“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 (claimed)|
|Rimac Concept Two||258 mph (claimed)|
|SSC Ultimate Aero||256 mph|
|Aston Martin Valkyrie||250 mph (claimed)|
|Tesla Roadster||250 mph (claimed)|
|Milan Red||249 mph (claimed)|
|Saleen S7 Twin Turbo||248 mph|
|Koenigsegg CCR||242 mph|
|McLaren F1||241 mph|
|Pagani Huayra BC||238 mph|
|Zenvo TS1||233 mph|
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.
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 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.
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.
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 French racing driver Louis Chiron, the latest Bugatti 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.