When putting together a list of the world's fastest production cars, it can be tempting to seek out just the exotics - vehicles that are built in small quantities and sold at exorbitant prices. While these automobiles have their place in the pantheon of speed, there are a growing number of attainable cars that flex considerable performance muscle of their own, especially when it comes to top speed. With that in mind, we've put together a list of the world's fastest production cars that mixes up the high society crowd with more accessible models.
Let's take a quick look at 10 of the fastest production cars currently on the market.
The 2012 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport is the undisputed king of the supercar realm. A vehicle that almost seems like it was built on a dare, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport offers up 1,200 horsepower from a quad-turbocharged, 8.0-liter 16-cylinder engine, along with 1,106 lb-ft of torque. The all-wheel drive vehicle features a seven-speed automated manual transmission, and when pushed to the max the Bugatti can hit an astonishing 258 miles per hour. Of course, given the massive lump of an engine stuffed inside its chassis its fuel tank is only good for a few minutes of motoring at that speed - but a few minutes is all most mortals can handle.
Fastest Production Cars - 02 - 2013 Ferrari F12berlinetta
The 2013 Ferrari F12berlinetta (yes, that’s how Ferrari has chosen to spell it) is being pitched as the fastest vehicle built by the Italian brand since the Enzo departed from the scene. The Ferrari F12berlinetta is outfitted with a 12-cylinder motor that is capable of 730 horsepower and 508 lb-ft of torque, which when combined with the coupe's 3,472 lb curb weight allows it to reach 60-mph in a scant 3.1 seconds. Ferrari's dual-clutch F1 transmission features a seventh gear that makes over 212 miles per hour possible, a prospect further enhanced by the Ferrari's excellent aerodynamics.
Fastest Production Cars - 03 - 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S
There are many different ways to measure 'fast' and the 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S is an excellent example of how neck-snapping acceleration can earn a vehicle a spot on this list. The Porsche 911 Turbo S represents the ultimate edition of one of the world's most iconic sports cars, and its rear-mounted, 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine makes use of twin turbochargers in order to throw down 530 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. The Turbo S comes with standard all-wheel drive and the availability of Porsche's PDK dual-clutch automated manual transmission, and the latter rips off gear shifts quick enough to see the coupe reaching 60-mph in 2.7 seconds. This makes it one of the quickest vehicles ever built.
Fastest Production Cars - 04 - 2012 Hennessey Venom GT
The 2012 Hennessey Venom GT is a full-on American exotic built to rival the best of what Europe has to offer. Arguably more of a track car than a street car, it nevertheless qualifies for our list of the fastest production cars as it borrows much of its platform from the Lotus Exige. The Hennessey Venom GT features a twin-turbo 7.0-liter V-8 that can be dialed all the way up to 1,244 horsepower. This output is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission, which makes the Venom GT's 0-60-mph time of 2.5 seconds all the more impressive. Maximum velocity for the Hennessey is over 200 miles per hour.
Fastest Production Cars - 05 - 2013 Nissan GT-R
The 2013 Nissan GT-R has been afforded a number of improvements that further solidify its status as one of the world's fastest production cars. Already frightening rapid and able to stick to the tarmac like glue thanks to its advanced all-wheel drive system, the Nissan GT-R sees its power upgraded to 545 horses and 463 lb-ft of torque. Its six-speed dual-clutch automated transmission has also been tuned for better performance, and when combined with the vehicle's launch control the coupe can reach 60-mph in 2.7 seconds - fast enough to match the Porsche 911 Turbo S.
Fastest Production Cars - 06 - 2012 Ultima GTR
The 2012 Ultima GTR is another entry on our list of the world's fastest production cars that skirts the edges of eligibility. Technically, the Ultima GTR is a 'kit car,' that is to say a vehicle that must be assembled by the purchaser before it can be used. The Ultima's designation as a kit car has to do with import laws (Ultima Sports Ltd. is a British brand) that require the engine to be installed once the vehicle is already in the U.S. in order to make it road legal. Once the GTR's Z06-sourced 7.0-liter V-8 is ready to go, the wait is worth it as its 505 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque allow it to hit 60-mph in just 2.8 seconds.
Fastest Production Cars - 07 - 2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
The 2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is the scariest version of the classic American sports car ever built. Part of the fear associated with slipping behind the wheel of the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 has to do with its 648 horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged V-8. Also capable of generating 604 lb-ft of torque, this mill can launch the 'Vette to 60-mph in 3.8 seconds and provides it with a 205-mph top speed. The other half of the ZR1's hair-raising reputation has to do with its difficult-to-master chassis, which is quite unforgiving when driven at 10/10ths of its performance capability. The Corvette ZR1 demands the full attention of a skilled driver at all times when being pushed to its limits.
Fastest Production Cars - 08 - 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700
The 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700 can be thought of as an express train into the 200-mph club. With the ability to top 217 miles per hour, the Lamborghini Aventador LP700 is clearly one of the apex predators of the exotic car scene. The wedge-shaped coupe is motivated by a 4.5-liter, 12-cylinder engine that produces an exceptional 700 horsepower and 507 lb-ft of torque, mated to an all-wheel drive system via a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission. Not only does the Aventador boast a startling terminal velocity, but it also manages to zip to 60-mph in only 2.9 seconds.
Fastest Production Cars - 09 - 2013 SRT Viper
The 2013 SRT Viper returns to its roots from a stylistic perspective, but the all-new supercar from Chrysler is loaded with more technology than any of its preceding models. Stability control, launch control, and an adaptive suspension make an appearance on the Viper GTS, but don't worry - all of the old standbys are here too, including an 8.4-liter V-10 that pushes out 640 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission corrals the ten-cylinder's production and sends it to the rear wheels, helping the Viper zip past 60-mph in just a tick over three seconds on its way to a top speed in the 200-mph range.
Fastest Production Cars - 10 - 2013 Ford Shelby GT500
The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 demonstrates how much can be achieved with an accessible platform like that of the base Mustang GT. The Ford Shelby GT500 upgrades the suspension, aerodynamics, and drivetrain of the Mustang in order to create a muscle car monster that is capable of reaching speeds of 200 miles per hour. The GT500's beating heart is a supercharged 5.8-liter V-8 that produces 662 horsepower and 631 lb-ft of torque - numbers that Ford claims make it the strongest eight-cylinder engine that can be found in a production car. A six-speed manual transmission is the only available gearbox with the GT500.