9.4 seconds. Or how about the fact that it will need 60,000 liters of air through the engine every minute, or that every single gram of rubber on the tire is subjected to 3,800Gs of force?
For a hypercar, the Chiron is surprisingly well-appointed – double-glazed windows, a cooled glove box, swathes of leather … and perhaps that’s why the average owner of a Chiron owns 64 cars, 3 jets, 3 helicopters and a yacht.
- Power: 1,120 bhp
- Torque: n/a
- Engine: 4.0 liter bi-turbo flat-6
- Weight: 2,923 lbs
- Top speed: 257.2 mph
- Price: $704,250 USD
This German pocket-rocket is very loosely based on the Porsche 911 997 GT3. Realistically, what you’re buying is a racing car that’s been made to work on the road – right down to the full roll cage, carbon fiber body and Makrolon Plexiglas side & rear windows.
This is the exact opposite of the Bugatti – stripped out, light weight, little refinement all combined with a generous portion of horsepower. The actual top speed is 254 mph, but one has been clocked at 257.2 mph – hardly dragging its feet, but in this company, it’s not blistering. With that said, it’s around a quarter of the price of some of the vehicles here – buy two and still save yourself some serious money.
This is fast, raw motoring with pin sharp handling and suspension that will knock your teeth out on anything less than flat roads – perfect for when you need to vent some aggression!
SSC North America Ultimate Aero
- Power: 1,287 bhp
- Torque: 1,094 ft-lb
- Engine: 6.4 liter twin-turbo V8
- Weight: 2,756 lbs
- Top speed: 256.18 mph
- Price: $438,000 USD
Cut-price speed, but it does come at a price – build quality is more … budget … rather than racecar, and there’s no electronic aids to help you keep control of the 250+ mph performance – no anti-lock brakes, no traction control systems … just your foot. Wow.
This was the ‘fastest production car’ between 2007 – 2010, until the Veyron Super Sport came along, and there’s been a number of different models, all with varying horsepower and configurations – supercharged, 6.2 liter, 6.3 liter, twin-turbo, 787 bhp, 1,185 bhp, 1,287 bhp … it seems to be a process of evolvement rather than one single model, but that’s no bad thing.
They’ve managed to keep the weight down to just 2,756 lbs, although there again, that has slowly come down to that over the course of a few years, but it’s partly thanks to the full carbon fiber body weighing in at under 130 lbs that’s really helped that figure along. A flat-floor with twin venturi underneath should help to keep the Ultimate Aero poking in the right direction when at speed, but … you’ve got to be brave.
- Power: 806 bhp
- Torque: 678 ft-lb
- Engine: 4.7 liter twin-supercharged V8
- Weight: 2,601 lbs
- Top speed: 245 mph
- Price: $650,000 USD
The Koenigsegg CCR was essentially an updated version of the CC8S, but it had an upgraded body design, bigger front splitter, rear wing, larger brakes … everything to help it manage the 240+ mph top speed with a bit more safety, and yet despite adding more aero, it still had a coefficient of drag of just 0.297.
It was produced in limited numbers – just 14 in total, and was only in production between 2004 to 2006, so didn’t have a long life. When it was first launched, it held the record for ‘The most powerful engine in a production car’ with 806 horsepower (how times have changed since then!), and went on to take the fastest car title with a 245 mph run on the Nardo track, although it’s thought that on a straight track, it would break the 250 mph barrier.
The Nardo facility is a banked circle, which means a constant steering input of around 30 degrees, which of course causes extra drag, slowing the vehicle down. Despite being a hardcore speed car, it still had 120 liters of luggage space – practical and fast!
- Power: 627 bhp
- Torque: 479 lb-ft
- Engine: 6.1 Liter normally-aspirated V12
- Weight: 2,509 lbs
- Top speed: 231 mph
- Price: $800,000 USD
This is the Granddaddy of all supercars, the car that really brought about the ‘no compromise’ ethos behind 200+ mph cars, the one that started it off. And what a way to start the movement.
The idea first came about back in 1988 – just over thirty years ago. Gordon Murray wanted to design an absolute no compromise supercar – he actually spent TEN hours briefing the designers and engineers at McLaren as to what he envisaged, and boy did they get it right.
From the outset, the car had to be the closest thing to a Formula 1 car as road rules allowed. There were no driver aids, no safety systems such as ABS, traction control, power steering, active damping, it didn’t even have servo assisted brakes – just huge discs that needed the strength of Superman to operate.
BMW created an engine specifically for the F1, a normally aspirated V12 that packed a 600+ horsepower punch. Such was the attention to detail with the F1, the engine bay was lined in 24 carat gold – as that was the best heat-reflectant. McLaren wanted to produce “the ultimate uncorrupted driving experience”.
Even today, the 2,509 lb weight is super-lightweight, at least two hundred pounds lighter than any competition, this really was the ultimate supercar, before they were even a thing.
- Power: 1,089 bhp
- Torque: 1,055 ft-lb
- Engine: 7.0 liter twincharged V8
- Weight: 3,721 lbs
- Top speed: 233 mph
- Price: $1,800,000 USD
The ST1 from Zenvo has had a troubled life. The small Danish manufacturer has had to come to the defense of the ST1 on more than one occasion, and strangely enough, it all seems to center around the British TV program ‘Top Gear’.
Sure, it’ll do 233 mph and is fitted with some luxury toys (electrically adjustable leather seats and what have you), but it’s not an all-out speed machine; it posted a slower lap time than a BMW M5 on the TG test track, but … it was wet which didn’t help. That was after it caught fire.
Zenvo wanted to produce something that wasn’t quite as hardcore as the competition, it had to be easy to drive, almost gentile, and with the capability of cracking 230 mph, which it did. Despite the teething problems, the test car racked up over 45,000 miles, which for a hypercar is galactic.
It’s pretty heavy compared to some of the competition – well over 3,500 lbs, but that twincharged motor (both supercharged and turbocharged) pumps out nearly 1,100 bhp, and similar torque figures, so it’s not lacking in that department.
- Power: 754 bhp
- Torque: 738 lb-ft
- Engine: 6.0 liter bi-turbo V12
- Weight: 2,976 lbs
- Top speed: 238 mph
- Price: $1,400,000 USD
The Huayra was the successor to the monster that was the Zonda – a super successful hypercar from Pagani. While there have been many different variants of the Huayra, the total number made (and all sold) was 100 – not a huge amount for regular production, but in this market, that’s almost Ford F-150 type of numbers.
It was named “Hypercar of the Year 2012”, and even today, it will still give some of the newer stuff a square run, even though it’s at the slower end of the market now – ‘just’ 238 mph. The beauty of the Huayra lays in the V12 engine that’s hand built by Mercedes-AMG – those fellows that have had the odd win or two in Formula 1.
Added to the V12 grunt is active aero. The designers say it has a coefficient of drag between 0.31 – 0.37 which means it’s pretty slippery – the less than 3,000 lb weight and 750+ horsepower is enough – it doesn’t need the 1200-odd horses of the competition.
Aston Martin ONE-77
- Power: 750 bhp
- Torque: 553 lb-ft
- Engine: 7.3 liter normally-aspirated V12
- Weight: 3,594 lbs
- Top speed: 220.007 mph
- Price: $1,550,000 USD
The ONE-77 represents Aston Martin at their finest. Sure, it’s only good for 220 mph, but remember that this is raw naturally aspirated V12 goodness, not some forced-induction bomb. Only 77 models were built, and although the initial pricetag (for the base model) was just over $1,500,000 USD, if you can find a used example for sale, you’re now looking closer to the $2 million mark.
The ONE-77 is a thing of beauty. The body is handcrafted aluminum – actually made by hand, just like they did in the olden days, and it sits atop a very modern carbon fiber monocoque chassis, which means helps to keep the weight down to just over 3,500 lbs.
Sure, a full carbon body would have made it lighter, but that’s missing the point – the ONE-77 isn’t meant to be a stripped out, lightweight racer – think of it as a very refined fast ‘GT’ car (Gran Tourer).
It’s clear that these hypercars are pushing the boundaries of what we may call fast – 300 mph from a road car is insane speed, but we all know that fossil-fuel is on its way out … will there ever be an electric powerplant that’s capable of beating the magical 300 mph target? Or are these the last of a dying breed?
It’s great to see that even today, there are a number of small car companies that believe we haven’t yet reached the peak of the internal combustion engine, horsepower, aerodynamics and speed. Some of these cars like the Hennessey are still being developed, so the top speed is theoretical, but even so, you can see that in a decade or two, the target has shifted considerably – 200, 225, 250, 275 and 300 mph … where will it end?