How Much Is Too Much?
When it comes to horsepower in a road-going automobile, how much is too much? Some might say there is no such thing as too much horsepower, and it seems like a growing number of car companies would agree. Even as car shoppers the world over seek more fuel-efficient rides (and automakers work diligently to deliver those fuel-thrifty cars), automakers also offer at least a dozen new sports cars that boast more than 1000 horsepower. One thousand. The powertrains required to generate that kind of output range from large V8s to hybrids to fully-electric systems. What follows are the current crop and upcoming range of road-legal machines that make up the 1000-Horsepower Club. Note that several tuning companies will upgrade vehicles to this level of power. However, the vehicles listed here all come with at least 1000 horsepower directly from the manufacturer.
Aston Martin Valhalla
Horsepower: 1000-plus (estimate)
While Aston Martin still offers a range of beautifully luxurious sports cars, the company continues its journey into the hypercar world. Just as deliveries were beginning for the extreme Aston Martin Valkyrie, the British marque introduced the next extreme model to join the Valkyrie. Initially called the AM-RB 003 — the RB representing Red Bull’s involvement in the project — this new model has been given a proper V name — Valhalla. The Valhalla features all the performance expected of a hypercar but with slightly more practicality. The center console has been widened to provide more space between driver and passenger, and there is even some luggage space behind the seats.
Aston Martin Valhalla
Although there’s no denying that Valhalla is one sexy-looking machine, the shape and design are primarily driven by aerodynamics. In true exotic fashion, the Valhalla employs next-generation aircraft morphing technology that can create a variable airfoil across the entire rear wing for improved downforce. Details about Valhalla’s powertrain have not been released — beyond the fact that motivation will come from an all-new Aston Martin turbocharged V6 hybrid engine. Given that the Valkyrie boasts more than 1100 horsepower, educated musings suggest that engine power for Valhalla will be in a similar realm. Only 500 Valhallas will be sold when the new model becomes available in 2022.
Aston Martin Valkyrie
This British marque is well known for building luxurious high-performance sports cars, but a few years ago the company announced it was introducing its first hypercar. The mid-engine Valkyrie was designed to bring Formula One performance to a street-legal car, making full use of Red Bull Racing’s experience and technology on the circuit. The entire vehicle is comprised of carbon fiber — in fact, there is not one steel component in the Valkyrie. With extreme aerodynamics and lightweight construction, handling will be unlike any other road car.
Aston Martin Valkyrie
With a naturally-aspirated 6.5-liter V12 engine teamed with a battery-electric system, total output for the Valkyrie is 1160 horsepower at a screaming 10500 rpm with 664 lb-ft of torque peaking at 6000 rpm. Performance stats haven’t been released; however, the Valkyrie should sprint to 60 mph in under 3 seconds easily, with a top speed certain to exceed 200 mph. Only 150 Valkyries will be built, and all have been spoken for. First deliveries began late last year.
Bugatti Chiron Sport
The Bugatti Chiron is already one of the most extreme sports cars available, but the company is offering an even higher-performance Chiron — the Chiron Sport. The Sport gets the same powerplant as the “regular” Chiron: an 8.0-liter quad-turbo W16 engine producing 1500 horsepower and an insane 1180 lb-ft of torque available as low as 2000 rpm. The Sport features a dynamic handling package that provides a stiffer suspension and torque vectoring while reducing weight by around 40 pounds. In an effort to reduce weight to every last ounce, the Chiron Sport has carbon fiber windshield wipers — the first time carbon fiber has been used on wipers for a production car.
Bugatti Chiron Sport
Acceleration figures haven’t changed from the original Chiron — the Chiron Sport still sprints to 62 mph in less than 2.5 seconds and 124 mph comes up in around 6.5 seconds on the way to a top speed of 261 mph. The primary advantage of the Sport is improved handling and much greater agility. According to Bugatti, the Chiron Sport is able to complete a lap of the Nardo handling circuit 5 seconds faster than the standard Chiron. Chiron Sport also gets unique wheels and a new four-pipe exhaust deflector.
When it comes to the ultimate extreme sports car on the planet, most auto aficionados will think of the Bugatti Chiron. With enormous power and a top speed north of 260 mph, this car resides at a different level than practically any other. However, Bugatti felt it could make a special version that would not only be more exclusive but also offer better handling and performance —the new Bugatti Divo. Design changes that differentiate Divo from Chiron are primarily functional — all with the goal of improving agility and performance.
The newly-designed wider front spoiler on the Divo provides higher downforce as well as more airflow, which improves overall cooling. The roof of the Divo has been shaped to direct air into the engine to help manage operating temperatures. Bugatti engineers have also adjusted the steering and suspension for more direct response and sportier driving. While power and acceleration figures remain the same as the Chiron, the Divo is able to lap the Nardo handling circuit a full 8 seconds faster than the Chiron.
Bugatti La Voiture Noire
Bugatti created a handcrafted, one-off hyper sports car, La Voiture Noire, and unveiled it to attending media on opening day of the 2019 Geneva Motor Show press preview. Produced for a Bugatti enthusiast, La Voiture Noire is a stunning, sleek grand touring coupe with sculpted bodywork in black carbon fiber — a modern sports car that pays tribute to the legendary Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic developed by Ettore Bugatti’s son, Jean.
Bugatti La Voiture Noire
Under the hood of the Bugatti La Voiture Noire resides the same engine that powers the Bugatti Chiron Sport: an 8.0-liter W16 with quad turbochargers producing 1500 horsepower and 1180 lb-ft of torque. “For Bugatti, ‘La Voiture Noire’ is more than just a reminiscence of the Atlantic,” said Bugatti President Stephan Winkelmann. “We are paying tribute to a long tradition, to France and to the creative work of Jean Bugatti. At the same time, we are transferring extraordinary technology, aesthetics and extreme luxury to a new age.” According to Bugatti, a car collector purchased La Voiture Noire for 11 million Euros — approximately 12.4 million dollars — making it the world’s most expensive new car.
Continuing the celebration of its 110th anniversary, this French supercar company with an Italian name — which happens to be owned by the German Volkswagen Group — unveiled the very exclusive Centodieci, a car designed as a tribute to a previous Bugatti supercar, the EB110. As expected, the Centodieci is based on Bugatti’s current extreme supercar, the Chiron. That said, designers and engineers had significant hurdles to overcome beyond simply swapping out Chiron body panels to create the Centodieci. The Chiron’s complex design incorporates bodywork as an integral part of the car’s aerodynamics and cooling, as well as its high speed.
The original EB 110 was powered by a V12; the Centodieci features Bugatti’s incredible 8.0-liter W16 engine that produces almost three times the power of that original V12 — 1600 horsepower. The sprint to 62 mph occurs in a lightning-like 2.4 seconds, 124 mph goes by in 6.1 seconds and in a bit over 13 seconds this Bugatti will be accelerating past 186 mph. Top speed is electronically limited to 236 mph. “It’s not just the top speed that makes a hyper sports car. With the Centodieci, we once again demonstrate that design, quality and performance are just as important,” said Bugatti President Stephan Winkelmann. Engineers were able to reduce the weight of the Centodieci compared to the Chiron, which permits even better performance and handling. Bugatti will build only 10 of the Centodieci, with the price starting at €8 million (US$8.9 million). Don’t bother reaching for that checkbook — all 10 have been sold.
An all-new company based in Los Angeles, Czinger has introduced its first model and it is getting plenty of attention — for good reason. The 21C is a hybrid hypercar with standout exterior styling and a unique interior. There is seating or two, but the passenger sits behind the drive so both are in the center of the vehicle — jetfighter style, as the company points out. This not only keeps weight in the center of the car, it provides the best driving position. Czinger uses an innovative approach to weight savings and production by integrating the cooling, fluid routing and exhaust sound management directly into the chassis structure. The result is a vehicle that weighs less than 2,700 pounds.
Powering the Czinger 21C is an in-house 2.88-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that redlines at 11,000 rpm, teamed with two high-output electric motors for a total of 1250 horsepower. The electric motors power each front wheel individually, creating an all-wheel-drive system with torque vectoring. Power gets sent through an ultralight 7-speed sequential gearbox. Performance figures are astounding: 62 mph in 1.9 seconds, and in 15 seconds the 21C is passing 186 mph. In less than 30 seconds the 21C is at 248 mph. Czinger plans to build 80 copies of the 21C.
Hennessey Venom F5
The Hennessey name has long been associated with making cars — and trucks — go faster. Throughout its history, the American tuner has upped the performance on an array of vehicles ranging from sports cars to SUVs. Now Hennessey Motor Sports is building its own vehicle from the ground up called the Venom F5 – successor to the 270-mph Venom GT. The F5 features a new chassis and a carbon fiber body shaped to have the least possible drag. With active aero components, the F5’s coefficient of drag is a mere 0.33 — a very slippery car. Although aerodynamics is important, so is weight savings. The lightweight chassis and carbon fiber body help the F5 tip the scales at 2,950 lbs.
Hennessey Venom F5
With the goal of making this one of the fastest cars in the world, the F5 will be powered by a newly developed 6.6-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that generates an astronomical 1817 horsepower and 1193 lb-ft of torque. “We exceeded our target horsepower number. Actually, we blew our target number out of the water by delivering over 1,800 horsepower,” said company founder and CEO John Hennessey. “The F5 engine has an extremely broad power band with over 1000 lb-ft of torque available from 2000 to 8000 rpm. Give it the full throttle and it’s the most furious engine that we have ever built. Thus, we gave our F5 engine a special name: “Fury,” Hennessey noted. Some outrageous Venom stats: The F5 is expected to reach 186 mph (300 km/h) in less than 10 seconds. Hennessey also claims this new hypercar should sprint to 249 mph (400 km/h) and back to a standstill in under 30 seconds. Most importantly, Hennessey hopes the F5 will reach the ultimate goal of exceeding 300 mph. Only 24 Venom F5s will be built, half of which will be sold in America. The price is currently set at $1.6 million, with deliveries commencing later this year or early next year.
Hispano Suiza Carmen
One hundred and fifteen years ago, Damián Mateu and Marc Birkigt founded a car company in Barcelona called Hispano-Suiza. Until the mid-1940s the company turned out more than 12,000 luxury automobiles. After what would be considered a rather lengthy hiatus, the company is back with an all-new model that debuted at last year’s Geneva Motor Show. Named for Carmen Mateu — the granddaughter of the company’s founder and mother of the current president — the Carmen is a fully-electric luxury hypercar. Styling is heavily influenced by early Hispano-Suiza models, particularly the 1938 Hispano-Suiza H6C Dubonnet Xenia, of which only one was ever produced.
Hispano Suiza Carmen
While the Carmen may look to the past for style, the powertrain is definitely gazing into the future. Working with QEV Technologies, Hispano Suiza has outfitted the Carmen with two electric motors — one on each rear wheel — that combine to generate just over 1000 horsepower. Power is controlled via a sophisticated torque-vectoring system, allowing the Carmen to rocket to 62 mph in less than 3 seconds. The 80-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack should provide range of around 250 miles. Only 19 Carmens will be built — at a price set at €1.5 million. Deliveries are expected to start in 2022.
Swedish automaker Koenigsegg is well known for building extreme sports cars, but the company may have redefined the high-performance family car. The all-new Gemera is the brand’s first four-seater, referred to as a “Mega-GT.” This sexy sports car offers room for four adults and some luggage space, as well as a luxurious cabin outfitted with features such as heated and cooled cupholders, front and rear seat infotainment displays, a Wi-Fi hotspot, memory foam heated seats, exterior and interior cameras and an 11-speaker high-end audio system.
Those passengers better hold tight to their beverages, since the Gemera lives up to the Koenigsegg reputation. Power comes from a 2.0-liter 3-cylinder twin-turbo Freevalve engine (nicknamed The Friendly Giant) that produces 600 horsepower, teamed with three electric motors — one for each rear wheel and one on the crankshaft. Total output is 1700 horsepower, which will move the Gemera to 62 mph in less than 2 seconds with a top speed expected to approach 250 mph. Koenigsegg says that the Gemera can reach 186 mph in electric-mode only, and it has a range of about 31 electric-only miles. Only 300 of these unique vehicles are expected to be produced.
This Swedish supercar company introduced the Jesko at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show as the successor to the powerful Agera RS. The all-new Jesko — named for the founder’s father — is a car suited for both street and track. The Jesko’s carbon-fiber monocoque chassis is slightly longer and taller than the Agera, which provides a roomier cabin. Styling is clearly Koenigsegg; however, the massive rear spoiler is what instantly draws the eye. At high speed the Jesko generates more than 2,200 pounds of downforce for excellent grip and handling.
Powering the Jesko is a redesigned 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that produces 1280 horses on standard gasoline, and when fueled by E85 biofuel, the output rating jumps to an incredible 1600 horsepower. This energy gets directed through an all-new 9-speed “Light Speed Transmission” that was designed in-house and allows for practically instant gear changes from any gear to any gear without needing them to be sequential. Koenigsegg also announced that there will be a sibling to the Jesko — the Jesko 300. With less downforce and more streamlined aerodynamics, the Jesko 300 is named for the goal of breaking the elusive 300-mph mark.
Introduced a few years ago at the Geneva Motor Show, the Regera is considered the flagship of the Koenigsegg lineup, combining a high level of luxury with the extreme performance expected from this Swedish car company. Inside the sleek sports car, lucky occupants will find memory-foam power seats, a 9-inch display screen, Wi-Fi connectivity, Apple CarPlay and ambient lighting. The roof is removable and can be stowed under the front hood. Although passengers will enjoy the comfortable interior, this car is really all about extreme performance.
Powering this supercar is a 5.0-liter 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 is reported to exceed 1500 horsepower with 1475 lb-ft of torque. Weighing in at 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. According to the carmaker, the direct-drive transmission delivers extreme performance while offering an impressively smooth driving experience. It is also possible to drive the Regera in complete silence in EV mode.
Lotus Cars established its retail reputation building lightweight, high-performance sports cars equally at home on both track and street. In that vein, Lotus has taken the wraps off its all-new flagship sports car — the Evija, pronounced ih-VIE-uh. Not only is Evija the first hypercar from Lotus, it’s also the brand’s first fully-electric vehicle. One look at this new Evija and it’s clear the car is something special. The first Lotus built on a full carbon fiber chassis, the Evija sits low and wide with a sleek silhouette that introduces a new design language for the marque. Deeply sculpted from all angles, the Evija seems to have air ducts flowing through all parts of the body. The rear view is unique with large Venturi tunnel outlets surrounded by LED ribbon-style brake lights.
Aside from the standout design, the Evija sets itself apart from other hypercars with a fully-electric powertrain. Four Electrical Drive Units consist of an ultralight, single-speed, helical gear ground planetary gearbox tied to a high-power electric motor. Mounted at each wheel, these units have a power target of around 500 horses each — giving the Evija an estimated 1973 horsepower and 1254 lb-ft of torque. With each motor able to be operated independently, the Evija has full-time all-wheel drive as well as torque vectoring, which should provide exceptional handling and agility. The Evija’s acceleration is expected to be quite dramatic — the jump to 62 mph will take less than 3 seconds with a top speed in excess of 200 mph. Perhaps even more impressive, Lotus predicts the Evija will accelerate from 62 mph to 124 mph in less than 3 seconds, and 124 to 186 in another 4 seconds. Lotus plans to create a mere 130 copies of the Evija, and production is expected to begin later in 2020 at a price of £1.7 million (approx. USD$2 million) each.
Many would argue that the McLaren F1 is one of the most significant sports cars ever built, breaking a 10-year-old record in 1998 to become the world’s fastest production car by clocking a maximum speed of 240.14 mph. The British carmaker subsequently created some thrilling sports cars, but nothing could really be considered a proper successor to that iconic F1 until now: enter the McLaren Speedtail. Referred to as a “Hyper-GT,” the Speedtail is now the fastest production McLaren ever, with a top speed of 250 mph. The Speedtail is constructed around a carbon-fiber McLaren Monocage and makes extensive use of lightweight materials throughout. This includes a body made entirely from carbon fiber, aluminum active suspension and carbon-ceramic brakes — all contributing to a low vehicle weight of 3,153 pounds.
The Speedtail uses a gas-electric hybrid system that generates a total of 1055 horsepower and a massive 848 lb-ft of torque. With that much power on tap, the Speedtail can reach 186 mph in less than 13 seconds. In homage to the iconic F1, the new Speedtail possesses some striking similarities. Only 106 F1s were built, so McLaren will be limiting the production of the Speedtail to the same 106 models — all of which have been reserved. Most noticeable is the seating — when it debuted the F1 was pioneering in many ways, but it stood out for having the driver sitting in the center of the cockpit, flanked by two passenger seats set farther back. This same seat configuration has been carried over to the new Speedtail. The McLaren Speedtail will have a starting price of £1.75 million (US$2.25 million). Deliveries of the first of the 106 Speedtails began earlier this year.
A few years ago Mercedes-AMG celebrated the brand’s 50th anniversary with the introduction of the Project ONE show car. This sexy 2-seat coupe borrows from Mercedes’ extensive Formula One experience and is basically a street-legal race car. When most car companies refer to bringing their racing technology and experience to the street, it usually isn’t as literal as what Mercedes-AMG has done. The Project ONE utilizes a full-fledged Formula One hybrid drive system consisting of a hybrid turbocharged combustion engine that employs four electric motors.
Power comes from the same engine found in a Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One race car — a 1.6-liter direct-injection V6 that uses an electrically-assisted turbocharger. The electric motor can drive the compressor turbine up to 100,000 rpm in the right situation. The V6 can rev up to 11,000 rpm, and an additional electric motor pairs with the V6 and features a direct link to the driveshaft. As if this were not enough, two electric motors fitted to the front axle provide acceleration and braking at each wheel for better stability and all-wheel-drive control. This very complex system of electric motors, gas engine and turbocharger comes together to produce more than 1000 horsepower. Eschewing the industry-standard zero-to-60 mph stat, Mercedes-AMG is only reporting that this extreme supercar will reach 124 mph (200 km/h) in less than 6 seconds. Top speed is reported at 217 mph. Mercedes-Benz plans to build 275 AMG One models (based on the Project ONE show car) with deliveries expected in 2021.
The Pininfarina name has adorned some of the most beautiful cars ever built, but rather than being the design house for another car company, this time Pininfarina is building its own car. Named for Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina, who founded the Carrozzeria Pininfarina coachbuilding company in 1930, the new Battista is an all-electric hyper GT car with a stunning carbon fiber body and carbon fiber monocoque chassis. Although the design is completely Pininfarina, the fully-electric powertrain comes from the Croatian car company Rimac.
The Battista gets four electric motors — one at each wheel — for a combined output of 1900 horsepower and almost 1700 lb-ft of torque. This results in astounding acceleration — 62 mph is achieved in 1.9 seconds. With a 120 kWh Lithium-Ion battery pack, the Battista can travel about 280 miles on a single charge. Deliveries of the Pininfarina Battista will start later this year with only 150 planned for production. When it arrives, the Pininfarina Battista will be the most powerful street-legal car ever designed and built in Italy.
Rimac C Two
One of the most extreme cars in this list — which is a high rung to reach — is the Rimac C Two. The second model from Croatia-based Rimac, the C Two is billed as the most powerful electric hypercar in the world (at least for now). The C Two is powered by four electric motors — one at each wheel — for a combined output of 1914 horsepower. Almost 1700 lb-ft of torque is generated instantly for acceleration that would leave just about any other car in its dust. The sprint to 60 mph takes 1.85 seconds and it passes 186 mph in 11.8 seconds. Top speed is listed as 256 mph, and Rimac claims the C Two will have a range of 550 km (about 342 miles) with its 120 kWh battery capacity.
Rimac C Two
The C Two was designed and engineered in house by Rimac and features one of the world’s largest single-piece carbon-fiber monocoques. The batteries and powertrain are integrated into the monocoque for greater torsional stiffness. Double-wishbone suspension with electronically-controlled dampers provides a smooth and comfortable ride, while the electric motors at each wheel work together for impressive dynamic control. The C Two is expected to go into production sometime in 2020. Only 150 will be built, and it will be certified for sale globally — including the U.S.
One of the few American-made cars on this list, the Tuatara comes from SSC North America, a small company located in Richland, Washington. The company has not produced many cars to date, but the Tuatara has some big shoes to fill — its predecessor is the Ultimate Aero, which in September of 2007 became the world’s fastest production car at 256.14 mph. Designed to exceed the Ultimate Aero’s performance, the Tuatara makes extensive use of carbon fiber — the body, frame and monocoque are all constructed from this lightweight yet strong material. At the touch of a button, dihedral doors open to reveal a cockpit designed for both comfort and the driving experience.
The mid-engine Tuatara has a twin-turbo 5.9-liter V8 engine that produces 1750 horsepower and a massive 1280 lb-ft of torque. Power gets sent to the rear wheels via a CIMA 7-speed automatic gearbox, capable of shifts in less than 100 milliseconds. In addition to its astounding power, the Tuatara has an extremely low .279 drag coefficient. With active aerodynamics the Tuatara can maintain a 37:63 front to rear balance from 90 mph to beyond 300 mph. Performance stats have not been released, although it’s safe to anticipate that the Tuatara should easily reach 60 mph in less than 3 seconds; the company’s goal with the Tuatara is to attain a top speed in excess of 300 mph. SSC plans to build a total of 100 Tuataras with a starting price around $1.6 million.
If exclusivity and extreme performance are required, the Zenvo TSR-S may be the perfect solution. This Danish car company plans to build only five of these high-performance cars annually, so the odds of seeing another (or even one) on the road are rather slim. “Like all our cars, the Zenvo TSR-S is 100 percent Danish-designed and hand-built in an extremely limited number,” said Zenvo Marketing Director Peter van Rooy. “Each car is fully customizable and built to order, tailored to the precise specifications of the discerning client,” van Rooy noted.
This sleek exotic is powered by a twin-supercharged 5.8-liter V8 engine that produces 1177 horsepower and 811 lb-ft of torque. The run to 62 mph comes up in 2.8 seconds, and twice that speed in 6.8 seconds. One of the craziest features on the TSR-S is the Zentripetal Wing. This rear spoiler has two rotational axes that allow it to act as an air brake or cornering stabilizer. When the TSR-S corners, the wing rotates relative to the car’s longitudinal axis. This theoretically generates an inward force together with conventional downforce, boosting inner tire grip and cornering stability.