Ever since the invention of the first production cars, consumers and manufacturers alike have been testing the limits of speed. In 1894 this was the Benz Velo, topping out at 12mph, unbelievable at the time. Half a century later, Aston Martin was breaking 150mph in its DB4 GT, and today Koenigsegg and Bugatti are producing road-legal cars that can top 300mph. And they're not stopping there.
Though the competition for the fastest production car is hotter than ever, it's hard to pin down who exactly holds the title. Do you measure it by top recorded speed, or average over two or more runs? Do you use a track, and if so, which track? There aren't any definitive answers to these questions, which means there are lots of contenders for the fastest production cars in 2022.
It goes without saying that these aren't everyday cars you'll see in your neighborhood. Many of the hypercars that break records aren't designed to be used by everyday consumers. Even those that make some concessions for comfort and drivability need a firm and confident hand to keep them under the speed limit on regular roads. Not to mention the price tag of each of these vehicles, which is generally in the millions. All of this means that these cars are closer to museum pieces than consumer cars: a demonstration of engineering prowess and landmarks in the history of record-breaking speeds.
How better to start this list than with a titan of supercars: the McLaren F1. Nearly 30 years after it first launched it is still a stellar example of engineering and design. Its 6.1-liter V12 BMW engine can break 60 in around 3 seconds and tops out at 240.1mph, winning it the world record for road car speed for over seven years. All these years later it may have been surpassed by a number of cars (including many on this list) but, the F1 deserves recognition for its seminal role in motorsport history.
From a classic of the genre to a new kid on the block. The Jesko Absolut is one of the newest cars from hypercar makers Koenigsegg, and they are certainly putting their money where their mouth is. The Jesko Absolut is propelled by a twin-turbo V8 that promises to reach over a blistering 300mph using special E85 fuel. In fact, Koenigsegg aims for 310mph, but estimates it could go even faster in the right conditions. No wonder the company describes it as a land-based rocket ship and promises that it will never make a faster production car.
The Speedtail may not be the fastest car in the world, but it might be one of the prettiest. It's also definitely the fastest McLaren, hitting 250mph thanks to its super sleek aerodynamic design. The Speedtail combines the classic McLaren standby of a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with a 312PC electric motor, creating an overall output of 1050hp. This might seem small compared so some of the engines on this list, but the idea was to make a superfast car that is still comfortable enough for regular drivers to get a taste of hypercar speed in their everyday drives.
Even people who don't know much about hypercars will have heard something about this one. When the Volkswagen Group announced the vehicle in 2005, consumers thought their goals were completely impossible to achieve. But achieve them they did, and created the most powerful (and expensive) car in the world at the time. The 8.0-liter quad-turbo W16 engine pushed the Veyon past existing speed records to 253mph, cementing itself as a landmark in hypercar history.
Koenigsegg is back again with another blisteringly fast car. In the vein of the McLaren Speedtail, this model is intended as a "luxury Megacar alternative" to the finely tuned race-like cars that fill this list. This means detuning their usual 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine and pairing it with a more efficient gearbox and electric motors to make for a more drivable experience. Even so, this car can still outpace the best road cars, reaching 249mph.
Rimac is here to say that electric cars mean serious business. The Nevera boasts four electric motors, one on each wheel, to create a massive combined 1900PS, taking the vehicle from 0 to 62mph in just two seconds and topping out at 258mph. Not only does that make it faster than many other road cars (even some on this list) but it also can go the distance: 340 miles to be exact, thanks to its 120kWh battery.
SSC may not be as well known as McLaren or Bugatti, but when it comes to cars they've still got a lot to offer. Back in 2007, the Ultimate Aero TT had an average top speed of 256.18mph, making it the world's fastest production car at the time. This record was due in part to the car's sleek, lightweight carbon fiber design and its Corvette twin-turbo V8 engine, allowing it to reach 60mph in just under 3 seconds.
"Okay," I hear you saying, "these cars are fast, but do normal people actually drive them?" Koenigsegg set out to design an answer to this question: a four-seater GT car that can reach the same speeds as some of the more functional, stripped-back supercars. The company claims the Gemera can hit 250 mph on its 2.0-liter, three-cylinder engine powered by "Freevalve" technology and running on more sustainable fuels like ethanol and methanol. When the car starts hitting dealerships in 2023, we'll see whether these aspirations can come true.
Jumping back to the 2000's, Bugatti was not happy with SSC stealing their speed record and decided to hypercharge their already super fast Veyron. The Veyron Super Sport makes a few tweaks to the jaw dropping Veyron engine, making room for an extra 200 bhp and, as a result, another 14mph on their previous record. Bugatti held the top speed spot again at 267.8mph.
"File:2019 Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro 6.5 Front.jpg" by Vauxford is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
Aston Martin's vision for the pinnacle of road car technology has been many years in the making. The original concept emerged in 2016, and after years of design challenges the car is finally available to customers this year. Weighing a mere 1130kg and pumping out 1160 PS, this lean, mean, speed machine can top 250mph on the track and still has space for a passenger in the paired-back cockpit.
Hennessey is the odd one out on this list in that it's not a traditional car manufacturer. The company's MO is to take existing cars and tweak and tune them so they can reach break-neck speeds. The Venom GT is based on the Exige from British manufacturer Lotus, with a 7.0 liter V8 swapped in for the original 3.5-liter V6. This allows the Venom GT to top 270mph, leaving other hypercars in the dust. Keep an eye on Hennessey: they claim their follow-up to the Venom GT will reach 300mph+.
"File:Aspark Owl, IAA 2017, Frankfurt (1Y7A3341).jpg" by Matti Blume is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
Another lesser-known brand, Aspark is a Japanese company that's been developing cars since 2014. The Owl is one of its first electric hypercars and it's coming for the Rimac Nevera's title. While it's not quite meeting the standards Rimac is setting for their electric hypercar, it's definitely within the same ballpark: Asparl claims the Owl will have a range of 280 miles, top out at 248.5mph and reach 60 in just 1.69 seconds.
This young American company is a rising star in hybrid hypercar manufacturing. Czinger is a forward-looking brand making the best use of modern technologies to deliver a futuristic hypercar for today. The 21C was developed with artificial intelligence, with body components 3D printed in carbon fiber. It also boasts a 2.88-liter V8 engine, two electric motors and 7-speed robotic transmission combine to make a 268mph top speed and zero to 60 in just 1.9 seconds.
Koenigsegg is back again to assert its dominance as a top hypercar manufacturer. The Agera RS reaches an impressive top speed of 277.8mph over a two-run average, and even passed 284mph in one of its qualifying runs, setting another record in the process: zero to 250 back to zero again in just 33.2 seconds.
We're now entering into the realm of the seriously fast. After tasting the world road-speed record in the mid-2000's, SSC returned twenty years later to clinch it again. The Tuatara boasts a 5.9-liter twin-turbo V8 that gives out 1726bhp. It was time to put this new beast to the test. In 2020, SSC rather ambitiously claimed that the Tuatara had reached 316mph but couldn't back it up. Not to be defeated, they returned a year later and managed a two-run average of 282.9mph, and then came back a year after that having proved the Tuatara had reached 295mph.
Bugatti is still vying for the top spot, this time with Koenigsegg's Jesko Absolut. The latter claims to top 300mph, the former has already topped it. So confident they put it in the name, the Chiron Super Sport 300+ is packed with a 8.0-liter quad turbo W16 producing a gargantuan 1578bhp. The car has recorded a top recorded speed of 304.7mph, making it the fastest production car in the world right now.