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 supercar can have. 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.
Here is a list of the 10 fastest production cars in the world ranked by top speed. All the cars you would expect are here, ranked from fastest to slowest (though calling any of these hypercars slow is blasphemy.) And to clarify, yes, all of these cars are street legal.
#1: SSC Tuatara
Top Speed: 282.9 mph Engine: 1,750 horsepower
We’ve been hearing about SSC’s Tuatara hypercar since at least 2011. Created by American supercar maker SSC (formerly Shelby SuperCars, no relation to Caroll Shelby), the Tuatara not only beat the next fastest supercar on the list but blew it out of the water (or salt flats, as it were.)
On October 10th, 2020, the SSC Tuatara managed to claim the title of the world’s fastest production vehicle by clocking an average run of 316.11 mph (508.73 kph), also claiming the title for the first production car to break the 500 kph barrier. But that record wasn’t official, apparently, so they went back and did another run in January 2021, this time officially grabbing the record at 282.9 mph.
The SSC Tuatara is powered by a twin-turbocharged 5.9-liter V8 producing 1,350 horsepower using regular ol’ 91 octane pump gas, and 1,750 horses if you slip in some E85 juice.
Hats off to ya, SSC.
#2: Koenigsegg Agera RS
Top Speed: 277.87 mph
Engine: 1,341 horsepower
Now that is 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 horsepower (on regular pump gasoline, mind you). However, 11 lucky owners were 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.
#3: Hennessey Venom GT
Top Speed: 270.49 mph
Engine: 1,244 horsepower
This supercar from Texas-based car 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 zero to 300 km/h (186 mph) 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 from zero to 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.
#4: Bugatti Chiron
Top Speed: 261 mph
Engine: 1,479 horsepower
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.
But here’s the interesting part. The top speed of the Bugatti Chiron – 261 mph – is electronically limited due to safety. 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.
#5: Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
Top Speed: 267.81 mph
Engine: 1,200 horsepower
Not to let SSC’s Ultimate Aero 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 with 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, the Guinness Book of World Records went ahead and said that even though the speed limiter was removed, the top speed was still valid. We just wish they would have let the Chiron above do the same.
#6: SSC Ultimate Aero TT
Top Speed: 256.18 mph
Engine: 1,183 horsepower
Boutique supercar maker Shelby SuperCars (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 horsepower, giving the car a theoretical top speed of 290 mph.
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.
#7: Koenigsegg CCXR
Top Speed: 249 mph
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 horsepower output up from 795 to a whopping 1,004.
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. We would 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.)
#8: Saleen S7 Twin-Turbo
Top Speed:248 mph
Engine: 750 horsepower
Saleen’s first car was not based on an existing model, but the S7 supercar grabbed a lot of attention when it was released in 2000. An updated Twin-Turbo model followed shortly afterward, providing 750 horsepower and a 248 mph top speed. Saleen offered a competition package increasing horsepower to 1000, 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 or SSC, we might see some more of Saleen’s supercar in the future. There was the 80’s retro-cool Saleen S5S Raptor Concept they came out with in 2008, but that never saw the light of day.
#9: McLaren F1
Top Speed: 240.14
Engine: 618 horsepower
The McLaren F1 first appeared in 1993, and it’s still one of the fastest cars in the world. It’s also one of the most sought-after. Produced from 1993 to 1998, any F1 today will sell today for top dollar, as is evidenced by this 1995 McLaren F1 road car. In August 2021, it set a record auction price of $20.465 million during the Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auction.
The amount of “firsts” that McLaren introduced to road cars via the F1 is far too long to list, but suffice it to say, the British company blew everyone else out of the water at the time. With only 64 versions of the road car ever made, only a lucky few will ever have the honor of driving one. The F1 will remain on the all-time greatest cars list for decades to come, even though it’s no longer the fastest production car in the world.
#10: Pagani Huayra
Top Speed: 238 mph
Engine: 720 horsepower
The Pagani Zonda, even since we first laid eyes on it, has been one of our favorite cars of all time. We are not huge fans of the Huayra’s styling (or name) when compared to the Zonda, but we have to admit it’s an incredible car.
The Huayra’s AMG-sourced 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 produces 720 horsepower. With the help of a seven-speed single-clutch sequential gearbox, the Huayra hits 60 in only 2.8 seconds with a top speed of 238 mph.
Honodable Mention: Ferrari Enzo
Top Speed: 221 mph
Engine: 651 horsepower
Another one of the few naturally-aspirated cars on this list, the Ferrari Enzo is powered by a 6.0-liter V12 producing 651 horsepower. Only 399 Enzos were built for sale, and as usual, all were sold to existing customers via invitation. There was one more Enzo built, but it was donated to the Vatican for charity.
Interestingly, Enzo’s successor – the LaFerrari – is only able to hit an approximately similar top speed despite begin significantly more powerful. However, the LaFerrari is quicker, with a zero to 62 mph time of 2.4 seconds, compared to the Enzo’s time of 3.2 seconds.
How Top Speed Is Calculated
Considering how coveted the “Fastest Car in the World” title is, it’s no surprise there’s a pretty rigorous process involved to get that title, at least if you want to be official. The de facto “list” 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. Next, the car makes its first run at whatever location is chosen for the test. Preferably somewhere with a long, flat road, such as VW’s private Ehra-Lessien test track in Northern Germany. This track has an uninterrupted straight for 5.6 miles, which is so long you can’t see the other end due to the curvature of the Earth!
Then, the car makes another top 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.