It wasn't long ago that only the most exotic of supercars had north of 500 hp, but today you can get more than double that in family crossovers and sedans.
Yes, the performance scene has changed a lot, with high horsepower having been democratized thanks to recent leaps in electric vehicle technology, but also tire technology and traction and stability control systems that allow us to make greater use of the available power.
To help you chart the waters, we've put together a list ranking the ten most powerful cars in production right now.
Bugatti Chiron Super Sport
1) Bugatti Chiron Super Sport: It's probably no surprise that a Bugatti sits at the top of this list. The French hypercar maker has been setting performance records since the Veyron dropped in 2005, and the trend will likely continue well into the future now that Bugatti has teamed up with EV technology company Rimac. The most powerful Bugatti in production right now is the Chiron Super Sport. The car's 8.0-liter quad-turbocharged W-16 spits out 1,578 hp, or enough to take the unrestricted 300+ version of the car to a top speed of over 300 mph.
Hennessey Venom F5 aerodynamics testing
2) Hennessey Venom F5: For anyone who keeps up with the hypercar scene it's no real shock that a vehicle with a Hennessey badge sits near the top of this list. The Texas-based tuner created a separate business called Hennessey Special Vehicles and the first product to arrive is the Venom F5 hypercar. On pump gas (91 octane) the Venom F5 produces 1,542 hp, though that increases to 1,817 hp on E85, which would make it the most powerful car in production today, though the fuel isn't available everywhere, which is why the Bugatti is still at the top of the list. However, if, or when, the Venom F5 attempts a top-speed run it might set a new production car speed record.
Koenigsegg Regera, 2017 Geneva auto show
3) Koenigsegg Regera: The Regera has been with us since 2015 but even today you'll be hard-pressed to find a car that can top its performance. This is due mostly to its sophisticated drivetrain that combines an internal-combustion engine, in this case a 5.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, with a three-motor electric drive system Koenigsegg calls Direct Drive. Combined output is an incredible 1,500 hp. Koenigsegg should be close to building all 80 examples of the car, after which the company will start production of the 1,280-hp Jesko and 1,700-hp Gemera models.
SSC Tuatara record run
4) SSC Tuatara: SSC finally started deliveries of its Tuatara last year after more than a decade of development. The resulting car is able to generate 1,350 hp on 91 octane from a twin-turbocharged 5.9-liter V-8. On E85, power output rises to 1,750 hp, which would make it the second most powerful production car, second only to the Hennessey Venom F5. There's been controversy surrounding the Tuatara since its launch, as SSC claimed in 2020 to have hit 331 mph but later said this was false. Earlier this year the company redeemed itself somewhat when it took a Tuatara to a speed of 282.9 mph, which is officially the land speed record for production cars, as a required two runs, one each in opposite directions, was made. This wasn't the case during Bugatti's run to 304 mph in the Chiron Super Sport 300+ in 2019.
5) Zenvo TSR-S: The TSR-S is probably a car you haven't heard about before, and even if you have heard about it you've probably never seen one. That's because the Danish hypercar maker that is Zenvo only produces about five cars per year, and its most powerful street-legal car is the TSR-S. It generates a peak 1,177 hp from a bespoke 5.8-liter V-8 with a flat-plane, twin-supercharged design. Beyond the insane power output, the TSR-S also stands out due to its rear wing which pivots like a seesaw. According to Zenvo, the wing is able to generate an inward force together with the conventional downforce, boosting grip of the inside tire during hard cornering.
Aston Martin Valkyrie production in Gaydon, U.K.
6) Aston Martin Valkyrie: If you're looking for the closest experience to driving a Formula One car on the road, then Aston Martin's Valkyrie hypercar could be the ticket. It was designed by Adrian Newey, Red Bull Racing's talented aerodynamicist responsible for multiple championship-winning F1 race cars (including 2021's winning RB16B), and features a Cosworth-developed V-12 that screams to 11,000 rpm. The naturally aspirated engine is paired with a KERS-style hybrid system to deliver a peak 1,139 hp.
2021 Lucid Air Dream Edition
7) Lucid Air Dream Edition Performance: The Lucid is a surprise on this list because it isn't a hypercar but rather a luxury sedan. It goes to show the impressive performance electric motors can bring as the car's output is 1,111 hp. The power is generated by a dual-motor powertrain which draws energy from a 113-kilowatt-hour battery. And even though this is the performance flagship of the Air family, the car still manages 471 miles of EPA-rated range. Of course, the figure is achieved when driving at street-legal speeds.
8) McLaren Speedtail: The current flagship at McLaren is the Speedtail, a car McLaren is happy to call the spiritual successor to the F1, since like the original Gordon Murray design the new Speedtail is a grand tourer rather than a track car. It even has a three-seat layout with the driver sitting center, just like in the F1, and the Speedtail's 106-car production run matches the number of F1s built, when you include both road and racing versions of the older car. Sadly there's no V-12 here. Instead, McLaren relies on the same 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 found in multiple models, though here the engine is paired with an electric motor for a combined output of 1,055 hp.
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid
9) Tesla Model S Plaid and Model X Plaid: Tesla shocked the world when it unveiled the Plaid versions of its Model S and Model X earlier this year. With 1,020 hp generated from a three-motor powertrain, the cars are among the quickest in the world. In fact, the Model S Plaid has set production car records for 0-60 mph acceleration and the quarter-mile, with its official times coming in at 1.99 seconds and 9.23 seconds, respectively. The Model S Plaid also holds the record for EVs at the Nürburgring, with its time coming in at 7:35.579.
2022 GMC Hummer EV VIN 001 rolls off the assembly line
10) GMC Hummer EV Edition 1: If you're looking for the most affordable vehicle on the list, then look no further than GMC's Hummer EV, which in Edition 1 grade offers up 1,000 hp for $112,595. That price goes even lower if you're willing to wait a year, as GMC plans to add a Hummer EV 3X grade with the same three-motor powertrain as the Edition 1 in the fall of 2022. It will start at $99,995. Beyond the powertrain, there are 35-inch off-road tires, air suspension, rear-wheel steering, and an estimated 329 miles of driving range. An SUV body is also in the works, though it isn't clear if this model will also be offered with the full 1,000 hp.
It's a weird world, and timeline, where a Ferrari didn't make the list of most powerful cars in production. The current range-topper in the Prancing Horse stable, the SF90 Stradale, is a plug-in hybrid with an electrified all-wheel-drive system and total output of 986 hp, meaning it just missed out. We should also mention that a new era of electric hypercars boasting outputs close to 2,000 hp is almost upon us. Three have already been revealed in the form of the 1,973-hp Lotus Evija, 1,914-hp Rimac Nevera, and 1,877-hp Pininfarina Battista, with production of these models expected to start in 2022.