What a year it's been for improbably powerful, sensationally quick cars. Got any favourites?
Though we were first introduced to the new Bugatti Chiron in 2016, we weren’t exposed to the full force of its 1,479bhp quad-turbo W16 until earlier this year. And when that occurred, any thoughts of this thing being merely a reheated Veyron quickly evaporated. When it’s finally unleashed free of its limiter, the world will be watching.
Click here to watch Chris Harris drive the Bugatti Chiron
It’s not every year – believe it or not – that you get a new fastest car in the world. Many talk the talk, but few actually set off in a straight line with timing gear and cameras on board to take on the challenge. This year, Koenigsegg did just that on a closed road in Nevada, and averaged out 277mph in the process.
Click here for the full story of Koenigsegg’s charge into history
No-one outside of AMG has yet driven the Mercedes F1 car for the road known so far only as Project One, but its stats are suitably barmy to make the cut in this list. Revealed in time for the 2017 Frankfurt motor show, the ultimate AMG promises to launch from 0-124mph in under six seconds, which means that thanks to its AWD hybrid traction, it’ll get off the line as quick as an actual F1 car. While, hopefully, making a much meaner noise…
Making no noise whatsoever, on the other hand, is Tesla’s first entrance into the supercar bear-pit. That’s okay though – Twitter and internet forums make more than enough noise to compensate for the silence of electric motors. If the new Roadster ever does see the light of day, we’re promised a 620-mile range, performance to embarrass a Bugatti, and all for a relatively reasonable $200,000. It could be a utopian supercar. Now all Tesla has to do is bring it to market on time.
We live in a mad, crazy world. One of the many pieces of evidence this is true is the fact that Ferrari’s series-production big-booted GT car is powered by a 789bhp V12 that’ll send it past 62mph in 2.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 211mph. If this is one of the last of the classic V12 supercars, before hybrids and turbos finally kill them off, then what a way to go.
Speaking of V12s, Lamborghini’s flagship had a proper workover in 2017 in order to keep pace with the aptly-named 812 Superfast. The Aventador S’s big innovation is rear-wheel steering, which gives the new big bull something approaching agility, but the extra 40bhp wrung from the 6.5-litre V12 is a bonus worth having.
The first road-certified factory automobile to be officially capable of wheelies (or wheelstands, we suppose) is the Dodge Hellcat’s even more evil, quarter-mile-munching twin. It’s a drag-race monster with an 840bhp supercharged V8 heart, and though that sub-170mph top speed is the lowest in this list, the Demon’s ability to launch from 0-60mph in a verifiable 2.3 seconds is as impressive as it is barmy. A worthy addition to the annals of muscle car legend.
Of course, Texan horsepower fetishist John Hennessey couldn’t let Dodge enjoy the spoils of war for long without issuing his own unleaded-swilling riposte – with a cheeky name to boot. The Exorcist is, as you can see, based on a Camaro ZL1 (or the more track focused 1LE, if you prefer), and, ahem, trumps the Dodge alternative by developing 1,000bhp. The top speed is so far unknown, but as the 0-60mph time is sub 3sec, we think you’ll agree it deserves a place among 2017’s most unhinged performance cars.
2017: the year that Lamborghini got back into SUVs. But in order to show the pace of progress, the new Urus has four fewer cylinders than the old LM002, yet it develops almost twice the power, thanks to a 641bhp version of the VW Group’s bi-turbo 4.0-litre V8. As we’ll see later on in this list, the Urus is therefore the fastest of the super-SUVs, but not the most powerful, by a long way…
Bet you’d forgotten about this one. Yes, just before Bentley wowed us with the sleeker, more raffish new Continental GT, it created a Supersports version of the outgoing car. And the headline was quite simply this: seven hundred horsepower. And yes, that’s proper Victorian British imperial horsepower. It’s not the most soulful car on this list by a margin, but this is the reigning speed champ among Bentleys, and incongruously magnificent as a result.
We waited a long time for Porsche to turn the 991-generation of 911 into a ‘widowmaker’. When the 691bhp GT2 RS arrived, and we drove it, the most shocking thing was how habitable and un-terrifying it was. That’s modern tyres and aerodynamics for you. And as a result, the GT2 RS blitzed around the Nürburgring in a new record time of 6mins 43.7sec. Note: to replicate such time you need to be as handy and brave as an actual professional racing driver.
The McLaren 720S has brought hypercar performance to the supercar realm. It is vividly quick, and on the road, you’d struggle to spot a difference in urge between it and the P1. However, besides being a land-borne missile, it’s also truly engaging to drive at low speed and incredibly friendly and approachable, which is even more of an achievement than its sensational performance. It’s TG’s supercar of the year.
Hennessey’s back again, and he’s going for 300mph. The Venom F5, successor to the car that hit 270mph and established Hennessey as a player in the top speed supercar game, is named after F5 category storms, which have a windspeed rating of up to 318mph. Can the Texan underdog really take it to the might of the VW Group, and Koenigsegg? 2017’s reveal of the new Venom was the opening shot of round two. Place your bets…
The Ford GT was first shown to stunned onlookers at the Detroit motor show way back at the start of 2015. It took until 2017 for anyone to get behind the wheel – on the road. By that point, the race version had already taken a class victory at Le Mans. The road car shouldn’t work. Race cars that end up on the road rarely do. But the GT manages to ride properly, handle skilfully and live up to its newer-than-space-age looks. A landmark car.
Remember the Dodge Demon from a few slides ago? The madder, badder Hellcat? Course you do. Now imagine the quantity of horrid light beer consumed by the individual who came up with the idea of slotting the 707bhp version of said supercharged V8 into the Jeep Grand Cherokee. This, not the Lamborghini Urus, is the most powerful SUV of 2017. ‘Murica one, Italy, nil.
This unassuming pluto-barge is, in fact, the most powerful, fastest road-going BMW ever made. It’s not even a true M car, but the bi-turbo V12 that lurks behind the swollen nostrils of the ultimate 7 Series is a true monster among motors. It develops 602bhp, and thanks to xDrive 4x4 delivering the traction, it can launch from 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds. So it’s quicker than the i8, quicker than an M3, and up until the new M5 was revealed, was unassailable in the BMW range for speed. It’s not so much a flagship as a destroyer.
Are you used to the looks yet? Us neither. And the name? Hmm… maybe we’d better concentrate on the specs, which is where the brutal-looking Senna earns its keep. McLaren’s new Ultimate Series machine develops 789bhp from its 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8, without a hybrid motor in sight. McLaren hasn’t revealed top speed figures yet, but as this is a craft built to warp around tracks, we’re expecting a headline v-max to be sacrificed in the name of lap-time heroics.
It’s a sign of how spoiled we’ve become by supercar power stats that the Huracán’s vital numbers almost look a tad limp in this company. No matter – this is the best car Lamborghini has ever made. It’s barely any less user unfriendly than the standard Huracán, the downforce created is truly spellbinding, and we’ll go out on a limb here and say that the baby Lambo may well be the best-sounding car on this entire list. Naturally aspirated V10s for-the-win.
When we drove the 550bhp Panamera Turbo S, nothing about its batty performance made us feel like an ‘S’ version was necessary. But Porsche is, it appears, even sillier than the likes of us. So it added electricity to the Panamera, using lessons it learned in the development of the 918 Spyder hypercar. How you could ever need this much car in your life is beyond us, but if you’re late for a Greenpeace conference, or scared of flying, this is a monumental continent crusher that can’t run out of charge.
The Apollo had us at ‘Batmobile-inspired styling’. Then it kept on winning us over with its 769bhp Ferrari-derived V12 and purist inspirations. The IE is designed for track work only, but if all ten get sold, it’ll fund a road car that’ll hopefully look at least half as bonkers. This is what supercars are all about, right?
STORY Ollie Kew