EVERYONE wants to know what the fastest car in the world is, and here is a list of the cream of the crop. Our special guide explains which the official fastest car in the world is, as well as the unofficial one — which has actually gone faster.
We also look at the rest of the world’s fastest cars, including one which claims to have an even higher top speed than two currently sitting at the top of the pile.
The Two Fastest Cars In The World
1. The unofficial fastest car in the world
Hennessey Venom GT: 270.49mph (435.3km/h)
The Hennessey Venom GT broke the unofficial record for the fastest car in the world in February 2014 — when it hit an amazing 270.49mph. It went faster than the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, below, on the Space Shuttle runway at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
But because NASA wouldn’t let them do a run in both directions, the record has not been recognised by Guinness World Records (you can read our story about it here). That’s why the Veyron is still officially the fastest car in the world.
However, the Venom GT does hold the official Guinness World Record for the fastest production car to accelerate from 0-300km/h (0-186mph), doing it in just 13.63 seconds.
The Hennessey GT costs a mere $1million, and has a 7.0 liter V8 twin turbo engine producing 1,244bhp. You can see the Venom GT breaking the acceleration record in this cool video from slashdrive.tv here:
2. The official fastest car in the world
Bugatti Veyron Super Sport: 267.8mph (430.9km/h)
The Veyron Super Sport broke the official record for the world’s fastest production car on July 4 2010 on Volkswagen’s high-speed Ehra-Lessien test track in Germany, with the time verified by officials from Guinness World Records.
It averaged the speed during laps in both directions of the oval track, as required by the rule book. The car sold to customers is electrically limited to 258mph (415km/h) to stop the tyres exploding — which has led to Bugatti’s official title being disputed in the past.
In April 2013, its Guinness Record status was taken away because Guinness decided that the speed limiter meant it had been ‘modified’, which is not allowed under their definition of a ‘production car’.
The Ultimate Aero TT (at the time the world’s second fastest car) at that point claimed the record. But just days later Guinness did a bizarre U-turn and decided limiting the top speed was not an actual modification as it “does not alter the fundamental design of the car or its engine”.
Some may beg to differ with this, and we can see why. But anyway, despite that, and despite the fact that the Hennessy Venom GT has done over 270mph, the Super Sport’s official Guinness title of fastest car in the world holds today. The Super Sport does 0-60 in 2.4 seconds, has an 8.0 liter W16 engine producing 1,200bhp and costs an astonishing $2.4million.
You can see James May from legendary British television show Top Gear reaching 259.4mph/417.6km/h in the Super Sport and a test driver doing 267mph/431km/h here:
Fastest Car in the World: The best of the rest
Koenigsegg Agera R: 273mph (439.3km/h) claimed
Koenigsegg claim the Agera R can reach 273mph — but no official evidence of that has ever been produced. Until then, the Agera R has to be banished to this “best of the rest” section on our list.
However, the tiny Swedish manufacturer insists the car is capable of that speed and it is expected to seek official certification from a body like the Guinness World Records at some point soon.
The Agera R can do 0-62mph(100km/h) in an astonishing 2.9 seconds, 0-200mph in 17.68seconds and 0-300km/h in 14.53seconds — which was a record for acceleration until the Hennessey Venom GT (below) did it in just 13.63 seconds in early 2013.
The Agera R has a 5.0 liter V8 twin-turbo engine producing 1,140bhp and costs a meagre $1.6million. You can see a great video review of the car by the experts at caranddriver.com here:
9ff GT9-R: 257 mph (413.6km/h)
The GT9-R is based on Porsche’s most successful car the 911. It can do 0-62mph (0-100km/h) in 2.9 seconds and was designed specifically to take the title of fastest car in the world. It made its claim for the record by boasting a 257mph top speed — only to have the Bugatti Veyron come along and rain on its parade before it could be officially verified.
You’ve got to feel sorry for the guys who made it. The GT9-R has a heavily modified 4.0 liter flat 6 engine that produces up to 1,120 bhp. It costs from $695,000
SSC Ultimate Aero: 256.18mph (412.28km/h)
The SSC Ultimate Aero has twice been named the fastest car in the world. On September 13 2007 it clocked 256.18mph (412.28km/h) in West Richland, Washington, US, and had the speed verified by Guinness in October of that year.
At the time the Bugatti Veyron’s top recorded speed was 253.7mph (408.3km/h) and the $695,000 Ultimate Aero held the fastest car in the world title for two years and nine months until Bugatti took the crown again when their Super Sport model reached 267.86mph (431.072km/h).
In April 2013 the record was given back to the SSC due to the controversy over the Super Sport’s speed limiter — but it only managed to hold on to it for a week before Guinness decided that the speed limiter wasn’t a modification after all and handed the record back to Bugatti.
The Ultimate Aero has a 6.8 liter twin-turbo V8 engine producing 1,287bhp. SSC is set to release an XT version of the Ultimate Aero which they say is capable of doing 273mph, before winding up the model’s production. It will be replaced by the Tuatara, which SSC claim will have a top speed of 276mph.
Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse: 254.04mph (408.8km/h)
The $2million Grand Sport Vitesse was unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, and was built to set the record for the world’s fastest roadster — which it did by reaching a top speed of 254mph. It is electrically limited to 233mph(375km/h) on the road, has an 8.0 liter quad-turbo W16 engine producing 1,200bhp at 6,400rpm and can do 0-62mph in 2.6seconds.
Saleen S7 Twin-Turbo 248 mph (399.1km/h)
The Saleen boasts a 7.0 liter twin-turbo aluminium V8 engine producing 750horsepower. It was produced from 2005 to 2009 and cost from $585,000. It does 0-60mph (0-97km/h) in 2.8seconds.
Koenigsegg CCX: 245 mph (394.3km/h)
Featuring an all-aluminium 4.7 liter twin-supercharged V8 engine producing 806 horsepower, the Koenigsegg CCX can do O-62mph in 3.2seconds. Racing models of the CCX and CCXR, known as the Edition models, are fitted with roll bars and have a more racy 4.8 liter engine producing 1,004hp, allowing the car to do 0-62mph in 2.9seconds and reach a claimed top speed of 249mph (400km/h).
The CCXR Trevita is the world’s most expensive street-legal car, costing a hefty $4.85MILLION. The normal version of the CCX starts at around $545,000.
McLaren F1: 243mph (391km/h)
The McLaren F1 has a 6.0 liter BMW S70/2 V12 engine producing 618horsepower. It can do 0-60mph (0-97km/h) in 3.2seconds. When the car reached 243mph at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien test track in April 1998, it was the fastest production car in the world at the time. Just 106 McLaren F1s were produced between 1992 and 1998.
Zenvo ST1: 233 mph (374.9km/h)
Danish firm Zenvo produces just three of these cars each year for sale in the US — costing around $1.8million each (although you get a free $50,000 watch included making it a, er, bargain). It has a 7.0 liter turbocharged and supercharged V8 engine producing 1,250hp. Just 15 are set to be produced in total. It does 0-62mph (0-100km/h) in 3.0 seconds.
Gumpert Apollo: 225 mph (362.1km/h)
Made in Germany, the Gumpert Apollo features a 4.2 liter twin-turbo Audi V8 engine producing 641bhp in the base version and 789bhp in the race version. It can do 0-62mph (0-100km/h) in 3.1 seconds.
Noble M600: 225mph (362.1km/h)
The Noble is built in Britain and features a 4.4 liter Volvo twin-turbo V8 engine. It costs around $330,000 and can do 0-60mph (0-97km/h) in 3.2seconds.
Aston Martin One-77: 220mph (354km/h)
In accordance with the name, just 77 Aston Martin One-77s were ever produced, from 2009 to 2012. They sold for around $1.7million each. Aston Martin had estimated the car’s top speed to be around 200mph but it managed to go faster and reach 220mph in tests. It does 0-60mph in around 3.5seconds, and has a 7.3 liter V12 engine producing 750horsepower.
Ascari A10 22omph (354km/h)
The Ascari A10 has a 4,941 cc BMW V8 engine producing 625bhp. It’s made in Britain by Ascari Cars, backed by Dutch millionaire Klaas Zwart. It was designed by former Formula One designer Paul Brown. It can do 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds.
Lamborghini Aventador: 220mph (354km/h)
The Aventador is the Italian manufacturer’s flagship model. It has a 6.5 liter V12 engine producing 690bhp and can do 0-60mph (0-97km/h) in 2.9seconds. Like other Lambos, it is named after a bull and began production in 2011.
They cost around $380,000 each. In 2013 Lamborghini unveiled the Veneno, based on the Aventador’s engine but producing 740bhp. Just three of them were set to be made, costing $3.12million each.
Pagani Zonda Cinque: 217mph (349.2km/h)
Just five of the coupe version and 5 of the roaster version of the Pagani Zonda Cinque were ever built. It has a 7.3 liter AMG V12 engine producing 669bhp. Gear shifts on the car take less than 100 milliseconds, meaning it can do 0-62mph in 3.4seconds.
Ferrari Enzo: 217mph (349.2km/h)
There were 400 Enzos produced between 2002-2004. It features a 6.0 liter V12 engine producing 651 horsepower. It can do 0-60mph (0-97km/h) in 3.14 seconds. They cost from $670,000.
Jaguar XJ220: 217mph (349.2km/h)
The XJ220 can do 0-60mph in 3.6 seconds and features a 3.5 liter twin-turbo V6 engine. There were 281 made between 1992 and 1994. It’s thought the XJ220 could have reached 223mph (359mph) on a straight road, but tests were only carried out on Italy’s Nardo Ring high-speed test track.
Future Contenders for title of world’s fastest car:
As well as the forthcoming XT version of the SSC Ultimate Aero, which SSC say will reach 273mph, two cars still being created are both set to vie for the fastest car in the world crown once produced. If successful, both would take the top spot…
Transtar Dagger GT: 315mph (507km/h) claimed
The Dagger GT is currently being developed by US firm TranStar Racing with the sole purpose of being named the fastest car in the world. It’s estimated the car will cost $1,000,000. It will be sold in six different models, three for racing and breaking speed records and three that are completely road legal. The Transtar Dagger GT-LS will be the version used to try and break the land speed record (LS for ‘land speed’, duh!). It will include a PARACHUTE to help it stop.
SSC Tuatara: 276mph (444 km/h) claimed
The Tuatara is also being developed in the US, by SSC North America (which used to be ShelbySuperCars). They also hope to break the current speed record, but will stand no chance if the Dagger GT lives up to its hype. It will have four overhead camshaft twin-thrust turbochargers and produce 1,350bhp with a 6.9liter V8 engine. Better be quick guys…
Fastest Car in the World: The debate rages on…
When compiling a list about what the fastest car in the world is, there are always going to be people who don’t agree with the order.
And it’s no wonder with the prestige that comes with holding such a title. There are two main problems:
1. How do you define ‘fastest car in the world’?
When people ask what the fastest car in the world is, they are generally talking about the fastest production car in the world – not something that did an insanely fast speed but happened to have a jet engine fitted to the back. For those who are interested, the actual world land-speed record is held by the ThrustSSC, a jet-propelled car-rocket which broke the speed of sound and reached 763mph (1,228km/h) while being driven by Brit Andy Green in America’s Black Rock Desert on October 15 1997.
But the ThrustSSC is obviously NOT a production car. The problem is…what is? Unfortunately, there is no globally recognised and precise definition for what a ‘production car’ actually is. Obviously it should be something that is unmodified after coming off the factory floor — and it should in theory be able to be bought by the public (or in reality, the super rich).
But there is no actual definition that says exactly how many cars have to be built to allow a model to be classified as a production car. And because cars that are vying for the title of fastest car in the world are usually outrageously expensive to build, not many get made.
However, if just one is made and sold, does that make it a production car? Currently, nobody knows, and this problem is still being cleared up. The car experts at one of the world’s best auto websites, Jalopnik, recently quizzed Guinness World Records about this and were told that Guinness are in the process of devising a proper definition that makes this clear.
2. How do you certify what is the fastest car in the world?
Because the title of ‘fastest car in the world’ is so sought-after it has led to a string of claims of glory (and counter claims) among the leading contenders. And the problem is car makers don’t always use the same people to certify their alleged records. Guinness World Records have been used on several occasions, but not all.
This means when you create a list of the fastest cars in the world, some entries are certified (though not all by the same people) and some are claimed. You also have to take into account that different weather conditions and different tracks can produce different results.
And aerodynamic tests can actually produce a theoretical top speed that is far different to what a car reaches in reality. So, you kind of just have to go with what evidence there is and decide for yourself what the fastest car in the world actually is. It’s an interesting debate, so let us know what you think in the comments section below…
Last updated April 9th, 2014.