“How fast can it go?”
There are many ways to measure automotive excellence, but top speed is the one everybody secretly cares about the most. Aldous Huxley was right about speed being the only truly modern sensation but he left out the part about how much fun it is.
These 25 cars are more than just fun — they’re the fastest production cars on the planet. The emphasis here is on “production” — racers and one-off custom jobs need not apply. We also tried to limit our selections for the fastest cars in the world to those with claimed top speeds that have been generally recognized as legitimate by the automotive media and sanctioning groups.
At a glance
|Hennessey Venom F5||301 mph (claimed)|
|Koenigsegg Agera RS||278 mph|
|Hennessey Venom GT||270 mph|
|Bugatti Veyron Super Sport||268 mph|
|Bugatti Chiron||261+ mph|
|SSC Ultimate Aero||256 mph|
|Aston Martin Valkyrie||250 mph (claimed)|
|Tesla Roadster||250 mph (claimed)|
|Saleen S7 Twin Turbo||248 mph|
|Koenigsegg CCR||242 mph|
|McLaren F1||241 mph|
|Pagani Huayra BC||238 mph|
|Zenvo ST1||233 mph|
|Noble M600||225 mph|
|Gumpert Apollo||225 mph|
|Lamborghini Veneno||221 mph|
|Aston Martin One-77||220 mph|
|Jaguar XJ220||217 mph|
|McLaren P1||217 mph|
|Ferrari LaFerrari||217 mph|
|Lamborghini Aventador S||217 mph|
|Ford GT||216 mph|
|McLaren 720S||212 mph|
|Ferrari 812 Superfast||211 mph|
|Porsche 918 Spyder||210 mph|
|Ferrari GTC4Lusso||208 mph|
|Bentley Continental Supersports||209 mph|
|Audi R8||205 mph|
Hennessey Venom F5 (301 mph, claimed)
In terms of top speed, Hennessey Performance Engineering is running roughshod over the competition. Hennessey’s Venom GT — which recorded a monumental, yet unofficial 270-mph run in 2014 — sat atop this list for some time, but three years later, Hennessey challenged the boundaries of physics yet again.
Boasting a claimed top speed of 301 mph, 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 1,600-hp, 7,4-liter, twin-turbo V8 to it. The results are absolutely astonishing, as the car can reportedly go from 0 to 249 to 0 mph in less than 30 seconds. Hennessey has yet to confirm its top speed with the Guinness Book of World Records, so the Koenigsegg Agera RS remains the official fastest car in the world … for now.
Koenigsegg Agera RS (278 mph)
The Koenigsegg Agera RS is officially the fastest car in the world, and yet it sits in the second position on our list. Why?
In terms of spec sheets, Hennessey’s Venom F5 is more impressive. Its claimed top speed of 301 mph obliterates everything else on this list by a significant margin, but Hennessey hasn’t verified its numbers yet. Koenigsegg has, so even though it gets the silver medal here, in the real world, the Agera RS is the true speed king.
To set the official record, Koenigsegg asked the Nevada Department of Transportation to close an 11-mile stretch of Route 160 between Las Vegas and Pahrump. On public roads, the 1,160-hp Swedish supercar hit 284.55 mph during its first run and 271.19 mph during the second, which averages out to 277.9 mph. Watch the run here.
Hennessey Venom GT (270 mph)
Hennessey recorded a 270.4-mph 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.
Because of its handbuilt nature, there’s also some debate about whether the Venom GT qualifies as a production car. While it’s top speed is undoubtedly amazing, Hennessey’s monster wasn’t recognized as the world’s fastest car by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Bugatti Veyron Super Sport (268 mph)
When Volkswagen purchased the Bugatti brand, it had one goal: Build the fastest production car in the world. The original Veyron achieved that goal, and with a price tag of $1.7 million and a quad-turbocharged W16 engine producing 1,000 hp, it also boasted the most superlatives of any production car.
Yet the Veyron was soon dethroned by the SSC Ultimate Aero, so Bugatti came back with the Veyron Super Sport. This Veyron-plus had 1,200 hp, and numerous aerodynamic changes meant to help gain a few extra miles per hour.
With a top speed of 268 mph recorded at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessein test track, the Veyron Super Sport was once recognized as 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 254 mph.
Bugatti Chiron (261+ mph)
The Bugatti Veyron was a monumental feat of engineering, a supercar whose performance was so marvelous that Top Gear presenter James May compared it to the automobile equivalent of the Concorde airplane. The Chiron has now taken the torch from the Veyron.
Named for a legendary centaur in Greek mythology, the Chiron is intended to improve upon the Veyron in every way. Hitting 261 mph using street-legal settings, the 1500-hp Chiron is like a beast in chains. On the racetrack, Bugatti aims to break those chains, as well as the current speed record. For now, its top speed remains a mystery to the public. Although the Chiron is built like a race car, one needn’t be a professional to operate it — the car is engineered to automatically adjust its machinery as the speed increases or decreases, ensuring optimal performance.
The Chiron isn’t a mere speedster but a comprehensive luxury vehicle as well. In addition to a beautiful leather interior, the car also sports a decadent sound system, with a diamond diaphragm inside each speaker. The dashboard features high-resolution digital displays that will adjust as the car’s speed changes, showing only crucial information at higher speeds. The Chiron looks to be a king among supercars, which is fitting, as kings will be among the few to obtain one. Bugatti will end production after making the 500th example. Each one costs close to $3 million.
SSC Ultimate Aero (256 mph)
Briefly, the might of the Volkswagen Group and the prestige of the Bugatti name were bested by a car company no one had ever heard of.
Shelby SuperCars (SSC) has nothing to do with Carroll Shelby of Cobra fame, but for a moment, its Ultimate Aero was the fastest production car in the world. It hit 256 mph in 2007, beating the non-Super Sport version of the Veyron.
Helping it achieve that velocity is a 6.3-liter twin-turbocharged V8 with 1,287 hp. 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.
Aston Martin Valkyrie (250 mph, claimed)
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 900 hp. 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 1,130 hp, enough for a 250-hp top speed. Check back to see if the production figure lives up to those predictions.
Tesla Roadster (250 mph, claimed)
The original Tesla Roadster was a sports car based on the Lotus Elise, and although its performance was certainly impressive, it’s more 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: 0 to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds, 0 to 100 mph in 4.2 seconds, and a claimed top speed of 250 mph. 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 claims the Roadster will boast a range of 620 miles. We’ll see if Tesla can walk the walk when it starts production of the Roadster.
Saleen S7 Twin Turbo (248 mph)
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 550 hp, allowing it to accelerate from 0 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 750 hp on tap, the S7 could hit 60 mph 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 248 mph, making it one of the fastest cars ever put to pavement.
Koenigsegg CCR (242 mph)
Swedish supercar builder Koenigsegg briefly held the “world’s fastest” title before being bested by the original Bugatti Veyron. Its CCR reached 242 mph at Italy’s Nardo Ring in 2005.
The CCR was essentially an earlier generation of the cars Koenigsegg is building today. It featured a 4.7-liter V8 of the company’s own design, a carbon-fiber body, and not 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.
McLaren F1 (241 mph)
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 just might be the coolest car 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.
McLaren intended to make the F1 the ultimate road-going supercar, but its design was informed by the company’s racing experience. The F1 even went on to a fairly successful racing career in its own right, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995.
Pagani Huayra BC (238 mph)
No sane person would ever call the Pagani Huayra tame. With an AMG-sourced biturbo V12 pushing less than 3,000 pounds, the Italian dynamo is the definition of a beast. The formula can always be improved, though, and at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, Pagani proved it by debuting the Huayra BC.
Lighter and more powerful than the standard Huayra, the BC’s engine was massaged to produce 789 hp, while total curb weight was slashed down to a paltry 2,645 lbs. That’s effectively the same weight as the latest Honda Civic Coupe with five times the power. It should come as no surprise that the BC’s top speed is rated at a ridiculous 238 mph.
Zenvo ST1 (233 mph)
One of the only performance cars to come out of Denmark is also one of the fastest motorcars ever built. Assembled on the island of Zealand, the Zenvo ST1 exhibits the height of Danish engineering prowess, as the car combines a 6.8-liter V8 with both a supercharger and a turbocharger to create 1,104 hp and 1,054 lb-ft of torque. All of that power goes straight to the rear wheels, making the ST1 a handful for anyone outside of the professional racing scene. If you can get the tires locked up, though, the bullish coupe will shock you with raw ability.
The ST1 is capable of reaching 233 mph given enough road, but it’s important to note its top speed is electronically limited. Without the digital nannies on board, we suspect the ST1 would be even faster in the top end, which is a scary thought indeed. No one has been brave enough to try.
Noble M600 (225 mph)
When we think of British supercars, our minds usually turn to brands like McLaren, Aston Martin, and Jaguar, but there’s another carmaker that definitely deserves mentioning: Noble Automotive.
Noble rolled onto the scene in 1999, and has since carved out a small slice of automotive history by releasing several low-volume supercars. The most notable of the lot is the M600, which seemingly came out of nowhere in 2009 when it smashed the Bugatti Veyron’s time around the Top Gear test track. The car proved incredibly difficult to drive, as it had very few electronic driver aids onboard, but its performance spoke for itself — 650 hp, 0 to 60 in 3.0 seconds, and a top speed of 225 mph.
The Noble may not have the bedroom poster looks of a Lamborghini, but clearly, the burly Brit has it where it counts. The brand has since launched a beautiful CarbonSport version with an exposed carbon fiber body, as well as a convertible Speedster model.