There are few things for which people seem to share a universal passion. Most people are likely to have at least some firmly held opinions about athletic teams, films, music or fashion.
But there are few topics that elicit more zeal among enthusiasts than automobiles. People often become enchanted with automobiles after watching a movie featuring one of the most iconic cars in film history. And within that large community of car zealots is a sizeable subset of people who are obsessed with speed, which is why makers of some of the world’s most exclusive driving machines are constantly pushing that envelope. The first road-legal production cars to hit speeds over 200 mph emerged in the mid-1980s; today, all of the top 20 fastest road-legal sports cars in the market hit speeds well over that limit.
These highly exclusive, often finicky, outrageously expensive, completely impractical, and downright dangerous supercars are so advanced that they’re approaching – and sometimes exceeding – the limits of what tires can handle. Last year, Michelin said it’s close to releasing a tire rated to 300 mph, but for now supercar top speeds are bound not by the limits of engines, body design, and materials, but rather current tire technology. Some cars, such as the Bugatti Chiron, are so fast that they’re electronically speed-limited for safety purposes. Though these cars often gain worldwide acclaim as incredible feats of engineering, the danger and exorbitant prices associated with these vehicles make them inaccessible to the common man and keep them out of the pantheon of the most iconic cars in history.
The following is a list of the top 20 fastest road-legal supercars that have been produced, tested and sold to (extremely wealthy) customers. We excluded supercars that have yet to be released, such as the Hennessey Venom F5 and the SCC Tuatara. Also excluded from the list are variations of the same model. For example, this list doesn’t include the Koenigsegg CCX because the faster Koenigsegg CCXR is a tweaked successor of the CCX.
Top speed may not be the best measure of what makes these cars so super – there are other factors, like aerodynamics, design, weight, torque, engine size, electronic innovation and acceleration – but being among the fastest road-legal sports cars is undeniably an elite, cherished space.
24/7 Wall St. looked at tested top speeds cited by reputable sources, including Car & Driver magazine, Motor1, EVO and The Drive. Test results typically involve averaging the top speeds of two back-to-back straight-line runs in opposite directions, measured to the second decimal point. For example the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport has a top speed test average of 267.81 mph, or rounded to 268 mph. But speed tests are impacted by numerous factors, including driver skill, wind shear, and track conditions. As a result, supercars with very similar top speeds might have slightly different top speed measurements if different speed tests have been conducted over time. We chose the most commonly cited top speeds, rounded to the nearest whole number. In the event of matching mph numbers, the vehicle with the faster acceleration is listed first.