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The 10 Fastest Cars in the World

The 10 Fastest Cars in the World


Motoring journalist and ex-racing driver, John Swift, takes a look at the ten fastest cars in the world.

The 10 fastest cars in the world

Current top 10 fastest cars in the world:

  1. Koenigsegg Agera R (273 mph)
  2. Henessey Venom GT (270 mph)
  3. Bugatti Veyron Super Sport (268 mph)
  4. 9FF GT9-R (257 mph)
  5. SSC Ultimate Aero (256 mph)
  6. Koenigsegg CCR (242 mph)
  7. McLaren F1 (241 mph)
  8. ZENVO ST 1 (233 mph)
  9. Pagani Huayra (230 mph)
  10. Rimac Concept 2 (EV) (258mph)

Measuring a car’s top speed, when you get into the realms of the world record setters, is not quite as simple as flooring it and seeing what the speedo swings around to! 

Air temperature and air pressure play a part, as do tyre pressures, the amount of oil in the engine and gearbox, the weight of the driver and a hundred and one other factors. There is also the slight matter of who’s doing the timing and if it’s truly independent and accurate.

Assuming all things are equal, then these days we’re talking only of those cars capable of reaching the far side of 250 mph. If your car can’t cover a mile in around 14 seconds it isn’t considered fast these days.

So which are these cars and what’s their vee-max (maximum velocity) as engineers would refer to it?

1   Koenigsegg Agera R (273 mph)

It may not be a household name, but the Swedish hypercar manufacturer has carved out respect and a solid reputation and its Agera R tops the list of its cars built to make 200 mph look pedestrian.

Its 5.0 litre turbo V8 develops around 1,140 bhp and with its sticky tyres gripping it can accelerate from rest to 60 in less than two seconds and one has been officially clocked at 273mph as it drove into the record books.

White Koenigsegg Agera R taking part in a road race

2   Henessey Venom GT (270 mph)

Even less well known is this car, the Hennessey Venom GT. Based on a highly modified Lotus Exige, American tuning legend John Hennessy somehow managed to squeeze in a 7.0 twin turbo V8 and with approximately 1,200 bhp waiting there, the Venom GT was driven at Cape Canaveral – yes, where NASA used to land its Space Shuttles – to a verified speed of 270.49 mph. Hennessy reckons it should be good for 278.

By the way, it needed just 14.51 seconds to get from zero to 200 mph. To put that into some context, Fiat’s 500L MPW people carrier needs that long just to get to 60.

Waiting in the wings is the even more powerful Venom F5 which John Hennessy is confident will comfortably break 300 mph!

Bright yellow Henessey Venom GT on display at a show

3   Bugatti Veyron Super Sport (268 mph)

For many years the Veyron was the undisputed leader in this field, being the first production car to get to the far side of 250 mph. The Super Sport used a modified version of its 8.0 litre quad turbo W16 cylinder engine and the 1,200 or so bhp it produced to push to a whisker shy of 270 mph.

Black and orange Bugatti Veyron Super Sport speeding down a road towards you

The odd thing about this rocket ship is that while blasting from zero to 60 in 2.4 seconds the Bugatti accommodates you in absolute luxury and it’s remarkably easy and civilised to drive, even in heavy city centre traffic such as downtown Monte Carlo or Los Angeles where many of the millionaire owners live.

You can also find a similar version of its unusual engine with the W layout of the cylinders under the bonnet of Crewe-built Bentleys, as both are part of the VW group.

Black and organge Bugatti Veyron Super Sport driving fast down a road away from you

4   9FF GT9-R (257 mph)

German tuning company, 9ff, took a Porsche 911 and boosted its classic flat-six engine to more than 1,100 bhp, which is enough to push it through 250 mph, making it a serious car in this company.

You can see its 911 origins but this is built purely for speed rather than comfort, so in the interests of saving weight you’ll find a rather sparse interior. A race car for the road.

Blacj 9FF GT9-R on display at an aerodrome

5   SSC Ultimate Aero (256 mph)

A small American company, SSC North America (formerly known as Shelby Super Cars), took a GM Corvette 6.3 litre V8, added two turbos and enjoyed the 1,287 bhp seen on the dyno.

Bolted into a spaceframe chassis and clothed with carbonfibre bodywork the SSC Ultimate Aero was the world’s fastest production car, according to the Guinness World Records, from 2007 to 2010, until Bugatti introduced the Veyron Super Sport. 0 to 200 takes less than 16 seconds as it blasts on its way to 256 mph.

SCC Ultimate aero in red and black on display in a park

6   Koenigsegg CCR (242 mph)

A second entrant from the Swedish specialist Koenigsegg, with its CCR which reached 242 mph back in 2005 at the Nardo tyre testing facility in Italy, knocking McLaren off the top spot and setting a record which remained until the first Bugatti Veyron came along.

By the standards of today its 800 bhp V8 has a relatively modest power output, but it’s still enough to push the mid-engined car from a standstill to 60 in around 3.7 seconds and do the standing quarter-mile in less than ten by when it is already travelling at 146 mph.

Pale yellow Koenigsegg CCR-3 on display at an aerodrome

7   McLaren F1 (241 mph)

It is almost a quarter of a century since we first saw it, but this fabulous, clever and hugely accomplished three seater with its 6.1 litre V12, designed by F1 legend, Gordon Murray, has a place in enthusiasts’ hearts as well as the record books.

Just over four miles a minute for a car that could be used on the road or racetrack, is testament to the brilliance of the engineering that went into it, when McLaren decided to branch out from its Grand Prix activities and make the best supercar in the world.

Even McLaren’s current range of sports cars cannot get anywhere near with the fastest of them, the P1, capable of `just’ 225 mph.

One thing the McLaren can claim that others here can’t – a version won the Le Mans 24 Hours thereby fulfilling one element of the design brief which was to have a  car capable of winning this most gruelling of races and then being driven home on the road.

Black McLaren F1-57 parked up in some woods

8   ZENVO ST 1 (233 mph)

Another little known name, the Zenvo ST1 is made in Denmark and it too relies on a 1,100 bhp V8 (6.8 litres) for the raw power to push it to these speeds. It also at least recognises the need for some creature comforts so it has a telescopically adjustable steering column and keyless entry.

Bright yellow Zenvo 2 on display at motor show

9   Pagani Huayra (230 mph).

Argentinian-born engineer, Horacio Pagani, needs little introduction in this field and having cut his teeth at Lamborghini he branched out on his own, achieving respect and acclaim in equal measure ever since. The Huayra has a twin turbo 6.0 litre V12 with an output of around 730 bhp which may seem relatively modest in this company, but is still enough for a 230 mph top end. 

Pagani Huayra in blue grey with stripes on display

10   There’s some debate about the 10th fastest car and the last one for our list; so we’ll mention a few contenders.

Croatian electric car maker, Rimac, has its Concept Two EV, which it says, is capable of 258 mph on battery power alone.

Charcoal grey metallic Rimac Concept Two electric supercar

Aston Martin has a brand new hypercar, the Valkyrie, waiting in the wings, but until that’s unleashed its One-77 is not just the fastest ever road car from the brand, but the only one to reach 220 mph.

Bright silver metallic Aston Martin Valkyrie

Ferrari’s LaFerrari does (officially) 217 mph and Jaguar’s XJ220 designed and built by the famous `Saturday’ club working after hours was timed at 221 mph.

Bright red Ferrari LaFerrari shot from above

Of course, for ultimate speed you have to look to the antics of the abnormally brave Sq.Ldr. Andy Green who back in 1997 was strapped into a tiny cockpit between two ex-RAF jet fighter engines and sent off down a straight course marked out on Black Rock Desert in Utah, USA, where he took not only the Land Speed Record, but also became the first man to go supersonic and break the speed of sound on land.

His average speed? 714.144 mph.

Never one to rest on his laurels, the redoubtable Andy is now aiming to break the 1,000 mph mark with the Bloodhound project which is due to run next year. Not something we’ll be seeing on the roads any time soon!

Thrust SSC land speed record breaking car