American Power Brokers of 2016

American MuscleBorn in the USA
Power and speed — two glorious aspects of the automobile that many Americans obsess over. Yes, getting better fuel economy and driving more efficient cars are certainly more politically-correct ambitions, but if you count yourself among true car enthusiasts, it’s the enticing roar of a big V8 that will put a stomp in your right foot and a smile on your face. The choices for American power are better than ever with a plethora of high-performance rides available from U.S. companies and brands. Take a look at some of the most powerful American cars (and trucks) on the market today, listed in order by price — and please try to keep the drooling to a minimum.

© Ford Motor Company2016 Ford Focus RS
Price: Starting at $35,900
Not every American performance car requires a big engine — case in point: the new Ford Focus RS. This little pocket rocket offers plenty of fun, powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine putting out an impressive 350 horsepower. All those ponies will get to the road via a newly developed all-wheel drive system designed to provide excellent traction and grip for smile-inducing performance. A maximum of 70 percent of the torque can be diverted to the rear axle, and up to 100 percent of that torque can be sent to each rear wheel.

© Ford Motor Company2016 Ford Focus RS
Sometimes you can have more fun when there isn’t as much grip. That’s why Ford gave the RS “drift mode” for those who like to drive sideways — on the track, of course. The RS also looks like a performance car, differentiated from the standard Focus with a powerful front end that features a bold grille above a deep splitter incorporating a large opening for engine cooling. The large openings on either side of the grille house fog lights as well as additional air intakes to cool the brakes — these also give the RS a wider stance than the typical Focus. With its big power in a small package, the Focus RS is one of the most anticipated cars of the 2016 model year.

2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack2016 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack
Price: Starting at $37,995
Yes, there is a 707-horsepower Hellcat version of the Challenger, but the R/T Scat Pack is certainly no slouch. For about $25,000 less than the vaunted Hellcat you can still have great fun in this ‘70s-inspired muscle car. The Scat Pack upgrades the engine to the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 that puts out 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque, teamed with a 6-speed manual transmission — certainly enough to burn some rubber, if you’re so inclined.

2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack2016 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack
An electronically-controlled exhaust system provides the deep, throaty burble emanating from the Challenger’s dual exhaust pipes. In addition to the engine upgrade, Dodge decks out the Scat Pack with Brembo 4-piston brakes, performance suspension, high-performance tires and 20-inch polished aluminum wheels. Able to reach 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds, the Challenger R/T Scat Pack will certainly fill that need in your life for some good ol’ American muscle — and speed.

© General Motors2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Price: Starting at $41,300
Aside from a short 8-year gap in production, Camaro has been part of American landscape since 1967 when the pony car segment was born. In that time there have been only five generations of Camaro — the all-new sixth generation debuted for the 2016 model year. This new Camaro is lighter and more powerful than its predecessor, with a sleeker design and much improved interior styling. Three new engines were announced at launch, including the first turbo, but we’re calling out the SS which currently sits at the top of the Camaro lineup.

© General Motors2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS
The Camaro SS is powered by a new 6.2-liter LT1 small-block V8 rated at 455 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque, making this the most powerful Camaro SS Chevrolet has ever offered. With a more rigid chassis and considerable weight reduction, the SS is an impressive performer. “The driving experience is significantly different,” said Aaron Link, lead development engineer. “Immediately, you will notice how much lighter and more nimble the Camaro feels. That feeling increases when you drive the Camaro harder — it brakes more powerfully, dives into corners quicker, and accelerates faster than ever.” If the SS isn’t quite enough, Chevrolet has also announced a new Camaro ZL1 for 2017. With a 640-horsepower supercharged V8 engine, this high-powered coupe or convertible will top the Camaro lineup when it goes on sale later this year.

© Ford Motor Company2016 Shelby GT350 Mustang
Price: Starting at $47,795
Whenever the Shelby name gets put on a Mustang, you can be certain that performance will be over the top. Similar to the original GT350 introduced in 1965, Ford has taken the everyday Mustang (which is an awesome car on its own) and turned it into a high-performance street-legal race car. At the heart of this transformation is the most powerful naturally-aspirated engine Ford has ever produced. The all-new 5.2-liter flat-plane crankshaft V8 is unique to the GT350, and puts out an impressive 526 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque. With a redline of 8250 rpm, the new engine is also the highest-revving production V8 in Ford’s history.

© Ford Motor Company2016 Shelby GT350 Mustang
It’s not enough to simply have gobs of power — it has to be controllable, so the GT350 features advanced suspension tuning as well as MagneRide dampers. The chassis has also been stiffened, and the GT350 wears the most powerful brakes ever installed on a production Mustang. The 19-inch extra-stiff cast aluminum-alloy wheels fitted with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires add to the overall handling. “When we started working on this car, we wanted to build the best possible Mustang for the places we most love to drive — challenging back roads with a variety of corners and elevation changes — and the track on weekends,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president of global product development. At a price around $50,000, the Shelby GT350 seems like a pretty good value.

© Ford Motor Company2017 Ford F-150 Raptor
Price: Starting at $50,000 (est.)
Ford introduced this off-road performance truck in 2010 and since then there really hasn’t been anything else on the road quite like it. Now an all-new version of the Raptor is scheduled to arrive later this year, and on paper it appears to improve on the original in just about every way. Based on the all-new F-150 SuperCrew, the new 2017 Raptor features bold new styling, enhanced suspension, an improved power-to-weight ratio and even better off-road agility than the previous version. “F-150 Raptor means superior off-road capability, from rock crawling to sand running,” said Dave Pericak, Ford Performance global director. “With the addition of SuperCrew, F-150 Raptor customers can leave the pavement behind — without sacrificing comfort and space.”

© Ford Motor Company2017 Ford F-150 Raptor
Following in the tire tracks of the F-150 lineup, the Raptor will get its power from a unique high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine teamed with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Power ratings have not been released; however, Ford does claim this new engine will produce more power than the outgoing 6.2-liter V8 — so we expect to see between 450 and 500 horsepower. Raptor also gets a new 4-wheel drive configuration that features an all-new Terrain Management System that lets the driver optimize vehicle dynamics to specific conditions — snow, mud, sand and more.

© General Motors2016 Cadillac ATS-V
Price: Starting at $60,465 sedan; $62,665 coupe
Cadillac’s entry-level model is the latest car from GM’s premium brand to get the V-Series treatment. The ATS-V is available as a coupe or sedan and features the first use of a twin-turbo engine in a V-Series Cadillac. The 3.6-liter V6 produces 464 horsepower and 444 lb-ft of torque, and is teamed with either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. “As the smallest and lightest V-Series ever, the ATS-V forges a great connection with the driver, with exceptional nimbleness and responsiveness,” said David Leone, Cadillac executive chief engineer.

© General MotorsCadillac ATS-V
This small Cadillac offers impressive performance — 60 mph arrives in just 3.8 seconds and top speed approaches 190 mph. Brembo high-performance brakes provide the necessary stopping power, and GM’s Magnetic Ride Control keeps the ATS-V connected with the road. The ATS-V is also 25 percent stiffer than the standard ATS. The ATS-V will easily stand out from non-V models with a vented carbon-fiber hood, unique front and rear fascias, the signature mesh-pattern grille and the wide fender flares that house 18-inch lightweight aluminum wheels.

© FCA US2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT
Price: Starting at $65,595
The Jeep Grand Cherokee has delivered superior off-road performance for more than 20 years, but today most SUV owners never leave the pavement. So to bring impressive performance to the street, Jeep has the Grand Cherokee SRT. Easy to spot, the SRT stands out from the everyday Grand Cherokee via its signature 7-slot upper grille with black screen insert, and Bi-Xenon headlights surrounded by signature LED lights. The headlights on the SRT feature a unique black background, further distinguishing it from other Grand Cherokees.

© FCA US2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT
The SRT version of the Grand Cherokee gets its oomph from a 6.4-liter V8 delivering 475 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. With full-time all-wheel drive, the Grand Cherokee SRT rockets to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, and with big Brembo brakes providing stopping power this fast SUV can go from zero to 100 mph and back to zero in just 16.3 seconds. To optimize performance, drivers can choose drive modes that separately control the all-wheel-drive system, transmission, paddle shifters, stability control, suspension and steering.

© FCA US LLC2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Price: Starting at $65,945
Not long ago the elite sports cars on the market were boasting 500-plus horsepower, and only ultra-exotics from small factories had more than 700 horsepower — and certainly nothing with four doors. That is until Dodge unleashed the 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 that much power doesn’t make this car stand out from the crowd, what really makes this car amazing is that it comfortably seats five, has all the latest high-tech convenience features and has road manners that make it pleasant enough to drive every day.

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
The stats of the Charger SRT Hellcat 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. Now if only they’d build a wagon version . . .

© General Motors2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Price: Starting at $79,400
In production since 1953, the Corvette is often referred to as America’s sports car. Just one year after taking the wraps off the all-new seventh-generation Corvette, Chevrolet debuted the most powerful production Vette ever, the Z06. The supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine puts out 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, making the Z06 the more powerful than any General Motors production vehicle ever made.

© General Motors2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
The capability of the Z06 is extraordinary. As expected, this special Corvette is very fast — 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. For 2016 a limited run of Z06 C7.R editions are available, painted to match the C7-R race car and featuring a number of high-performance add-ons.

© General Motors2016 Cadillac CTS-V
Price: Starting at $83,995
If you’re looking for a luxury sedan with outrageous performance, the new Cadillac CTS-V might be the car for you. 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. Cadillac wants to challenge the leading performance sedans from Mercedes and BMW, and the CTS-V is certainly up to the job. 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.

© General Motors2016 Cadillac CTS-V
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.

© FCA US2016 Dodge Viper
Price: Starting at $87,895
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. A customizable instrument cluster displays statistics including zero to 60 mph time, zero to 100 mph time, braking distance and top-speed performance. In no way are we implying that the Viper has gone soft — far from it. In fact, the Viper ACR has managed to set records at more than a dozen racetracks around the country.

© FCA US2016 Dodge Viper
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. With this kind of performance and the head-turning looks, the $85,000 price tag starts to look like a bargain.

© Tesla Motors2016 Tesla Model S P90D
Price: Starting at $108,000 (before tax credits and incentives)
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.

© Tesla MotorsTesla Model S P90D
The P90D offers performance that easily matches or bests similar gasoline-powered options. 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 three 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.

© Perry SternFalcon F7
Price: $250,000 (est.)
Most of the cars coming out of Detroit, even those on this list, are relatively common — at least when compared to the Falcon F7. The small, specialized car company based in the Motor City hand builds about 12 cars per year, and most are sold to Michigan residents. An F7 is the ultimate exotic for those who don’t want a Ferrari or Lamborghini, and it certainly doesn’t sacrifice any performance. It also turns heads as quickly as those Italian exotics.

© Perry SternFalcon F7
All body panels on the F7 are made from carbon fiber and Kevlar, while the chassis features lightweight aluminum. The entire car weighs only 2,785 pounds — about 500 less than a Chevrolet Corvette. The standard powerplant is a 620-horsepower V8 based on the GM LS7 motor; it can hit 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds on its way to a top speed around 200 mph. Falcon also offers an upgrade to a twin-turbo Lingenfelter V8 engine that puts out 1100 horsepower for considerably faster stats.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2017 Ford GT
Price: $400,000 (est.)
In 1966 three Ford GT race cars beat Ferrari to sweep the podium at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, and 50 years later Ford is commemorating that feat with the introduction of an all-new Ford GT. This sexy-looking supercar made its debut last year at the Detroit Auto Show, and we anticipate it will live up to the hype. Ford expects the mid-engine 2017 GT to be a showcase for extreme EcoBoost performance, aerodynamics and lightweight carbon fiber construction.

© Perry Stern2017 Ford GT
Complete details about the new car have not been released, but we hear the GT will sport the most powerful EcoBoost production engine ever. The twin-turbo V6 is expected to generate more than 600 horsepower. “The GT is the ultimate execution of an enthusiast supercar,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president of global product development. “GT includes innovations and technologies that can be applied broadly across Ford’s future product portfolio,” Nair added. With demand sure to exceed supply, Ford is conducting an application process to determine “who will be invited to discuss a potential Ford GT purchase.”

© Hennessey Performance Engineering2016 Hennessey Venom GT
Price: Starting at $1.4 Million
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 was the Venom GT. A headline 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.

© Hennessey Performance Engineering2016 Hennessey Venom GT
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.


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