The fastest production cars in the world
Lamborghini, Ferrari and Porsche all build cars capable of exceeding 200mph. The cars on this list can do significantly more than that...
Speed matters, especially when it comes to the fastest cars in the world.
But what manufacturers claim their multi-million pound hypercars are capable of and what they have actually been proven to achieve are two very different things. That’s why this list focuses on recorded times, not the ‘theoretical’ top speed figures. Unless it set a time in real life, it hasn’t made the cut.
Like owning a watch that works on the moon, or a pen that can write at 200m under the sea, it’s nice to know that, your car can perform miles-per-hour miracles - were you to find somewhere where it was safe and legal to do so.
With that in mind, here are the fastest production road cars by the numbers. And because chasing top speed is such a wild and outlandish pursuit, we've gone for a Spinal Tap top 11, rather than the usual 10.
-11. McLaren F1 - 240.1mph-
Famously set by racing driver Andy Wallace at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien test track in March 1998, the monumental British hypercar carried the title of World’s fastest production car for the best part of 15 years. However, that figure required the rev limiter to be raised to 8,300rpm - no production F1 has ever been recorded at more than 211mph, though unmodified, the 6.1-litre V12 should be capable of a still astonishing 221mph.
*Autocar's exclusive McLaren F1 road test: 25 years on*
-10. Koenigsegg CCR - 241.1mph-
The car that knocked the F1 off the top spot did so at Italy’s Nardo Ring test track in February 2005. Koenigsegg’s second-ever production model used a 4.7-litre twin-supercharged V8 to produce north of 800bhp and urge it on to beat McLaren by a single mile per hour. The record wouldn’t stand for long, however; just two months later, Bugatti would take the crown in spectacular fashion.
*Autocar road test review: Koenigsegg CC8S (2002-2004)*
-9. McLaren Speedtail - 250mph-
There’s an argument that McLaren should have put an end to all top speed bragging rights when its iconic F1 clocked 240.1mph with Le Man winner Andy Wallace at the wheel. The Gordon Murray-designed machine held the record for 18 years, while it took McLaren 22 years before it could better its original record-breaker with the Speedtail. Like its ancestor, it featured a novel three-seater layout with a central driving position, but its combination of 747bhp twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 and 309bhp of electrification delivers a total output of 1055bhp and a top speed of 250mph.
Autocar's review of the McLaren Speedtail
-8. Bugatti Veyron 16.4 - 253.8mph-
At the time it was the most expensive and most powerful road car ever built, but VW Group bosses wanted the Bugatti Veyron to be officially the fastest car in the world as well. An 8.0-litre quad-turbocharged W16 engine produced 987bhp from the factory, with a seven-speed automatic gearbox sending power all four wheels. The car had to be put into its Top Speed Mode for the run, activated with a special key that retracts the rear spoiler, shuts the front air diffuser and lowers the ground clearance to just 6.5cm. The result? A record-breaking 253.8mph at VW’s Ehra-Lessien test facility.
*Autocar road test review: Bugatti Veyron (2005-2015)*
-7. SSC Ultimate Aero TT - 256.1mph-
SSC, then known as Shelby Supercars, produced the Ultimate Aero for seven years - not a long lifespan, but long enough to overtake Bugatti in the top speed stakes. In September 2007, the 1183bhp, twin-turbocharged V8 hypercar used a temporarily-closed two-lane stretch of public road near the Washington company’s headquarters to set an average top speed of just over 256mph.
*SSC Ultimate Aero TT first drive review*
-6. Bugatti Veyron Super Sport - 267.8mph-
Not happy to have the record taken from it, and by an American car at that, Bugatti gave the Veyron a substantial overhaul in order to raise its top speed even further and have a new go at winning the title. The Veyron Super Sport was limited to just 30 cars, with each one seeing power output boosted to 1184bhp and aerodynamics overhauled to cope with the forces it would experience beyond 250mph. In July 2010, Bugatti test driver Pierre Henri Raphanel lapped the Ehra-Lessien oval at 267.856mph.
*Used car buying guide: Bugatti Veyron (2005-2015)*
-5. Hennessey Venom GT - 270.4mph-
American tuning house Hennessey Performance Engineering is no stranger to speed, having previously taken its Dodge Viper-based Venom beyond 215mph. It was the Venom GT, which used a Lotus Exige as its foundation, that would go on to steal the record from Bugatti - though not without controversy. In February 2014, on the 3.2-mile space shuttle landing runway at Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre, it recorded a one-way speed of 270.49mph. However, NASA wouldn’t let Hennessey attempt an opposite direction run, and so it didn’t qualify for an official Guinness World Record.
*Hennessey Venom GT sets new top speed record*
-4. Hennessey Venon F5 - 271.6mph-
Unlike its Lotus Elise-based predecessor, the F5 Venom is a bespoke build from the ground up - a first for the Anglo American firm. Featuring a carbon-fibre tub and a twin-turbocharged 6.6-litre V8 that packs a monstrous 1817bhp and gearbox-shredding 1193lb ft, the F5 claims a to blast from 0-250mph in just 15.5 seconds, which the brand claims is half the time of a Bugatti Chiron. Hennessy also promises a top speed of 341mph, although 271.6mph is as fast as the car has gone so far.
-3. Koenigsegg Agera RS - 277.8mph-
When it used a customer-owned Agera RS to earn the outright world record top speed in 2017, Koenigsegg also took the record for the highest speed ever recorded on a public road. Mercedes had held that particular crown since 1938 when a highly modified W125 Grand Prix car managed 268mph on a closed stretch of Autobahn. As an indication of 80 years of progress, the Agera RS was entirely standard, with the company’s optional 1MW engine package producing a colossal 1360bhp.
*Koenigsegg Agera RS breaks its own 0-400-0kph record*
-2. SSC Tuatara - 295mph-
Mired in controversy from the outset, the Tuatara’s initial claim of an ‘official’ 331mph top speed run was quickly debunked following claims of misleading video ‘evidence’ and some belated admissions that there may have been ‘accuracy’ issues with the data logging kit. However, with its twin turbocharged 5.9-litre V8 developing 1750bhp when running on E85 bio-ethanol fluid, the SSC is clearly no slouch, as owner Larry Caplin proved when he logged a verified 295mph at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA, early in 2022.
-1. Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ - 304.7mph-
The undisputed top speed champion is once again a Bugatti. Again limited to 30 customer cars, like the Veyron Super Sport, this purpose-built speed machine was taken to 304.773mph by British sportscar veteran Andy Wallace at the VW Group’s Ehra-Lessien test track. Appropriately nicknamed Thor (because it brings the thunder), the Chiron’s quad-turbocharged W16 engine produced 1578bhp in record-setting guise. It was given a new gearbox with longer ratios, and front and rear bumpers that were optimised for high speed runs.
*Record 304mph Bugatti Chiron makes public debut*
-Who will be next to break the record? -
With Bugatti having promised to bow out of setting production car speed records, there are several potential successors to its crown. For instance, the makers of both SSC Tuatara and Hennessey Venom F5 clain that there's more speed to come from their machines.
However, if any manufacturer is going to topple Bugatti from the fastest-of-all-time list, then its Koenigsegg. It's string of wild supercars has rarely failed to live up to its promise, so its Kesko Absolut should be something a bit special.
Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut - over 330mph (claimed)
You didn’t think Koenigsegg was going to let Bugatti keep the record for long, did you? The Swedish film has yet to confirm an official top speed for its 1600bhp+ hypercar, which it says will be the fastest car it will ever produce. Simulations suggest the combination of twin-turbocharged, 5.0-litre V8 engine, a low 0.278 drag coefficient and unique multi-clutch 9-speed transmission will allow for a top speed of 330mph.
*New Koenigsegg Jesko: 300mph hypercar arrives at Goodwood*
*Fastest ever Nurburgring lap times - the definitive rundown*
*The fastest cars around the Autocar handling circuit*
*The fastest production car in each decade*