There are many ways to judge how fast a car is. Acceleration is important; being able to jump from zero to 60 mph quickly is probably the most realistic performance benchmark, since we’re actually able to drive 60 mph on most highways.
But there’s no better ultimate ranking factor than top speed – the most unrealistic, no holds barred, balls-to-the-wall stat a car can have. Even though we’ll probably never be able to actually achieve these speeds, top speed is the one that deserves the most bragging rights. It takes huge amounts of engineering genius to produce hunks of metal (and carbon fiber) that can safely propel themselves this quickly down a strip of pavement without falling apart.
So here we are, the list of the top 10 fastest production cars in the world, ranked by top speed. All the cars you would expect are on the list, ranked from fastest to slowest (though calling any of these cars slow is blasphemy.)
We start the list with the king of fast:
Koenigsegg Agera RS
Top Speed: 277.87 mph Power: 1,341 hp
Just try and tell me that’s not one mean looking car.
The Koenigsegg Agera RS is a hybrid of sorts (no, not that kind of hybrid). It’s an Agera R at heart, with some of the advanced tech of the One:1, and some of the Agera S sprinkled in for good measure.
There were only 25 examples of the Agera RS produced. Powered by a 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8, the “normal” Agera RS only produces 1,160 hp (on regular pump gasoline, mind you), but 11 lucky owners are able to (theoretically) hit this top speed due to checking the “1MW” special package when ordering theirs, which increases the ponies to 1,341.
Koenigsegg said goodbye to the Agera in mid-2018 with the final two examples of the car, named Thor and Väder.
Hennessey Venom GT
Top Speed: 270.49 mph Power: 1,244 hp
This supercar from Texas-based car tuner-made-manufacturer Hennessey is an impressive machine, to say the least. Sporting a twin-turbo 7.0-liter V8 producing a massive 1,244 hp, the Venom GT beat a world record set by the Koenigsegg Agera R as being the fastest accelerating production car in the world when it did a run from 0-300 km/h in 13.63 seconds.
That’s crazy fast. Not to be outdone by the French, Hennessey’s Venom GT broke the Veyron’s top speed at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida back in early 2014.
This beast can go 0-100 mph in 5.6 seconds (a world record), and 200 mph from a stop in only 14.51 seconds (also a world record). Hennessey also claims the Venom GT can reach a top speed of 278 mph if given a bit more room to do it. Let’s hope they find a track long enough.
Top Speed: 261 mph Power: 1,479 hp
Bugatti, never one to back down from a top speed fight, built the Chiron as a successor to the already world-record-breaking Veyron Super Sport (below). The Chiron carries over the same 8.0-liter quad-turbocharged W16 engine as the Veyron, but modified to produce (quite a bit) more power and a smoother power band.
But here’s the really interesting part. The top speed of the Bugatti Chiron – 261 mph – is electronically limited due to safety limitations. Simply put, nobody’s built a tire that can handle speeds in excess of 280 mph. Michelin says they’re working on it, but until tire tech can catch up, don’t expect top speeds to go much past 280 mph.
So, how fast can the Chiron go? Nobody knows for sure (or dares to try), but the speedometer goes up to 500 km/h (about 311 mph). Since the much less powerful Veyron SS below hit over 268 mph with the speed limiter removed, we’re going to just fudge it a little bit and pretend the Chiron is officially faster (because we can, that’s why!)
Think Bugatti’s just sitting around waiting? Think again; they recently revealed the Chiron Sport, and it’s even better. Let’s hope they do the next top speed run with this bad boy.
Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
Top Speed: 267.81 mph Power: 1,200 hp
Not to let SSC’s Ultimate Aero supercar keep Bugatti in second place for long, the French supercar company slapped bigger turbos and intercoolers on their previous world-record-holding Veyron to produce a seriously impressive 1,200 horsepower. The Veyron SS still houses the same 8.0-liter quad-turbocharged W16 engine, but now produces 200 more horsepower.
To handle the extra speed and power, Bugatti also had to revise the chassis and suspension. Only 30 Veyron Super Sport models were produced. Electronically limited to 258 mph for the production cars, Guinness World Records went ahead and said even though the speed limiter was removed, the top speed was still valid.
I just wish they would have let the Chiron above do the same.
SSC Ultimate Aero TT
Top Speed: 256.18 mph Power: 1,183 hp
Boutique supercar maker Shelby Super Cars (SSC) unleashed the Ultimate Aero in 2007, destroying the more expensive Bugatti Veyron’s top speed record. The car in question was a 2007 model – since then, SSC has upgraded the Aero to include an all-new twin-turbo V8 engine, producing 1,287 hp, giving the car a theoretical top speed of 290 mph.
Nope, that’s not a typo. It’s also theoretical.
SSC says given a long enough road, they could get the car up to 270 mph. That would break the Veyron’s record again, so let’s see if they ever get around to it.
Top Speed: 249 mph Power: 1,004 hp
The Koenigsegg CCXR is a more “eco-friendly” version of the CCX. Powered by the same 4.7-liter twin-supercharged V8 engine as the CCX, the engine was modified to run on E85 gasoline, bringing the power output up from 795 to a whopping 1,004 hp.
Although the Koenigsegg CCR broke the top speed record in 2005 on a totally unfair circular track, the updated CCXR has a better engine, aerodynamics, and, well, pretty much everything else. I’d love to see the Swedish company get this out on the VW test track, which is the same track on which the Veyron was tested (and a straight line, not a circle.)
We’re glad to see our favorite Swedish car brand (sorry Volvo!) taking up two spots on this list.
Saleen S7 Twin-Turbo
Top Speed: 248 mph Power: 750 hp
Saleen’s first car not based on an existing model, the S7 supercar grabbed a lot of attention when it was released in 2000. An updated Twin-Turbo model followed shortly afterward, providing 750 hp and a 248 mph top speed. Saleen offers a competition package increasing power to 1000 hp, which brings the top speed up to a rumored 260 mph.
Interest has dropped for the S7, but if they can come back and claim a top speed close to Bugatti and SSC, we might see some more of Saleen’s supercar in the future.
The McLaren F1 was first produced in 1993, and it’s still one of the fastest cars in the world. It also happens to be the first car on this list I would purchase if I had the cash. Produced from 1993 to 1998, the F1 still sells for well over $1 million each, and I have a feeling it will only appreciate over the years.
The amount of “firsts” that McLaren introduced to road cars via the F1 is far too long to list in this article, but suffice it to say, the British company blew everyone else out of water at the time, and it’s still one of the most sought-after cars in the world. With only 64 versions of the road car ever made, only a lucky few will ever have the honor of owning (or even driving) one.
This is a timeless car and will remain on the all-time greatest car lists for decades to come. Even though it’s no longer the fastest production car in the world, it’s still the fastest naturally-aspirated road car in the world, sporting a special BMW-sourced 6.1-liter V12 (surrounded by freaking gold, BTW) capable of biting your head off…allegedly.
Top Speed: 238 mph Power: 720 hp
The Pagani Zonda, even since I first laid eyes on it, has been one of my favorite cars of all time. Now, while I’m not a huge fan of the Huayra’s styling (or name) when compared to the Zonda, I have to admit it’s a helluva car.
720 hp from the Huayra’s AMG-sourced 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 engine, mated to a seven-speed single-clutch sequential gearbox lets the car hit 60 mph from a stop in only 2.8 seconds, up to a top speed of 238 mph.
Top Speed: 221 mph Power: 651 hp
Another one of the few naturally-aspirated cars on this list, the Ferrari Enzo is powered by a 6.0-liter V12 producing 651 hp. Only 399 Enzos were built for sale, and as usual, all were sold to existing customers (via invitation) before anyone else even heard about the car. There was one more Enzo built – #400 – and donated to the Vatican for charity.
Interestingly, the Enzo’s successor – the LaFerrari – is only able to hit an approximately similar top speed despite begin significantly more powerful. What it is, however, is much quicker; we’re talking 0-62 mph times of 2.4 seconds, compared to the Enzo’s 3.2 (which is still ridiculously fast).
Pushed off the Top 10 List
How Top Speed is Calculated
Considering how coveted the “Fastest Car in the World” title is, it’s no surprise that there’s a pretty rigorous process involved to get that title, at least if you want it to be official.
The de facto “list” for the fastest car is from Guinness World Records, which has some specific requirements in place to be considered:
First, the test needs to be witnessed by an independent third party. This is pretty obvious.
Next, the car makes its first run, at whatever location is chosen for the test. Preferably somewhere with a super long, flat road, such as VW’s private Ehra-Lessien test track in Northern Germany. This track has an uninterrupted straight for 9 km (5.6 miles), which is so long you can’t see one end of the track from the other due to the curvature of the Earth!
Then, the car makes another top speed speed run in the opposite direction, because there may be some differences in weather, elevation, or other factors that could alter the measurements in one direction or the other.
The average of the two runs is used. For example, if a car hits 220.7 mph in one direction and 219.1 mph in the other, the top speed recorded is 219.9.
But What About [Insert Car Here]?
There could be several reasons your favorite car isn’t on this list. Here are a few of the most common objections we get here:
They Haven’t Proven It
You might be thinking “hogwash, the Hyperbeast X69JQZ can go 319 mph!” Well, maybe, but they’ve yet to prove it.
This is the case, for example, with the Hennessey Venom F5 (*drool*), which you see above. This unbelievable work of art and engineering is claimed to hit 301 mph, and I truly hope it can, but they have yet to prove it.
I’m crossing my fingers.
It’s a Duplicate
“You have the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport but not the Veyron 16.4!” you might be whining.
Well, we decided that’d be ridiculous, so we left duplicate models out. Even though the Koenigsegg CCX is faster than a Ferrari Enzo, for example, we already have the CCXR on the list, so we’re leaving that out.
What we are including are different models from the same manufacturer (Koenigsegg CCXR & Agera, for example). We’ll include the version of the model that’s the (proven) fastest.
Because I Said So
Because this is our list, I’m using my discretion to adjust the rankings a bit where I feel it’s appropriate (but fair).
For example, Bugatti’s Veyron Super Sport up there officially clocked 267.81 mph, while the Chiron “only” hit 261 mph. So why is the Chiron above the Veyron SS? Because we know that the Chiron can go much faster than the Veyron. During its top speed run, they limited the top speed due to fear of the tires exploding, whereas the Veyron had its speed limiter removed (which still counts).
Since the Chiron is 295 hp more powerful and about the same weight as the Veyron, I’m gonna go ahead and say the Chiron would wipe the floor with the Veyron.
So There You Have It
We’re going to keep this list updated as more supercars (let’s just call them hypercars, shall we?) come out or get upgraded. Let’s be honest, Bugatti, Koenigsegg, Hennessey, and SSC all seem to be neck and neck, and more than willing to outrun one another any chance they get.
My bets are on Hennessey doing an official top speed run with the Venom F5 once they get a chance.