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The best supercharged cars of all-time

The best supercharged cars of all-time

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Supercharging is a method of forced induction that is less common than turbocharging, but it has been a part of many famously capable cars.

Supercharged cars are often some of the most exciting to drive. A common aftermarket instalment in the muscle car scene, supercharging is a great way to add power to a motor throughout the rev range, without the lag associated with a turbo.

Fortunately, some manufacturers are fun-loving enough to supercharge their products in stock specification and these are just some of the best supercharged cars of all-time.


Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

When the initial wave of new-generation, retro-inspired muscle cars arrived, some were slightly disappointed by their relative lack of performance – of course, these cars were built to be modified, so perhaps they only needed to be base models with which to improve upon.

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

However, Dodge thoroughly responded to anyone looking for a more powerful Challenger with the 697bhp Hellcat; this 199mph behemoth is a true nightmare for rear tyres everywhere, and one of the most insane cars released this decade.


Toyota Yaris GRMN

Thoroughly fettled by Toyota’s crack Gazoo Racing outfit, the Yaris GRMN is a limited edition hot hatch that’s quickly becoming a highly desirable car after its 2018 debut.

Toyota Yaris GRMN

Limited to just 600 examples, the GRMN is powered by a 209bhp, 1.8-litre supercharged engine, paired with a six-speed manual gearbox. Lauded by critics and very quickly sold out, expect examples of this hot hatch to be worth big money in years to come.


Lancia 037

A product of the iconic ‘Group B’ World Rally Championship battles of the 1980s, the 037 was a mid-engined homologation special. With a mere 205bhp, the power of the 2.0-litre supercharged engine doesn’t raise many eyebrows.

Lancia 037

At 1,170kg, the road car’s curb weight is low, but not so low that the performance of the car was eye-watering. However, in rally trim, with weight slashed to 960kg and power touching 280bhp in later stages of development, it was one of the most fearsome cars in the sport.


Jaguar XKR-S

Sportscar, grand tourer or muscle car coupe – however you choose to define the Jaguar XKR-S, it can safely be described as a truly savage car.

Jaguar XKR-S

Featuring a 542bhp, 5.0-litre supercharged V8 and a bodykit that added aggression and racing intent to the beautiful lines of the XK, the XKR-S quickly became revered as one of the most extreme performance Jaguars of all-time.


Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

The ZR1 nameplate has long been the performance peak of the Chevrolet Corvette line-up.

The latest version of the ZR1, based on the out-going C7 Corvette, is powered by a supercharged, 6.2-litre V8 that produces an astonishing 755bhp; the supercharger itself is 2.6 litres in capacity.

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

Featuring aerodynamics and tuning from the Corvette Racing outfit, the current ZR1 is a sought-after car today; if its successor is to be mid-engined, as speculation suggests, then it could one day be a very high-value car.


Bentley 4.5-litre “Blower”

Not many cars feature a supercharger exposed to the elements, but that was the case with the famous Blower Bentleys that plied their trade at the Le Mans 24 Hours in the 1920s.

Bentley Birkin 'Blower’

Built in spite of the wishes of founder W. O. Bentley by racing driver Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin. Mated to an inline four cylinder engine, the supercharger at the front of the five cars built for racing, and the 55 built for the road, is its most distinctive feature.

It never won the race it was built for, but it went down in history nonetheless.


Toyota MR2

The first-generation MR2 was a fun car as standard, but its creators at Toyota clearly didn’t think it was fun enough, as a supercharged variant arrived in 1986 in Japan, and 1988 in North America.

Toyota MR2

Producing 145bhp, this short-wheelbase, 1,131kg, mid-engine pocket rocket was certainly not for the faint of heart, even if the power figure alone isn’t mind-altering. While it never made it to Europe, some examples have been imported.


Mercedes E55 AMG

The E55 AMG was rightfully seen as a four-door rocket ship when it debuted at the 2002 Paris Motor Show.

With 469bhp on-tap from the 5.4-litre supercharged V8 engine and 700Nm of torque, the E55 performed the usual AMG trick of adding an obscene amount of power to a saloon. With the supercharger wedged between the two cylinder banks, even the engine bay of the E55 looks unhinged, and as if they crammed every ounce of power available at the time inside.

Mercedes E55 AMG

When the German firm builds crazy cars, they do it right, and the E55 is a superb example of that.


Mini John Cooper Works GP

When the end of the line came for the first of the BMW-built Minis, one last performance version was put into production at a limited run of just 2,000 units.

Mini John Cooper Works GP

Essentially the GT3 RS of the Mini oeuvre, the John Cooper Works GP benefitted from a 215bhp in-line four cylinder, supercharged 1.6-litre engine. It was also helped by 40kg of weight loss, with a curb weight of 1,160kg.

 


Lotus Exige

A more extreme version of the Elise, the Exige first received supercharging in the form of a 1.8-litre Toyota engine. However, the current, third-generation Exige features a 3.5-litre unit, also sampled from the Japanese manufacturer.

Lotus Exige

With 345bhp on-tap – a figure that has only risen in numerous special editions – it is safe to say that the Exige has grown out of merely being a disgruntled Elise.