In 2000 at the dawn of the new millennium, one of the most powerful cars on the road was the extremely exotic Lamborghini Diablo. This ultimate sports car boasts a 5.7-liter V12 powerplant putting out 530 horsepower. Today that “measly” output wouldn’t even get the Diablo onto this list of high-powered machines. In fact, every vehicle on this list of high horses offers more than 600 horsepower — and that includes sedans and even an SUV. So while most consumers are perfectly fine with enough power to get up to highway speeds in a timely fashion, these cars are for drivers who are looking for considerably more oomph. Let’s take a brief look at the most powerful new cars on the road today.
Audi R8 V10 Plus
Audi’s sleek mid-engine sports car was introduced in 2007 but was based on the LeMans Quattro Concept shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show four years earlier. That concept boasted a V10 producing more than 600 horsepower — now almost 15 years later the production car catches up with the concept via a 5.2-liter normally-aspirated V10 engine putting out 610 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. This means the new R8 can reach 60 mph in around 3 seconds, and boasts a top speed of 205 mph. As expected from Audi, power is put through all four wheels via the brand’s legendary quattro all-wheel drive system. In addition to the power boost, the 2017 R8 gets fresh styling including Audi’s innovative virtual cockpit.
Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4
The Huracan is the newest model in the Lamborghini lineup, replacing the top-selling Gallardo. One of those cars that looks like it’s moving at 200 mph even when standing still, the Huracan is powered by a 5.2-liter normally-aspirated (Lamborghini doesn’t use turbos) V10 engine producing 610 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque at 6500 rpm. For Lamborghini, manual transmissions are now a thing of the past — the only transmission available for the Huracan is a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which is actuated via steering-column-mounted paddles. With the quick-shifting gearbox and excellent traction of the new all-wheel-drive system, the Huracan can hit 62 mph in just 3.2 seconds — 124 mph arrives under 10 seconds on the way to a top speed of 202 mph.
While most of the vehicles on this list can attribute some of their performance to their ability to cut through the air with the least amount of drag, the Mercedes G-Class has aerodynamics similar to a brick. With an exterior shape that hasn’t changed much in the last 30 years, this big SUV has always been known for its ability to handle just about any type of terrain. But with the target market for this vehicle more in line with those buying exotic high-end machines, Mercedes decided to compete on that level too, outfitting the G-Class with a Biturbo 6.0-liter V12 engine producing 621 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough power and torque to move this 3-ton vehicle to 60 mph in just over five seconds.
Mercedes-AMG S65 Sedan
MSRP: $224,650 Sedan
The S-Class is the flagship sedan of the Mercedes-Benz lineup and the S65 sits at the very top of the flagpole. But we imagine owning an S65 would present a bit of a conundrum. Do you ride in the back, reclining in the luxurious leather seats with your feet up, enjoying a hot-stone massage while you watch your favorite movie? Or do you take the driver’s seat and revel in the enormous power provided by the hand-built twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12 engine that delivers 621 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque? Whichever seat you choose, you’ll be pinned to it as this big sedan hits 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds on its way to an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph.
The SL has always been one of the most attractive and luxurious 2-seat roadsters on the road. For the AMG SL65, the additional funds you’re parting with are primarily for what’s under the hood — in this case a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter AMG V12 powers the SL65, producing 621 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque, teamed with an AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC transmission designed to handle the massive torque. All that power means impressive performance stats: 60 mph comes up in less than 4 seconds with top speed electronically limited to a mere 186 mph. The retractable hardtop makes this an all-season car, and even if it gets a little chilly while driving top-down the SL has an Air Scarf that will blow warm air on your neck to keep you comfortable. On the flip side, the exclusive Nappa leather interior with heated and ventilated seats complete with massagers make this the ultimate high-speed summer road trip car.
When we think of a Rolls-Royce, we expect a large, stately automobile — basically the opposite of the sleekly-styled Wraith. Not only is the Wraith an unusual shape for a Rolls, it is also the most powerful Rolls ever. An impressive 624 horses are generated by a 6.6-liter turbocharged V12 engine, and with 590 lb-ft of torque coming at a low 1500 rpm, this big Rolls can hit 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds. Inside is all Rolls-Royce with soft leather seats and expanses of Canadel Panelling. Passengers will be amazed by the Starlight Headliner — an optional feature with 1,340 fiber optic lamps hand-woven into the roof lining to give the impression of looking up at a starry, starry night.
Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible
Top down and 202 mph — that’s an event that’s hard to forget. But if you have the means, the Bentley Continental GT Speed is one of the few cars that has the potential to provide this experience for you and three of your friends. In fact, Bentley claims this to be the fastest 4-seat production convertible in the world. Under the shapely body lurks a 6.0-liter twin turbo W12 engine rated at 626 horsepower and 607 lb-ft of torque. Power is delivered to all-four wheels via a close-ratio 8-speed automatic transmission, providing excellent handling and stability as the car rockets to 60 mph in just 4 seconds. As expected from a Bentley, passengers ride in the lap of luxury with distinctive diamond-quilted hide upholstery and the latest infotainment technology.
A Cadillac priced above $80,000 may seem a little extreme — until you see that price compared to others on this list, and then the high-performance Caddy seems like a bargain. The V-Series is Cadillac’s high-performance offering (which began with the 400-horsepower CTS-V in 2004), so it’s fitting that the latest version of this sport sedan is the most powerful V-Series ever. The heart of CTS-V is a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine putting out 640 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque, teamed with a quick-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission. CTS-V drivers will enjoy the race-inspired Recaro seats and thick-rim steering wheel as they’re accelerating to 60 mph in a mere 3.7 seconds. The Magnetic Ride Control adjusts to surface conditions at a rate of 1,000 times per second, and big Brembo brakes along with the grippy Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires help keep all that power under control — much-needed features considering the CTS-V is capable of speeds up to 200 mph.
McLaren 650S Spider
Only 1,650 McLarens were sold worldwide last year, so seeing one of these on the road is a real treat. Although this exotic isn’t exactly luxurious inside, the excitement begins with a push of the start button — with the top down you really hear the roar of the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8. With 641 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque on tap, the 650 S can reach 60 mph in less than 3 seconds and triple digits come up in just 5.8 seconds. Top speed exceeds 200 mph. The low, wide stance, sport suspension, sticky Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires and a smart stability control system mean the McLaren has amazing grip. The 650S remains completely flat in high-speed corners — freeway entrance ramps at speed barely reveal the capabilities of the 650S.
Dodge Viper SRT
A true American supercar, the Viper has always been for the pure enthusiast willing to sacrifice some utility and comfort for superior performance. Although early Viper adopters had to give up more than those buying the current version — which has comfortable leather-trimmed racing seats, premium materials throughout and (for those who are not professional race drivers) stability and traction control. The Viper has been powered by a V10 engine ever since it was introduced for the 1992 model year, and the current 10-cylinder powerplant puts out more venom than ever before. The handcrafted, all-aluminum 8.4-liter V10 creates 645 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque — the most from any naturally-aspirated sports car engine in the world. Sixty mph comes up from a standstill in just over 3 seconds, and top speed is in excess of 200 mph. The Viper can do more than just go fast in a straight line —- in fact, the Viper ACR has managed to set lap records at more than a dozen racetracks across the country.
Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Often referred to as America’s sports car, the Corvette has been in production since 1953. Just one year after taking the wraps off an all-new seventh-generation Corvette in 2014, Chevrolet debuted the most powerful production Vette ever — the Z06. This extreme Corvette boasts a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine that puts out 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, making the Z06 more powerful than any General Motors production vehicle ever made. And with all that power, the capability of the Z06 is nothing but extraordinary — 60 mph comes up in about 3 seconds, a quarter mile gets easily eclipsed in 10.95 at 127 mph, and top speed is in excess of 200 mph. The Z06 also achieves 1.2 g in cornering acceleration, and braking from 60 to zero mph takes just 99.6 feet.
Ferrari 488 GTB
For the last 40 years, Ferrari has been providing purists with a V8-powered sports car. The 488 GTB is the latest V8 Ferrari, and for the first time ever the Italian automaker has added a turbocharger. The 488 GTB’s engine displacement is small at 3.9 liters, but it manages to put out an amazing 660 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque at 3000 rpm. Speed is impressive; 60 mph comes up in less than 3 seconds and in just over 8 seconds you’ll be passing 125 mph on the way to a top speed around 205 mph. The new 488 GTB can lap Ferrari’s Fiorano test track in just 1:23 — almost two seconds faster than the legendary Enzo, and just as fast as the F12 Berlinetta. It also beats its predecessor — the Ferrari 458 Italia — by about 2 seconds. Aerodynamics also play a big part in performance figures. The GTB has 50 percent more downforce than the 458 as well as reduced drag — achieved via a double front spoiler, side intakes and active aerodynamics at the rear.
The new McLaren 675LT was developed with an emphasis on optimized aerodynamics and light weight, along with increased power and track-focused dynamics. The LT designation reflects the long-tail design to improve aerodynamics. Power comes from a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 666 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, teamed with a 7-speed SSG transmission. The 675LT can reach 60 mph in around 2.8 seconds and can stop from that speed in about the same amount of time. It takes only 5.5 seconds to reach 100 mph and top speed is listed at 205 mph. With wider front and rear tracks, as well as lighter, stiffer springs, the 675LT also features an updated suspension designed for a better feedback on the track, but retains the adjustable ProActive Chassis Control for drivability and comfort on the street. Only 500 of this special McLaren will be built and all have been reserved.
MSRP: around $300,000
If the GTC4Lusso looks familiar, it’s because this vehicle used to be known as the Ferrari FF. Redesigned and renamed, the GTC4Lusso is still the family-sized Ferrari with room for four passengers, incorporating a hatchback design and decent cargo space. Simply because this Ferrari is a more practical does not mean it is any less of a supercar. With a 6.3-liter V12 engine producing 680 horsepower and 514 lb-ft of torque under the hood, The GTC4Lusso puts that power to the pavement via a 7-speed dual-clutch F1 transmission and a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. Massive brakes, high-performance tires and a new a rear-wheel steering system add to the impressive overall performance. Sixty mph comes up in just over 3 seconds and you’re in triple digits well before 10 seconds pass. Top speed is more than 200 mph — a thrill for the entire family.
Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
You would think that only ultra-exotics from small factories could offer more than 700 horsepower — and certainly nothing with four doors. Meet the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. This aptly-named sedan sports a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 engine that puts out a crazy 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. And if prodigious power doesn’t make the SRT Hellcat stand out from the crowd, what’s really amazing is that it comfortably seats five, has all the latest high-tech convenience features, and possesses road manners that make it pleasant enough to drive every day. The stats of this Charger are extremely impressive. The Hellcat can pass a quarter mile in just 11 seconds and boasts a top speed of 204 mph. It is — according to Chrysler — the fastest, quickest, most powerful production sedan ever. Add the fact that it’s rated at 22 mpg on the highway and priced well below any other sedan with this kind of performance and it’s no wonder why Chrysler is having difficulty keeping up with demand.
Dodge Challenger Hellcat
There really isn’t a better value for bulk horsepower than the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. The least expensive vehicle on this list, the classic-looking Hellcat has heavy influences from early ‘70s Challengers. But unlike those classic models, the modern-day Challenger boasts the first production use of a supercharger on a HEMI V8, resulting in a massive 707 horsepower. That makes 60 mph come up in under 4 seconds with a top speed of almost 200 mph. Even more impressive, this beast can seat up to 5 passengers and is rated at 22 mpg on the highway. You’d think something this special would be a limited edition, but it’s not. However, Dodge recently stopped accepting orders for the Hellcat because it can’t build them fast enough to keep up with demand.
Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
The F12 is the most powerful and highest performance front-engine sports car in the Ferrari lineup — and that’s saying something. Under the long hood sits a 6.3-liter V12 engine producing a stunning 731 horsepower and 509 lb-ft of torque — 80 percent of which is available at just 2500 rpm. Hit the 8700-rpm redline and the F12 sounds like a Formula One racer. The F12 weighs just 3,600 pounds, making for a very favorable power-to-weight ratio and impressive performance stats: 62 mph comes up in 3.1 seconds, 124 mph in 8.5 seconds on the way to a top speed of 211 mph. Large carbon-ceramic brakes aid in reigning in these massive speeds.
Lamborghini Aventador SuperVeloce Roadster
Sports cars don’t get much more extreme than Lamborghini, and the Aventador LP 750-4 Superveloce takes extreme to a whole new level. According to former Lamborghini President and CEO Stephan Winkelmann, “The Superveloce is the purest, most sports-oriented and fastest series production Lamborghini ever.” As the name indicates, this open-top Lambo gets a crazy 750 horsepower from its 6.5-liter normally-aspirated V12 engine, putting all that power to all four wheels. If you happen to be one of the 500 lucky buyers (since 500 will be built), you’ll want to hold on when that right foot goes down — 60 mph comes up in less than 3 seconds and top speed exceeds 217 mph.
Tesla Model S P90D
MSRP: $119,200 (with Ludicrous Speed option)
Most production electric cars are small, not terribly powerful and have a typical range around 100 miles. And then there’s Tesla. The Model S remains the only mainstream luxury performance sedan powered solely by electricity, and it puts all other electric offerings to shame. Of course the top-of-the-line P90D costs about three times the price of a Nissan LEAF, but you do get a lot for your money. The P90D offers performance that easily matches or bests similar gasoline-powered options — especially when equipped with the optional “Ludicrous Speed” mode. With two electric motors — one in front delivering 259 horsepower and one in the rear adding 503 (yes, 503) more horses — the AWD luxury sedan will hit 60 mph in around 3 seconds and has a top speed limited to 155 mph. And unlike most other electric cars, the Model S P90D can travel around 270 miles between charges, making it much more useful for everyday driving.
Tesla Model X P90D
MSRP: $125,500 (with Ludicrous Speed option)
The Model X is a crossover SUV unlike any other on the market, and its unique powertrain is the core of this game-changer although it’s not the only innovation. Like it’s Model S sibling, the Model X features two independently controlled electric motors to power the all-wheel-drive system. The top-level P90D (P stands for Performance) boasts a range to 250 miles between charges — more than considerably-smaller electric models on the road. But even more impressive is the power — the P90D with the optional Ludicrous Speed (yes, that’s what they call it) will push this SUV to 60 mph in about 3.2 seconds, putting it among the quickest SUVs on the market.
The Porsche 918 is one of the most futuristic and fuel-efficient sports cars in America. It also happens to be one of the fastest. Power comes from a 4.6-liter V8 engine teamed with two electric motors for a total combined output of 887 horsepower put down to all four wheels. Performance stats are stunning — 60 mph comes up in just 2.5 seconds, 124 mph in 7.3 seconds and top speed is 214 mph. Even more impressive is the handling — the 918 is one of just a few production cars to complete a lap of the famed Nurburgring track in Germany in less than 7 minutes. All this and an outstanding 67 mpge (miles per gallon equivalent). The Weissach package adds another level of exclusivity and performance with reduced weight, special colors and unique magnesium wheels.
The McLaren P1 is one of the most advanced supercars in the world. This exotic boasts a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that puts out an impressive 727 horsepower. But wait, there’s more. McLaren has teamed this potent powerplant with an electric motor that adds 176 horsepower for a total output of 903 horses. The P1 reaches 60 mph in less than 3 seconds and can achieve a top speed of 217 mph — certainly not your typical hybrid. The P1 can travel almost seven miles on electric power alone, which clearly helps improve overall fuel economy. Unfortunately for those who had a million dollars burning a hole in their pocket, they’ll have to spend it on something else — McLaren has already completed the limited production of this hybrid supercar.
Currently residing at the top of the Ferrari lineup, LaFerrari (yes, it’s named “The Ferrari”) takes the Italian car company’s Formula One technology and expertise and puts it in a street-legal hypercar. Only 499 LaFerraris were built and all have been sold — sorry. (Rumor has it that a convertible version is on the way, so interested buyers may still have a chance.) Those lucky few that either own one or have had a chance to get behind the wheel will be blown away with the 949-horsepower hybrid powertrain that combines an electric motor with a powerful V12 engine. Sixty mph comes up in about 2.5 seconds on the way to a top speed of around 218 mph.
Hennessey Venom GT
If you’re looking for the ultimate in American horsepower, this is where you stop looking. Hennessey Performance has been modifying production cars since the early 1990s, turning them into ultra-performance vehicles. A few years ago Hennessey decided to build a new vehicle from the ground up — the result is the Venom GT. The tagline on the Venom GT website reads, “When a Bugatti Veyron seems a little too tame . . ..” Not many carmakers can make a statement that bold, but Hennessey can. The Venom GT is powered by a 7.0-liter V8 engine putting out a mind-boggling 1244 horsepower and 1155 lb-ft of torque at just 4400 rpm. Even more insane are the performance numbers: zero to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds; zero to 100 mph in 5.6 seconds; zero to 200 mph in 14.5 seconds; a quarter-mile in less than 10 seconds. After one mile the Venom will be travelling at 253 mph. And that’s not even the top speed — in February 2014, the Venom GT set a new world record for 2-seat sports cars by reaching a top speed of 270.49 mph. Earlier this year, Hennessey confirmed a top speed of 265.6 mph in the Venom GT roadster, making it the fastest convertible on the road.
When the only car you sell is a 1200-horsepower 250-plus mph exotic sports car, building a successor is a bit of a challenge. Bugatti managed to improve on the original with the brand-new Chiron. Powering the Chiron is a newly-developed 8-liter quad-turbo W16 engine producing 1500 horsepower and insane 1180 lb-ft of torque, available as low as 2000 rpm. The Chiron uses a new 2-stage turbocharging system that starts out with just two turbos engaged for quicker acceleration — at 3700 rpm the other two turbos kick in. Performances numbers are staggering. The Chiron reaches 62 mph in less than 2.5 seconds, 124 mph in around 6.5 seconds and — most amazing of all — 186 mph in less than 13.6 seconds. Good for more than just straight-line speed, this super sports car can achieve 1.5 g in lateral acceleration, and with new high-performance carbon-ceramic brakes the Chiron can reach a full stop from 62 mph in just over 100 feet. Only 500 Chirons will be built, and about one-third have already been spoken for.
Designed to offer more luxury than the typical extreme offering from Swedish carmaker Koenigsegg, the Regera features memory-foam power seats, a 9-inch display screen, Wi-Fi connectivity, Apple CarPlay and ambient lighting. But no matter how this car is appointed, the Agera is all about performance. Powering this supercar is a twin-turbo V8 engine teamed with two electric motors via a unique direct drive system. With more than 700 horsepower from the electric motors alone, combined output exceeds 1500 horsepower and 1475 lb-ft of torque. Weighing just 3,500 pounds, the Regera will reach 60 mph in 2.7 seconds and — even more impressive — almost 250 mph in less than 20 seconds.