“How come they have no fear when they’re behind the wheel?”
“What could I say? Maybe this: the man hunched over his motorcycle can focus only on the present instant of his flight; he is caught in a fragment of time cut off from both the past and the future; he is wrenched from the continuity of time; he is outside time; in other words, he is in a state of ecstasy; in that state he is unaware of his age, his wife, his children, his worries, and so he has no fear, because the source of fear is in the future, and a person freed of the future has nothing to fear.”
We here tend to think in Jeffersonian terms when asked why speed is good—”We hold these truths to be self-evident” and all the rest. But, in reality, without explanations like Milan Kundera’s ironically titled essay Slowness quoted above, we ultimately end up taking for granted the magic quality that speed possesses, that rev-raising, blood-pumping, exhaust-screaming euphoria as we eat up miles like we’re downing a bottle of elixir.
Jeremy Clarkson’s own explanation of speed’s virtues doesn’t fall far from Kundera’s. “Speed focuses the mind. It cuts through the fog of drab everyday living and keeps us on our toes,” Clarkson said. “Speed works. Speed saves lives. Speed is good. And we should have more of it, not less.”
To celebrate the time-stopping, mind sharpening elixir that we call speed we’ve compiled a list of the top 10-ish fastest production cars of 2019, a tribute to all things that make us pause and think—“Holy #$%* this is fast!”
Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye: 203 MPH
Though it didn’t quite make the cut for our top 10, we had to make some extra space for Dodge’s tire-shredding amalgamation of monikers: the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye. Powered by the same 6.4-liter supercharged Hemi V8 found in the Dodge Demon, the Challenger Hellcat Redeye’s 797 horsepower and 707 pound-feet of torque make this the fastest iteration yet of the famous Hellcat line. With the largest factory supercharger ever fitted to a production car, the Redeye launches from zero to 60 in 3.4 seconds before topping out at a blistering 203 mph. With a starting price just under $70,000, the Redeye is by no means cheap, but as far as 800 horsepower, 200+ mph monsters go, it’s a hell of a deal.
Bentley Continental GT: 207 MPH
Elegance, refinement, pedigree, and a 207 mph top speed. Look past the Continental GT’s bedazzled front end and quilted leather seats and you’ll find a new 6.0-liter W-12 TSI engine producing a brutal 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. The Continental GT not only has to overcome a 150-hp deficit over the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye, but has the additional challenge of hauling an extra 447 pounds of British luxury. However, thanks to its dual-clutch eight-speed transmission, four-wheel drive, and slippery fastback body, the GT manages a blistering 3.2 second zero to 60 time and a top speed 4 mph higher than that of the Redeye. We’re not quite sure who at Bently decided supercar speed is what their customers needed, but we’d like to thank them.
10. Porsche 911 GT2 RS: 211 MPH
Like the name it wears, the Porsche 911 GT2 RS is a car defined by numbers: 690 horsepower, 553 pound-feet of torque, zero to 60 in 2.7 seconds, and 60 to 211mph in not much more. Pair the ultra-efficient 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged six-cylinder boxer with a seven-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission, sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 'N2' rubber, and that immense carbon fiber rear wing and you get a car as quick around a track as it is in a straight line. Porsche proved as much in a September 2017 run of the Nurburgring, setting a record-breaking 6:47 lap time. Lamborghini may have won over the record a year later with their Aventador SVJ, but we’d dare you to drive a GT2 RS around the ring and tell us it isn’t still mind-numbingly fast.
9. Chevrolet Corvette ZR1: 212 MPH
Along with being the most powerful production Corvette ever, Chevy claims that the fourth-generation ZR1 has the track performance to put supercar elites like Ferrari and Lamborghini on notice. With an unofficial 7:04 lap time around the Nurburgring, Chevy has the figures to back up their claims. But who really buys a ZR1 because they care about cornering Gs? Here’s what you actually care about: the ZR1 comes with a 6.2 liter supercharged V8 producing 755 horsepower and 715 lb-ft of torque, a seven-speed manual gearbox, tires wider than your mouth after you hit the gas, and a top speed of 212 mph. Now, what was that about lap times?
8. McLaren 720S: 212 MPH
We’ve had quite a few of these tossing about the office lately, so I am saddened to say that they’ve lost a bit of that ephemeral glow they once had. Granted, whatever normalization they’ve undergone has almost certainly been fueled by my inability to actually get behind the wheel of one. With its lightweight 2,800-pound carbon fiber body propelled by a twin-turbocharged 4-liter V8 producing 720 horsepower and an immense 770 lb-ft of torque, the 720S manages 0-60 in 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 212 mph. Glow or not, I certainly wouldn’t turn up my nose if I was offered a drive in one.
7. Ford GT: 216 MPH
More than any other car on this list, the Ford GT needs no introduction: blistering performance, a five-time Le Mans-winning lineage, and those stripes. Costing nearly half a million dollars, it's hard to still call the GT a blue-collar supercar, but, as a show of what Ford is still capable of doing in a performance car, it’s immensely impressive. With carbon fiber construction, clever active aero, and a twin-turbocharged V6 producing 647 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque, the GT manages 0-60 in three seconds and a top speed of 216 mph.
6. Lamborghini Aventador SVJ: 217 MPH
Whoever is still trying to claim that Lamborghini has been made pedestrian by their German overlords clearly haven’t laid their eyes on the Aventador SVJ. With two new gaping front nostrils, a hot wheels worthy rear wing, and a 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V12 producing 770 horsepower, the SVJ’s four-wheel-drive system launches the bull from 0-62 in 2.8 seconds before reaching a screaming 217 mph top speed. Lamborghini’s CEO Stefano Domenicali said that the SVJ’s engineers drew on “every inspiration from a space ship to a jet fighter: all the most exceptional examples of super-fast, super-athletic, aerodynamic superiority.” What utter nonsense. We love it.
5. Noble M600: 225 MPH
You remember this car: brutal power, lightweight, and no driver aids. At its 2010 release, the M600 was the darling of automotive journalist across the industry, drawing vast acclaim and, more commonly than you might imagine, Ferrari F40 comparisons. High praise. Though Noble’s barebones supercar has faded from the spotlight in recent years, it’s grown no slower for it. Pairing its 2,756-pound body with its twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 producing 650 horsepower, the Noble reaches 60 in three seconds and tops out at 225 mph.
4. Pagani Huayra: 238 MPH
Zonda enthusiasts mourned the passing of their screaming naturally aspirated engines as Pagani went about turbocharging their newest model, the Huayra. Though it still boasts a bespoke V12 engine from Mercedes, the Huayra’s character is undeniably defined by the two turbochargers that inspired its very name. Mind you, with 720 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque, the road going wind god isn’t any worse for it. Pair the breathy engine with a carbon-fiber clad body weighing in just under 3,000 pounds and you get a 0-60 time of just 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 238 mph.
3. Bugatti Chiron Sport: 261 MPH
Bugatti has been in an odd position as of late. The same car manufacture that started the current race towards ever higher top speeds doesn’t seem particularly interested in placing first. No one would call the Chiron slow, much less the 40 pound lighter sport model. But you can’t help comparing it to the two cars which proceed it on this list, both of which are beating Bugatti at their own game. Bugatti itself has already topped the Chiron Sport with its now nearly decade-old Veyron Super Sport touching 268 mph. Future models, hopefully, will bring back some of Bugatti’s competitive spirit, but, in the meantime, I think anyone lucky enough to drive a Chiron would happily settle for its 261 mph top speed. It may not be a record holder, but it’s far from a slouch.
2: Hennessey Venom GT: 270 MPH
When I visited Hennessy’s headquarters in Sealy, Texas, a freak ice storm had knocked out power to the building. With only the cold, faint morning light trickling into the showroom, I looked over the Venom GT’s ludicrously stretched out Lotus bodywork, vents, mesh, and all. My eyes shifted over to that 1,200 horsepower twin-turbocharged 7.0-liter LSX V8 and “surely they could just power the whole building with this thing” passed through my mind. It seemed reasonable enough. The same engine had, after all, powered the Venom GT all the way to a record-breaking 270 mph top speed.
1. Koenigsegg Agera RS: 277 MPH
Technically, the final production car on our list isn’t, er, in production anymore. However, impressed as we are by the Agera RS, we still thought it ought to receive a spot on our list. And anyway, if the comment section from our last Top 10 list is anything to go by, you, dear reader, would be a sight more pissed by us not putting it on our list than by us breaking our own rules. With an innovative lightweight construction, a special Swedish mix of carbon fiber and Kevlar, and, of course, that nearly 1,200 horsepower twin-turbocharged 5.0-liter V8, we certainly agree that the Agera deserves the #1 spot on our list. But more than that, we’ve put the Agera RS on this list because while other manufacturers have gone around claiming estimated top speeds, the Agera RS has proved what it can do: 277.87 mph.