A car is so much more than a number, and yet and enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike simply cannot resist the urge to brag or judge another’s wheels based on specifications only. Yours has a 180 horsepower engine? Mine has 250. It’s understandable — not everyone has the opportunity to get behind the wheel to evaluate steering feel, braking, or any other the other subjective measures that we continue to brag about (even if we don’t know exactly what they mean). Numbers are just cleaner.
Common performance benchmarks include price, horsepower, 0 to 60 mph time, cornering G-force, and — weightiest of all — top speed. Whether you will ever have the opportunity to experience a car at its V-Max is unlikely, and yet, inconsequential. Potential is all that matters.
With that in mind, these are the fastest cars in the world according to claimed or proven top speed. As a bonus, we’ve tacked on a couple of cars that would set records if produced. We’ve excluded purely concept or custom vehicle projects to keep things simple.
Hennessey Venom F5 – 301 mph
With all of the research and development funds available to a mainstream automaker, one would assume the world’s fastest car would come from a world-recognizable brand. Instead, Hennessey Performance Engineering owns the top spot of this list with its all-new Venom F5. The successor to the record-setting Venom GT, the F5 has a theoretical and claimed top speed of 301 mph, besting the next fastest car by a solid margin.
The Venom F5 utilizes a carbon fiber chassis and is powered by a 7.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 good for 1,600 horsepower. While Hennessey has yet to legitimize its claims, the F5 will reportedly dash from 0 to 249 mph and back to 0 in less than 30 seconds. That’s about how long it takes a mild sports car just to get from 0 to 100 mph.
SSC Tuatara – 300+ mph
It’s been seven years since we heard from SSC, when the American specialty vehicle manufacturer announced a successor to its Ultimate Aero hypercar. At the time, SSC claimed the upcoming Tuatara would hit 265 mph, but when the company revealed its production-intent model at this year’s Concours d’Elegance, the figure in question had risen to 300 mph.
Derived from a Nelson Racing Engines’ twin-turbocharged V-8, the Tuatara’s 5.9-liter flat-plane crank engine is capable of 1,750 horsepower when it runs E85 fuel. Power is routed to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automated manual gearbox. This much power combined with the car’s aero-optimized body should get SSC into the history books. The only question remaining is whether Hennessey or Koenigsegg will hit the 300 mph milestone first.
Koenigsegg Agera RS
If you’re only interested in proven claims, then the world’s fastest cars list officially starts here with the Koenigsegg Agera RS. While Hennessey’s Venom F5 claims it can do over 300 mph, Koenigsegg has actually demonstrated its Agera RS can put down an average top speed of 278 mph. How did the Swedish automaker earn its stripes?
On November 4, 2017, the Nevada Department of Transportation closed an 11-mile stretch of road just outside Las Vegas. Koenigsegg turned up with a customer-owned Agera RS and Koenigsegg factory driver Niklas Lilja put down two high-speed runs (in opposing directions). The average pace (including one run at 285 mph) was recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records.