Today’s Hypercars — Pinnacle of Automotive Performance

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience Extreme Machines
There are multitudes of sports cars on the market today, but not all are created equal. For many years supercars stood above all others — expensive, high-powered machines from the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini took up permanent residence at the top of the automotive food chain. In 2005 a new sports car arrived on scene went beyond anything a mere supercar offered — the Bugatti Veyron. With 1200 horsepower on tap and a top speed exceeding 250 mph, the Veyron is arguably the first-ever model of a new breed called hypercars.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience What Is a Hypercar?
In line with its boundary-breaking ethos, the hypercar cannot be labeled as any other sports car — vehicles that qualify for this lofty term are excessive in every way. These rare models exude extreme styling and are created in small batches like boutique bourbon or fine cigars. Those in rarified hypercar air boast around 1000 horsepower or more, can exceed 200 mph and have astronomical price tags (of course) often with at least seven digits. The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles currently features a special exhibit dedicated to hypercars. We spent a few hours at the museum wandering among these amazing machines in utter awe and appreciation, and here are the highlights.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2008 Bugatti Veyron 16.4
When Bugatti introduced the Veyron in 2005, the auto brand raised the sports-car bar to the stratosphere. In order to meet the demands of Volkswagen Group CEO and Chairman Ferdinand Piech, this ultimate sports car had to produce more than 1000 PS (986 hp), accelerate to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under 3 seconds and have a top speed in excess of 400 km/h (248 mph). Not only did it have to boast these unheard-of levels of performance, it needed to be luxurious and comfortable for everyday use.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2008 Bugatti Veyron 16.4
Considered one of the first hypercars, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 features an 8.0-liter quad-turbocharged W16 (that’s 16 cylinders) engine that produces 987 horsepower and a massive 922 lb-ft of torque. Power gets sent to all four wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The Veyron sprints to 62 mph in 2.5 seconds, and its top speed of 253.8 mph made it (at one moment in time) the fastest production car in the world. Only 450 Veyrons were produced, each at a starting price of $1.2 million.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2022 Hennessey Venom F5
The Hennessey name has been long associated with making cars — and trucks — go faster. Throughout its history, the American tuner has upped the performance on an array of vehicles ranging from sports cars to SUVs. Now Hennessey Performance builds its own vehicle from the ground up. Called the Venom F5, this monstrously powerful lightweight hypercar is designed for extreme performance. The F5 features a new chassis and a carbon fiber body shaped to have the least possible drag. The sleek silhouette of the Venom F5 is most noticeable from the side, where it sits as low as 3 inches off the ground. (Ride height can be automatically adjusted to navigate driveway aprons, speed bumps and other obstacles.) The F5’s drag coefficient is.39 Cd, and it has a dry weight of 2,998 pounds.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2022 Hennessey Venom F5
The limited-edition Venom F5 boasts a rear mid-mounted 6.6-liter twin-turbocharged Fury V8 engine that produces 1817 horsepower and 1193 lb-ft of torque, making it the most potent gas-powered sports car in the world. With its impressive power-to-weight ratio, the Venom F5 has some equally impressive performance stats. Acceleration to 62 mph (100 kph) takes 2.6 seconds; 124 mph (200 kph) comes up in 4.7 seconds; 186 mph (300 kph) in 8.4 seconds; and 249 mph (400 kph) in less than 16 seconds. Hennessey estimates the Venom F5 will ultimately hit 311 mph. Only 24 Venom F5s will be built at a starting price of $2.1 million each.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2015 Rimac Concept One
Most people probably won’t be familiar with this Croatian car company, although the automaker is likely a household name among the automobile cognoscenti. Rimac introduced this Concept One electric supercar at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show — an impressive piece of machinery at the time and one that remains so to this day. Serving as a platform for the company’s unique electric drive technology, the sleek Concept One has a motive system featuring a separate electric powertrain with an independent inverter, motor and gearbox for each wheel of the car. The torque output for each wheel can be controlled independently to provide impeccable handling.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2015 Rimac Concept One
This example on display at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles is the first Rimac Concept One ever produced, and it is considered to be the world’s first all-electric hypercar. The stats certainly back up this claim. The Rimac Concept One draws motivation from four electric motors that generate a total of 1088 horsepower. Thanks to the extreme grip of all-wheel drive, this Rimac will reach 62 mph in a mere 2.6 seconds and rocket to a claimed top speed of 221 mph. Only eight Concept Ones were built — each with a price tag of $1.2 million. How to create a follow-up to the Concept One? Based on the Concept One, the Nevera boasts 1914 horsepower and the ability to attain 60 mph in 1.85 seconds — certainly hypercar territory.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2019 NIO EP9
Another example of hypercars going electric, the EP9 is the first car from NIO — a brand created in 2014 by Chinese auto company NextEV. Designed primarily for track use, the EP9 has a carbon-fiber cockpit and chassis; the car’s incredible downforce means translates to a hypercar capable of 3G cornering (we’re talking centrifugal force, not phone networking). The EP9’s battery packs are located on either side of the car and can be charged in as little as 45 minutes. Only 16 EP9s have been built at a price of $1.48 million. NIO plans to eventually use the technology in a line of consumer vehicles, although no word on when that will happen.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2019 NIO EP9
The EP9 uses four electric motors — each with its own individual gearbox — for a total power output of 1360 horsepower. Not only is the EP9 very quick (accelerating to 62 mph in a mere 2.7 seconds), in 2017 this electric hypercar completed a lap of the legendary Nurburgring Nordschleife racetrack in Germany in a staggering 6:45.9, making it the fastest electric car around the track. (The Volkswagen ID.R broke that record 2019.) Even more impressive, the NIO set a world record for the fastest autonomous sports car around the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, setting a time of 2:40.33 and reaching a top speed of 160 mph — all without a driver.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2020 McLaren Speedtail
Many would argue that the McLaren F1 is one of the most significant sports cars ever built, breaking a 10-year-old record in 1998 to become the world’s fastest production car by clocking a maximum speed of 240.14 mph. The British carmaker subsequently created some thrilling sports cars, but nothing could really be considered a proper successor to that iconic F1 until now: enter the McLaren Speedtail. Referred to as a “Hyper-GT,” the Speedtail is the fastest production McLaren ever with a top speed of 250 mph. The Speedtail is constructed around a carbon-fiber McLaren Monocage and makes extensive use of lightweight materials throughout. This includes a body made entirely from carbon fiber, aluminum active suspension and carbon-ceramic brakes — all contributing to a low vehicle weight of 3,153 pounds.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2020 McLaren Speedtail
Powering the McLaren Speedtail is a 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 engine teamed with an electric motor to generate a total of 1036 horsepower and a massive 848 lb-ft of torque. With that much power on tap, the Speedtail can reach 62 mph in 3 seconds and hit 186 mph in less than 13 seconds. Like the iconic F1, the new Speedtail puts the driver seat in the center of the cockpit, flanked by two passenger seats set farther back. The McLaren Speedtail has a starting price of $2.24 million.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2018 Koenigsegg Agera FE “Thor”
Practically every car brought to market by Swedish car company Koenigsegg would fit well within this collection of hypercars. Koenigsegg introduced its first road car in 2005: the CCR — a car that took the top speed record away from the McLaren F1. In 2010 Koenigsegg debuted the Agera, its first turbocharged car. During its eight years of production, the Agera set five world records for speed, including a production car speed record of 277.9 mph in 2017.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2018 Koenigsegg Agera FE “Thor”
On display at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles, this Agera — named “Thor” — is the second of two special Final Editions that hold distinction as the last Ageras built. Power comes from a turbocharged 5.0-liter V8 engine that produces 1341 horsepower. According to Koenigsegg, the Agera FE will sprint to 62 mph in 2.8 seconds and blaze on to a top speed of 284.55 mph. In addition to standard active aerodynamics, Thor also has a central shark fin and bespoke two-tone carbon fiber construction with a diamond-flake paint scheme.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2022 Devel Sixteen V8 Prototype
A new car company based in the United Arab Emirates, Devel Motors introduced the Sixteen V8 Prototype at the 2013 Dubai International Auto Show. Designed to resemble a jet fighter, the Devel will be available in three versions — the V8 seen here, as well as two V16-powered variants. The eventual production model is expected to house a 12.3-liter quad-turbo V16 producing 5007 horsepower and a ridiculous 3757 lb-ft of torque.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2022 Devel Sixteen V8 Prototype
The Devel model on display in Los Angeles is the V8 prototype featuring a 6.2-liter turbocharged V8 engine expected to produce 2000 horsepower. Devel says the V8 production model will accelerate to 62 mph in 2.4 seconds and possess a top speed of 285 mph. Given those impressive figures for the V8 powerplant, it is difficult to even imagine the expected performance of the 5007-horsepower version. The Devel Sixteen V8 has a starting price of $1.6 million.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2016 Pagani Huayra Hermes Edition
In 2011 Pagani introduced the Huayra as the first model from the Italian company that would sell worldwide. With styling unlike anything else on the road, this Pagani employs a unique active aero system — four flaps on the front and back of the car automatically actuate to increase downforce or reduce drag depending on the situation. The exotic body is built from a special carbon fiber / titanium composite.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2016 Pagani Huayra Hermes Edition
Providing a great deal to the Huayra’s exotic nature, this specially hand-built twin-turbo 6.0-liter Mercedes AMG V12 engine possesses 730 horses and has 811 lb-ft of torque. The Huayra Hermes Edition achieves 60 mph in 2.8 seconds and — almost as impressive — the Huayra can get back to a standstill in only 2 seconds. Top speed is listed at 230 mph. At a base price of $1.4 million, only 100 Huayras have been built. The owner of this particular Huayra collaborated with the French fashion house Hermes to create this unique variant. The leather trim in the cabin matches materials that Hermes uses in the construction of its luxurious handbags.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2017 Lamborghini Centenario
In proper tribute and in celebration of 100 years since Lamborghini founder Ferruccio Lamborghini’s birth, the company introduced this special limited-edition Centenario at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. The Centenario is built around a gloss carbon fiber monocoque, while the lower parts — including the front splitter, side skirts, wheel arches and rear diffuser — are in matte carbon fiber. This special model also has notoriety as the first Lamborghini to feature rear-wheel steering.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2017 Lamborghini Centenario
Even though it would stand out in any field of exotic sports cars, the Centenario is more than simply a pretty (or menacing) face. Centenario boasts a 760-horsepower V12 engine — the most powerful engine Lamborghini had ever produced. The extreme power allows for some impressive performance stats — this special Lambo sprints to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds and boasts a top speed around 220 mph. A limited number of just 20 coupes and 20 roadsters were produced at a starting price of $2.02 million.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta
In 2013 Ferrari introduced its most extreme production model called LaFerrari (yes, in Italian it’s simply “The Ferrari”). Engineers of the La Ferrari took the Italian car company’s Formula 1 technical expertise and put it in a street-legal hypercar. Three years later at the Paris Motor Show, Ferrari took the wraps off the open-top version of the LaFerrari: the Aperta. This open-top hypercar maintains the same torsional rigidity as the hardtop and uniquely has seats integrated into the chassis to lower overall weight while improving handling.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience 2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta
With a 6.3-liter V12 engine teamed with an electric motor to produce a total of 949 horsepower, the LaFerrari is the first hybrid road car from the Italian automaker. Drivers and passengers will need to hold onto their hats in the Aperta — 60 mph arrives in 2.5 seconds, 120 mph in less than 7 ticks and top speed is close to 220 mph. Only 210 Apertas were built — 200 for customers and 10 retained by Ferrari for shows and other promotional opportunities. The price at the time: $2.1 million.

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