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The fastest cars in the world

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It took over a year, but Bugatti’s 304-mph record has finally lost its number one spot. There’s a new top-speed champion as of October 19, 2020, and a company few people have heard about has made it. The names SSC and Tuatara may not sound familiar to you now, but that won’t last long. Now that it snagged the speed crown from Bugatti, odds are you’ll hear a lot more about this Washington-based firm and the record-breaking machines it designs and builds.

Speculators contend that the Chiron can achieve higher speeds, and test Pilot Andy Wallace confirmed this after driving. Despite its contender’s bold statements, Bugatti has declared that it is no longer interested in regaining the title for the fastest car. While Bugatti may be out of the race, Koenigsegg, a brand out of Sweden, will give the Chiron worthy competition. It confirmed the Jesko Absolute is the fastest car it will ever build, though it hasn’t had the chance to test it on the track yet. Although 330 mph is theoretically possible, finding a road long enough to test it on is easier said than done.

Until then, these are the fastest production cars in the world. The emphasis here is on the word “production” — dragsters, rally cars, and one-off custom jobs need not apply. We’ve also tried to limit our selection to those with claimed top speeds recognized as legitimate by automotive media and sanctioning groups.

Further reading

Until then, these are the fastest production cars in the world. The emphasis here is on the word “production” — dragsters, rally cars, and one-off custom jobs need not apply. We’ve also tried to limit our selection to those with claimed top speeds recognized as legitimate by automotive media and sanctioning groups.

At a glance

Model Speed
SSC Tuatara 316mph
Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ 304mph
Hennessey Venom F5 301mph (claimed)
Koenigsegg Agera RS 278mph
Hennessey Venom GT 270mph
Bugatti Veyron Super Sport 268mph
Rimac Concept Two 258mph (claimed)
SSC Ultimate Aero 256mph
Aston Martin Valkyrie 250mph (claimed)
McLaren Speedtail 250mph (claimed)
Tesla Roadster 250mph (claimed)
Milan Red 249mph (claimed)
Saleen S7 Twin Turbo  248mph
Koenigsegg CCR  242mph
McLaren F1  241mph
Pagani Huayra BC  238mph

1. SSC Tuatara (316mph)

SSC Tuatara
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Founded in 1998, Washington-based SSC is the current top-speed record holder. Test driver Oliver Webb averaged a Guinness-certified 316.11 mph on a closed stretch of State Route 160 in rural Nevada. He reached 301.07 mph during his first run, and he maxed out at 331.15 mph on the way back; his record was obtained by averaging the two. What’s even more impressive is that the Tuatara was fitted with street tires, and it wasn’t burning race fuel.

Power for the world’s fastest car comes from a twin-turbocharged, 5.9-liter V8 that develops 1,750 horsepower when it’s burning E85, or 1,350 horsepower when it slurps 91-octane fuel. It tips the scale at approximately 2,750 pounds.

2. Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ (304mph)

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The second-fastest car in the world is the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+. Intrepid British driver Andy Wallace famously reached 304mph behind the wheel of this limited-edition model in August 2019, becoming the first person to cross the 300mph threshold in a production car. Many of Bugatti’s rivals talk about doing 300-plus; Instead of talking, the French carmaker went to the Ehra-Lessien test track in Germany, did it, and made it look easy.

“It’s pretty cool,” Wallace replied with a smile when Digital Trends asked him what 304mph feels like. The record-breaking car is a 1,600-horsepower, longtail evolution of the regular Chiron that will be built in limited numbers.

3. Hennessey Venom F5 (301mph, claimed)

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Hennessey made a name for itself when its Venom GT recorded a monumental but unofficial 270mph run in 2014. Boasting a claimed top speed of 301mph, the Venom F5 smashed the previous top speed figure by more than a school zone speed limit. To do so, Hennessey started with an all-new, 2,950-pound carbon fiber chassis (the Venom GT is based on the Lotus Exige), and bolted a 1,600hp, 7,4-liter, twin-turbo V8 to it. The results are absolutely astonishing, and the car can reportedly go from zero to 249 to zero mph in less than 30 seconds. Hennessey has yet to confirm its top speed with the Guinness Book of World Records, however, so the Chiron remains on top for the time being.

4. Koenigsegg Agera RS (278mph)

Koenigsegg Agera RS
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Koenigsegg held the top-speed record until Bugatti snatched the crown in August 2019 with the Chiron. To put the Agera RS to the test, it politely asked the Nevada Department of Transportation to close an 11-mile stretch of Route 160 between Las Vegas and Pahrump. On public roads, the 1,160hp Swedish supercar hit 284.55mph during its first run and 271.19mph during the second, which averages out to 277.9mph. Watch the run here.

5. Hennessey Venom GT (270mph)

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Hennessey recorded a 270.4mph run at the Kennedy Space Center in 2014, but only in one direction. To be considered legitimate, record attempts usually require one run in each direction. An average is then taken to account for wind conditions. And, because of its hand-built nature, there’s also some debate about whether the Venom GT qualifies as a production car. While its top speed is undoubtedly amazing, and it represents a remarkable achievement, the GT wasn’t recognized as the world’s fastest car by the Guinness Book of World Records.

6. Bugatti Veyron Super Sport (268mph)

Bugatti Veyron Super Sport and Grand Sport Vitesse at the Nurburgring
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When Volkswagen purchased the Bugatti brand from Romano Artioli, it had one goal: Build the fastest production car in the world. The original Veyron achieved it, and with a price tag of $1.7 million and a quad-turbocharged W16 engine producing 1,000hp, it also became one of the most impressive series-produced cars ever created.

Yet the Veyron was soon dethroned by the SSC Ultimate Aero, so Bugatti came back with the Veyron Super Sport. This Veyron-plus had 1,200hp, and numerous aerodynamic changes meant to help gain a few extra miles per hour.

With a top speed of 268mph recorded at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessein test track, the Veyron Super Sport was crowned the world’s second-fastest production car by Guinness. The related Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse is also the world’s fastest open-topped car, with a top speed of 254mph.

7. Rimac Concept Two (258mph, claimed)

Rimac Concept Two
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In 2016, Croatian firm Rimac Automobili got the world’s attention with the Concept One, an electric supercar so potent it nearly killed The Grand Tour’s Richard Hammond. At the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, the company unleashed an even faster successor: The Concept Two. An updated version of the car is due out in 2020.

Everything about the Concept Two is absurd. Rimac claims its four electric motors produce a combined 1,914hp and 1,696 lb.-ft. of torque, and that the Concept Two will do zero to 60mph in 1.85 seconds. That would make it the quickest-accelerating production car in the world — electric or otherwise. Top speed is a claimed 258mph, and Rimac claims the 120-kilowatt-hour battery pack will provide 404 miles of range on the European testing cycle.

No one will be able to verify these claims until 2020, however, which is when Rimac plans to start production. The company only plans to make 150 cars (including some for the U.S.), with pricing expected to be somewhere north of $1 million. But Rimac recently scored an investment from Porsche, so it’s possible the company’s technology will make it into (slightly) more affordable cars in the future.

8. SSC Ultimate Aero (256mph)

SSC Ultimate Aero
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Briefly, the might of Sweden-based Koenigsegg and the prestige of Bugatti were beaten by a company no one had ever heard of. For a moment, the SSC Ultimate Aero was the fastest production car in the world. It hit 256mph in 2007, beating the non-Super Sport version of the Veyron.

Helping it achieve that velocity is a 6.3-liter V8 twin-turbocharged to 1,287hp. There are no electronic driver aids to help control that power either, which creates a purer driving experience for those with talent, and a scenario for certain death for those without it.

9. Aston Martin Valkyrie (250mph, claimed)

Aston Martin Valkyrie
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Aston Martin teamed up with Red Bull Racing to develop the Valkyrie, a supercar that benefits from technology fine-tuned in the Formula 1 paddock. Though the final version hasn’t been released yet, we know it will use a mid-mounted, 6.5-liter V12 engine tuned to make 900hp. That’s an impressive stat on its own, but the 12-cylinder is part of a hybrid powertrain in this application. Aston predicts the Valkyrie’s total output will lie in the vicinity of 1,130hp, enough for a 250hp top speed. Check back to see if the production figure lives up to those predictions.

10. McLaren Speedtail (250mph, claimed)

McLaren Speedtail
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The limited-edition McLaren Speedtail is called BP23 internally, a name which stands for “bespoke project 2,” and also refers to the three-abreast seating arrangement. Like the sold-out P1, the Speedtail is powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain built around a V8 engine, although McLaren isn’t divulging additional technical details at this time. We know the system generates 1,035 horsepower, which is enough to send the Speedtail to a top speed of 250mph. That figure makes it the fastest McLaren road car ever. It’s capable of accelerating from zero to 186mph in 12.8 seconds.

Speedtail production will be limited to just 106 units — matching the total production run of the F1 — and all of them have already been sold despite a price tag pegged in the vicinity of $2.2 million. Deliveries will begin in 2020. There’s one major catch: the Speedtail isn’t street-legal in the United States. The roughly 30 examples earmarked for the American market will arrive under the Show and Display rule, which grants an exemption from safety and emissions regulations to models considered historically or technologically interesting. In exchange, they’re only allowed in to be, well, showed or displayed.

11. Tesla Roadster (250mph, claimed)

Tesla Roadster front view

The original Tesla Roadster was a sports car based on the Lotus Elise, and although its performance was certainly impressive, it’s better known for establishing Tesla as a legitimate player in the automotive world. The new Roadster, with its bona fide supercar levels of performance, is another thing altogether.

Revealed as a surprise at the end of the Tesla Semi unveiling, the second-generation Roadster features the most impressive spec sheet of any EV before it: zero to 60mph in 1.9 seconds, zero to 100mph in 4.2 seconds, and a claimed top speed of 250mph. While these numbers remain unconfirmed at this time, the Roadster’s 200kWh battery pack is absolutely massive and will undoubtedly push performance EVs to an entirely new level. The biggest battery you can get in a Model S or Model X is half that size, by the way.

In addition to the ridiculous acceleration and speed, Tesla founder Elon Musk claimed the Roadster will boast a range of 620 miles. Using computer simulations to obtain theoretical numbers is easy, however; we’ll see if Tesla can walk the walk when it starts production of the Roadster. It already delayed the model once.

12. Milan Red (249mph, claimed)

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Despite its name, the Milan Red hails not from Italy but from Austria. It’s made by newcomer Milan Automotive, looks like it was designed by aliens, and reportedly costs $2.3 million. But Milan does offer some compelling reasons to drop that much money3on a car from a company no one has heard of.

Named after the Red Kite, a large bird of prey, the Milan Red is powered by a 6.2-liter quad-turbocharged V8, which produces a claimed 1,307hp and 1,303 lb.-ft. of torque. Milan Automotive claims its creation will do zero to 62mph in 2.47 seconds, and reach a top speed of 249mph.

Currently, CEO Markus Fux runs the company, which is appropriate given the former driver raced in the International GT Open and ADAC GT Masters series. He won’t have to oversee a long production run, though, as Milan plans to make just 99 copies of the Red.

13. Saleen S7 Twin Turbo (248mph)

fastest cars in the world
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Among performance addicts, the Saleen S7 is a legend. There are several reasons for this — the exotic styling, insane performance, and incredible tuning potential, to name a few — but much of the vehicle’s appeal is actually historical. Produced from 2000 to 2009, the S7 was America’s first mid-engined supercar.

It wasn’t just the first in the U.S., though; it’s one of the best supercars ever made. Built on a lightweight chassis crafted from aluminum and steel, the vehicle featured a hulking 7.0-liter V8 that produced 550hp, allowing it to accelerate from zero to 60 in 3.3 seconds. About halfway through its life cycle, Saleen debuted the S7 Twin Turbo, which brought the car’s performance to near comical levels.

With 750hp on tap, the S7 could hit 60mph in just 2.8 seconds before smashing through the quarter-mile in 10.5 seconds. However, its most stunning statistic is its top speed of 248mph, making it one of the fastest cars ever put to pavement.

14. Koenigsegg CCR (242mph)

Koenigsegg CCR
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Swedish supercar builder Koenigsegg briefly held the “world’s fastest” title before being bested by the original Bugatti Veyron. Its CCR reached 242mph at Italy’s Nardo Ring in 2005.

The CCR was powered by a 4.7-liter V8 of the company’s own design, it used a carbon-fiber body, and it didn’t offer much in the way of electronic aids. But, despite its impressive statistics, the CCR’s moment in the spotlight was as brief as its claim on the world record. It was soon beat by Koenigsegg’s own CCX, and then by the current Agera.

15. McLaren F1 (241mph)

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The F1 is more than just a former world’s fastest car. With its carbon-fiber body, gold-lined engine bay, 6.1-liter BMW M V12, and center driver’s seat, it’s one of the coolest — and most expensive — cars ever made.

Years before it attempted to take on Ferrari and Porsche with the MP4-12C, McLaren was known only as a successful race team in Formula 1 and the defunct Can-Am series. Yet its first road car wasn’t exactly an amateur effort. It intended to make the F1 the ultimate road-going supercar. The company’s racing experience shaped the design with excellent results. The F1 even went on to a moderately successful racing career in its own right.

16. Pagani Huayra BC (238mph)

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Although it has taken over a year, Bugatti’s 304-mph record has finally lost its top spot on the speed charts. A new top-speed king was crowned on October 19, 2020, and an unknown company has taken the lead. You may not have heard the names SSC and Tuatara, but we promise that you’ll start hearing them soon. Since its recent victory, chances are, you’ll be introduced to this Washington-based firm and record-breaking machines in the coming months. 

Critics claim that the Chiron model can reach higher speeds, which test pilot Andy Wallace quickly confirmed. Even with its competitor’s audacious statements, Bugatti has stated that their company is not interested in trying to win back the title for the fastest car. Although Bugatti is out, the Swedish brand Koenigsegg is a fair match for the Chiron. Koenigsegg declared that their Jesko Absolute is the speediest vehicle they will ever design, despite the fact that it hasn’t hit the test track yet. 330 mph is theoretically possible, but finding a road long enough to test it is a challenging task. 

Until testing, these models remain the fastest production vehicles in the world. The emphasis here is on the word “production” — dragsters, rally cars, and one-off custom jobs do not apply. Keep in mind that we try to limit our picks to legitimate top speed models accepted by automotive media and sanctioning groups.

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Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
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