When car companies compete for top speed bragging rights, the world wins.
The first production vehicle to crack 200 mph was the Ferrari F40. The year was 1987; immediately after that Italian stallion’s speedometer registered 201, and the race to the 300 mph club began. In 2019, amid a fervent race between Koenigsegg, Hennessey and Bugatti, the Chiron Super Sport bested the competition by a horseshoed nose, achieving a staggering 304.7 mph. In early 2020, a bevy of new hypercars was announced—several promising at least 300 mph—so we’re updating our list of the fastest cars in the world. (Three quick editor’s notes: our sole criterion is top speed, our floor for consideration is at least 230 mph and unproven manufacturer claims are denoted.)
Pagani Huayra — 238 MPH
Pagani Huayra BC Macchina Volante Shutterstock
The successor to the game-changing Zonda, the Huayra comes from Italian speed master Horacio Pagani and is named after Huayra-tata, a Quechua wind god. Fitting, considering the 720 hp coming from a twin-turbocharged Mercedes-AMG V-12 (the only non-Mercedes-AMG production engine to receive a mill from the Affalterbach madmen). A seven-speed single-clutch gearbox puts down the power while delivering chunky, whiplash-inducing shifts, allowing you to scream from 0 to 60 in a mere 2.8 seconds.
McLaren F1 — 240.1 MPH
McLaren F1 Photo: Courtesy of McLaren
The iconic three-seater from McLaren was a revolutionary game-changer from the brilliant mind of designer Gordon Murray. Built in 1993, it was the first carbon fiber-bodied production car ever built, and featured a 6.1-liter V-12 from BMW that was good for 618 hp and 479 ft lbs of torque. For the then-expensive, now-bargain price of £500,000, you were rewarded with blistering speed: 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds and 0 to 100 mph required just 6.3 seconds. Simply mental performance figures, especially when you factor in that the engine is naturally-aspirated. When it officially set the world speed record back in 1998, the 240.1 mph run remained top dog until 2005, when the Koenigsegg CCR bested it by one mile per hour.
Saleen S7 Twin Turbo — 248 MPH
2005 Saleen S7 Photo: Simon Davison/Flickr
While Steve Saleen set out to build a Bugatti Veyron challenger, this street-legal race car was the result. One of the first American mid-engined performance machines ever crafted, the Saleen S7 was 100 percent hand-built. A heavily-tweaked 7.0-liter twin-turbo Ford 351 Windsor Small Block gets bored and stroked, bestowing the handsome coupe with 750 hp.
Koenigsegg CCXR — 249 MPH
Koenigsegg CCXR Photo: Koenigsegg
The CCXR uses the same 4.7-liter twin-turbo V-8 mill as the CCX, but the Swedish company modded the power plant to run on E85 race gas, which shot the power from 795 hp up into the four-figures—1,004 hp to be exact. Given the CCXR’s upgraded aerodynamics package and engine, it’d be interesting to see how it would perform in a proper top-speed run that’s in a straight line and not on a circular track (which is how the aforementioned CCR ran).
Koenigsegg Gemera — 249 MPH (Claimed)
Koenigsegg Gemer Koenigsegg
The second hypercar from the Swedish automotive wizards to grace our list is a “mega GT,” according to founder Christian von Koenigsegg. That’s because it’s packing 1,700 hp, 2,581 ft lbs of torque and has four seats, each of which was designed to hold an actual human. (Thoughtfully, there’s room for the storage of one carry-on suitcase per passenger.) The sprint to 60 is over in 1.9 seconds—faster than you can read this sentence.
Tesla Roadster — 250+ MPH (Claimed)
Tesla Roadster Photo: Courtesy Tesla.
Elon Musk launched Tesla with a coupe, so this electric Roadster is a fitting return to his roots. Only he’s turned everything up to 11. A 200-kWh battery pack will provide up to 620 miles of range, Tesla claims, while a trio of motors will propel the $200,000-plus four-seat supercar to 60 in 1.9 seconds. With that quickness, the quarter-mile is in your rearview in just 8.8 seconds.
Aston Martin Valkyrie — 250 MPH (Claimed)
Aston Martin Valkyrie Courtesy of Aston Martin
When engineers from Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing put their heads together, the world benefits. The Valkyrie, or AM-RB 001 as it was known in development, is a fantastically wild-looking hypercar. Behind your seat, a 6.5-liter Cosworth V-12 churns out 1,160 hp, more than enough to compress your innards during the 2.3 seconds it takes to hammer to 60. It has recently been spotted road-testing in the UK.
McLaren Speedtail — 250 MPH
McLaren Speedtail Photo: Courtesy of McLaren
While the 2020 successor to the F1 is still being built and has yet to be delivered to a customer, at least one test mule (named Albert!) exists, so we’re including it. The rear-wheel drive Speedtail employs a hybrid system good for 1,035 hp, and its sleek shape and lightweight carbon-fiber construction is tailor-made for its top speed of 250 mph. McLaren claims it’ll take only 12.8 seconds to go from a dead stop to 186 mph, which is an eye-watering stat.
Bugatti Veyron — 253 MPH
Bugatti Veyron Photo: Courtesy of Bugatti
When Bugatti launched the Veyron in 2005, it represented a number of firsts, including fastest, most powerful and most expensive car available. Behind your head, an enormous 8.0-liter W-16 engine generates 1,001 hp and a staggering 921 ft lbs of torque. That’ll rocket you to 60 in 2.5 seconds, 124 in 7.3, 186 in 16.7 and, if you’ve got the guts, all the way up to 253.
Shelby Supercars Ultimate — 256.1 MPH
Shelby Supercars Ultimate Aero TT Photo: Wikipedia
The 2007 Shelby Supercars Ultimate Aero TT has a Guinness Book of Records-verified top speed of 256.18 mph. That record has since been broken, but that doesn’t take anything away from this fully carbon fiber-bodied behemoth. Power comes from a twin-turbocharged Corvette C5R V-8, tuned to produce more than 1,100 hp and 1,094 ft lbs of torque. The rip to 60 is 2.7 seconds, and stopping the land missile is aided by twin air brakes that pop up from the rear wings.
Rimac Concept Two — 258 MPH (Claimed)
Rimac Concept Two Photo: Courtesy fo Rimac Automobill
The second model from the Croatian electric hypercar manufacturer also goes by C_Two, and comes with a lot of boastful claims. The 1,888 hp coupe supposedly hits 60 from a standstill in 1.85 seconds, has a maximum range of 402 miles and hustled around the Nürburgring twice without a dip in performance. We’ll see if the Concept Two lives up to all the promises when it starts hitting customer garages this year.
Bugatti Chiron — 261 MPH
Bugatti Chiron Sport Edition 110 Years Photo: Courtesy of Bugatti
While Bugatti bosses said they wouldn’t do a top-speed run (and instead just did a 0-250-0 mph sprint), one owner hit up Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds to see the 1,500 hp Chiron realize its limited top speed of 261 mph. The speedometer goes up to 310 mph, though, so undoubtedly the 2018 Chiron can go much faster, but the folks at Bugatti blame the factory-installed governor on tire limitations.
Bugatti Veyron Super Sport — 267.8 MPH
Bugatti Veyron Photo: Courtesy of Bugatti
Here’s yet another Bugatti, this one built back in 2010 for the sole purpose of securing the accolade of fastest production car ever built. And the Veyron Super Sport achieved it, per Guinness. From the same W-12, engineers managed to eke out an additional 180 hp, bringing the grand total to 1,184 hp. To unlock the potential for max speed, you’ll need a second key that’ll give unfettered access to the engine.
Hennessey Venom GT — 270.4 MPH
Hennessey Venom Photo: Courtesy of Hennessey
John Hennessey’s eponymously-named performance group is obsessed with power and speed, evidenced by shoehorning as much oomph as it can into other company’s production cars. Then Hennessey built his own supercar in 2014, powered by a 7.0-liter twin-turbo GM V-8 packing 1,244 hp and 1,287 ft lbs of torque. The Venom reached 270.4 mph at the Kennedy Space Center’s 3.2-mile landing strip, but only in one direction. Since both directions are required for a record-holding run, in addition to a production volume of 30 or more cars (only 13 Venoms have been sold), the Hennessey doesn’t qualify for official record books. But still, the beast has surpassed 270, and that’s impressive as hell.
Koenigsegg Agera RS — 277.8 MPH
Koenigsegg Agera Photo: Courtesy of Koenigsegg
Back to Koenigsegg for the top honors. In November of 2017, a Koenigsegg Agera RS running E85 (meaning it was getting 1,360 hp) was driven by a factory driver to a two-way average speed of 277.8 mph on an 11-mile strip of closed road in Nevada. The car, owned by a customer who suggested the feat, actually hit 284.5 mph during the record attempt, which is staggering. It also nabbed the fastest 0-250-0 time (33.2 seconds), and the highest average speed during the flying kilometer (268 mph) and for the flying mile on a public road (276.3 mph).
Hennessey Venom F5 — 300+ MPH (Claimed)
Hennessey Venom F5 Hennessey Performance Engineering.
The second inclusion from the Texas-tuners-turned-manufacturers, the Venom F5 picks up the baton from its little brother and rockets away. A 6.6-liter twin-turbo V-8 pumps out 1,817 hp and 1,193 ft lbs of twist, which propels the 2,950-pound coupe to 60 in under two seconds. Its name is an homage to the F5 category of tornados, the most intense level possible on the Fujita scale.
Shelby Supercars Tuatara — 300+ MPH (Claimed)
Shelby Supercars Tuatara Photo: Courtesy of SSC North America.
The designer behind this savage beauty is Jason Castriota, who has done work for Ferrari, Maserati and Bertone. A carbon-fiber monocoque underpins the Tuatara (a native Maori word meaning “spiny back”). Only 100 will be built, and owners have been waiting a decade since the $1.3 million, 1,750 hp hypercar was announced.
Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut — 330+ MPH (Claimed)
Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut Koenigsegg
The fourth and final Koenigsegg to make the list is named after the founder’s father. While the Swedes have yet to officially cite a top speed for the 1,600 hp asphalt assaulter, in theory, the 5.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 can reach 330 mph. To achieve this kind of speed, the only expanse of tarmac long enough would be the 5.4-mile straight at Ehra-Lessien in Germany, but that’s a Volkswagen facility and it’s unlikely VW would welcome a hopeful contender to bust its Chiron’s record.
Devel Sixteen — 347 MPH (Claimed)
Devel Sixteen Photo: Matthew P.L. Stevens/Flickr
A V-16 with 3,000 hp? Sounds like a dream, which may explain why it’s been in development for more than a decade in Dubai. That mill is made by slapping two LS V-8s together, and if that’s not enough oomph for your butt dyno, you can opt for a truly bonkers 5,007 hp iteration for more than $2 million. That’ll just be for drag strip dominance, as that iteration won’t be road-legal.
Bugatti Chiron Super Sport — 304.7 MPH
Bugatti Chiron Super Sport Photo: Courtesy of Bugatti
The top spot for the world’s fastest supercar goes to Bugatti. In 2019, pilot Andy Wallace (“driver” is too downmarket for Bugatti) railed a tweaked-version of the 1,600 hp, 8.0-liter quad-turbocharged Chiron Super Sport around the Ehra-Lessien track. The mods included lengthening the body by 10 inches, lowering it and giving it a new rear aero kit, as well as a new exhaust set-up. The real heroes were the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s that were x-rayed before fitment to ensure perfect structural integrity. Watch the Chiron’s record-setting run below the still; see a video of the Chiron hitting 304 miles below: