What is the fastest car in the world 2022? Road cars with highest top speeds - SSC Tuatara to Bugatti Chiron
The production cars battling to achieve highest top speed and break the 300mph barrier
The SSC Tuatara recently hit a new record top speed of 295mph on a testing run at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The new speed builds on its previous record of 282.9mph and propels the American supercar into the list of the fastest production cars in the world.
While dedicated land speed record cars can go much faster, there has always been a fascination among car makers and the public around how fast “ordinary” production cars can go.
Ever since the Benz Velo with its heady 12mph back in 1894, manufacturers have looked to stretch the abilities of their road-legal models. By 1955 Mercedes-Benz had cracked the 150mph barrier with the 300SL and from there the record for fastest production car gradually climbed, with Lamborghini, Ferrari and Porsche claiming the title as speeds edged nearer 200mph.
In 1987 Ferrari hit 201mph with the F40 - the first production car to exceed 200mph - and since then a host of ultra-rare and ultra-expensive cars have exceeded it, heading closer to that mythical 300mph.
Despite all the attention-grabbing efforts and claims, it’s hard to come up with a definitive list of the fastest production cars in the world. The waters are muddied by endless wranglings over exactly what counts as a production car, whether speeds were recorded over one run or two, plus plenty of brands claiming theoretical but unproven top speeds.
So to keep things simple(ish) what we have here is a list of cars that have been recorded at the stated speeds and are production or close-to-production ready.
10. McLaren F1 - 240.1mph
Even in a list of cars that can do nearly 300mph, the McLaren F1 stands out. Launched in 1993 it was (and is) an engineering marvel, designed by the genius Gordon Murray and using a wealth of motorsport-inspired techniques to achieve its jaw-dropping performance. The 610bhp 6.1-litre V12 from BMW got the F1 from 0-62mph in just 3.2 seconds and in 1998 it reached its record-breaking maximum of 240.1mph. Astonishingly, it took seven years before it was broken and even now, the F1 is the fastest naturally aspirated car ever.
9. Koenigsegg CCR - 241.1mph
A 1mph improvement is hardly a great leap for seven years of progress but, nonetheless, the Koenigsegg CCR’s 241mph was enough to nab the production car title from the McLaren in 2005. Using twin superchargers, the CCR upgraded the power of the previous CC 8S’s 4.7-litre V8 from 655bhp to 806bhp, enough to set a new record and propel the small Swedish car maker to international fame.
8. McLaren Speedtail - 250mph
The McLaren Speedtail is unusual in this list because it never held the title of fastest production car. Still, it’s hardly a slouch, hitting 60mph in 2.9 seconds on its way to 250mph. Intended as a spiritual successor to the F1, the Speedtail features a carbon fibre monocoque construction and the same three-abreast driving position. It also features a petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain that generates a total of 1,055bhp from a single electric motor and a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8.
7. Bugatti Veyron - 253.8mph
When the Volkswagen Group first announced its outlandish plans for the Veyron a lot of people thought the bosses were mad. However, it seems that with enough money and willpower you can make anything happen and in 2005, Bugatti revealed the finished Veyron, complete with a 8.0-litre quad-turbo W16 engine and 1,001bhp. At the time it was the most expensive and most powerful car in the world and it quickly became the fastest, hitting 253mph.
6. SSC Ultimate Aero TT - 256.1mph
America’s SSC might not have the mighty corporate backing that Bugatti enjoys but that hasn’t stopped it producing two of the fastest road cars ever. The Ultimate Aero TT was its first record-breaker, setting a verified two-run average of 256.18mph in 2007. The all-carbon fibre hypercar is powered by a twin-turbo V8 sourced from Corvette then tuned to produce 1,100bhp and will cover 0-60mph in 2.7 seconds.
5. Bugatti Veyron Super Sport - 267.8mph
The Super Sport was Bugatti’s direct response to SSC daring to steal its title. A few tweaks here and there, including squeezing almost 200bhp out of the standard Veyron’s 1,001bhp engine, and it was good to go, smashing the Ultimate Aero TT’s record by more than 11mph.
4. Hennessey Venom GT — 270.4mph
Unlike the other names on this list, Hennessey isn’t a full-on car maker. Instead it focuses on tuning existing models to offer ridiculous, and sometimes record-breaking, performance. Amazingly, the Venom GT is based on the Lotus Exige but in place of the Norfolk car’s 3.5-litre V6, the Venom has 7.0-litre V8 fitted with twin turbochargers. That means it’s good for 1,244bhp and 1,287lb ft and a top speed in excess of 270mph.
Hennessey says the Venom GT’s successor, the Venom F5, will be capable of 300mph+ but is yet to prove its claims.
3. Koenigsegg Agera RS - 277.8mph
As if the Agera RS’s official top speed wasn’t mind boggling enough, the two-run average was set on a closed section of public road using a customer car, rather than the usual test track or runway used for such attempts. Even more impressive, the 1,341bhp Swedish hypercar actually hit 284.5mph on one of its two runs and set a new record for the fastest 0-250-0mph time - 33.2 seconds.
2. SSC Tuatara - 295mph
Having clinched the record once, SSC is out to do it again. However, after wrongly claiming in 2020 that the Tuatara had reached 316mph, SSC went back and started again, determined to provide clearer evidence of the car’s abilities. In 2021 that resulted in a two-way average of 282.9mph. But in late May 2022 it went a step further, hitting 295mph on a single run. Power for such speeds comes from a 5.9-litre twin-turbo V8 putting out 1,726bhp to the rear wheels of the 1,247kg carbon fibre hypercar.
1. Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ - 304.7mph
As this list has shown, ever since the EB110 in 1991, Bugatti has spent a lot of time and money chasing V-Max records and with the Chiron Super Sport 300+ it became the first brand to break the 300mph barrier. To achieve it, Bugatti added 10 inches to the length of a standard Chiron, added new aero and tweaked the 8.0-litre quad turbo W16 to produce 1,578bhp before sending it down its Ehra-Lessien test track. The £4.2m production versions ditched the record-breaker’s rollcage and raised the suspension, but we’re not going to quibble with anyone that can build a car that tops 300mph.