Production car speed record
This is a list of the world's record-breaking top speeds achieved by street-legal production cars (as opposed to concept cars or modified cars). For the purposes of this list eligible cars are defined in the list's rules. This list uses a different definition to the List of automotive superlatives. The variation is because the term production car is otherwise undefined.
Because of the inconsistencies with the various definitions of production cars, dubious claims by manufacturers and self-interest groups, and inconsistent or changing application of the definitions this list has a defined set of requirements. For further explanation of how these were arrived at see the above link.
Post 1945 and over 124 mph (200 km/h) only
This list is also limited to post World War II production road cars which reached more than 124 mph (200 km/h), older cars are excluded even if they were faster. The Benz Velo as the first petrol driven car is the only exception.
Production car definition
For the purposes of this list, a production car is defined as a vehicle that is:
- constructed principally for retail sale to consumers, for their personal use, to transport people on public roads (no commercial or industrial vehicles are eligible)
- available for commercial sale to the public in the same specification as the vehicle used to achieve the record
- manufactured in the record-claiming specification by a manufacturer whose WMI number is shown on the VIN, including vehicles that are modified by either professional tuners or others that result in a VIN with a WMI number in their name (for example, if a Porsche-based car is remanufactured by RUF and has RUF's WMI W09, it is eligible; but if it has Porsche's WMI, WP0, it is not eligible)
- pre-1981 vehicles must be made by the original vehicle manufacturer and not modified by either professional tuners or individuals
- street-legal in its intended markets, having fulfilled the homologation tests or inspections required under either a) United States of America, b) European Union law, or (c) Japan) to be granted this status
- sold in more than one national market.
Measurement of top speed
To establish the top speed for cars at least since the 1990s the requirement is, in addition to the above, an independent road test with a two-way run. The mean of the top speed for both runs is taken as the car's top speed. In instances where the top speed has been determined by removing the limiter, the test met these requirements, and the car is sold with the limiter on then the limited speed is accepted as meeting this requirement. For the McLaren F1 the estimation by Car and Driver about the speed at the rev-limiter is used.
Record-breaking production vehicles
|Year||Make and model||Top speed of production car||Engine||Number built||Comment|
|1894||Benz Velo||12 mph
|1045 cm³ single-cylinder 1.5 bhp||1,200||First production car|
|1949||Jaguar XK120||124.6 mph
|3442 cm³ Inline-6 160 bhp||12,000||Some publications cite the XK120's timed top speed as almost 133 mph / 214 km/h in 1949. The XK120 that achieved this speed was a tuned prototype, not a production car. The production car reached 124.6 mph (200.5 km/h).|
|1955||Mercedes-Benz 300SL||150.7 mph
|2996 cm³ Inline-6 212 bhp||1,400||Two-way average speed tested by Automobil Revue in 1958. 245 km/h (152.2 mph) reached in one direction.|
|1959||Aston Martin DB4 GT||152 mph
|3670 cm³ Inline-6 302 bhp||75||Tested by Autosport in December 1961.|
|1963||Iso Grifo GL 365||161 mph
|5354 cm³ V8 360 bhp||over 400||Tested by Autocar in 1966. A total of 412 Iso Grifos were built 1963–1974.|
|1965||AC Cobra Mk III 427||165 mph
|6998 cm³ V8 485 bhp||>25||Tested by Car & Driver. Top speed described as observed|
|1967||Lamborghini Miura P400||171 mph
|3929 cm³ V12 350 bhp||275||Tested by Motor in June 1967. Over 750 units build in 1966–1973 period, which includes P400, P400 S and P400 SV models.|
|1968||Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona||174 mph
|4390 cm³ V12 352 bhp||about 1,400||Tested by Autocar in 1971.|
|1969||Lamborghini Miura P400S||179.3 mph
|3929 cm³ V12 370 bhp||338||Tested by Sport Auto in 1970.|
|1982||Lamborghini Countach LP500 S||182 mph
|4754 cm³ V12 375 bhp||323||Tested by Auto, Motor und Sport|
|1983||Ruf BTR||190 mph
|3367 cm³ turbocharged flat-6 374 bhp||about
|Tested by Auto, Motor und Sport, about 20-30 built with Ruf VIN|
|1986||Porsche 959||198 mph
|2849 cm³ twin-turbo flat-6 444 bhp||337||Tested by Road and Track in 1987. The 959 Deluxe version reached 197 mph (317 km/h), the Sport version 198 mph (319 km/h). 29 were built in a performance-enhanced 515 hp sports version which reached 339 km/h (211 mph) tested by Auto, Motor und Sport at Nardo in 1988.|
|1987||Ruf CTR||213 mph
|3367 cm³ twin-turbo flat-6 469 bhp||29||Tested by Auto, Motor und Sport at Nardò Ring in 1988|
|1993||McLaren F1||221 mph
|6064 cm³ V12 618 bhp||64||Speed at the rev limiter estimated by Car and Driver. Without the rev-limiter, it was able to reach a top-speed of 240.3 mph (386.7 km/h). No tested top speed faster than 335 km/h (208 mph) found for an unmodified car.|
|2004||Koenigsegg CCR||241.009 mph
|4700 cm³ twin-supercharged V8 806bhp||14||Recorded at the Nardò Ring testing facility on 28 February 2005.|
|2005||Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4||253.81 mph
|7993 cm³ quad-turbo W16 987 bhp||300||Recorded and verified by German inspection officials on 19 April 2005.|
|2007||SSC Ultimate Aero TT||256.18 mph
|6345 cm³ supercharged V8 1183 bhp||<20||Two-way average top speed measured independently on a temporarily-closed 2 lane stretch of public highway in Washington State using Dewetron’s GPS tracking system and verified by Guinness.|
|2010||Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport||258 mph
|7993 cm³ quad-turbo W16 1183 bhp||30||Out of the initial production run of 30, 5 cars were named the Super Sport World Record Edition. With the electronic limiter turned off the Super Sport World Record Edition was capable of 431.072 km/h (267.856 mph) two-way average. When sold they were electronically limited to 415 km/h (258 mph). Pierre-Henri Raphanel drove the unlimited car and its top speed was verified by Guinness World Records.|
|2017||Koenigsegg Agera RS||277.87 mph
|5000 cm³ twin-turbo V8 1341 bhp||25||The base engine produces 865 kW (1,160 hp), 11 cars were factory specced with the 1MW option. Niklas Lilja drove one of them in November 2017. Its top speed was independently verified by Racelogic..|
Difficulties with claims
Comparing claimed speeds of the fastest production cars in the world, especially in historical cases, is difficult as there is no standardized method for determining the top speed and no central authority to verify any such claims. Examples of the difficulties faced were shown up in the dispute between Bugatti and Hennessey over which car was the world's fastest.
Bugatti Veyron limiter removal
On 4 July 2010 the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport reached 431.072 km/h (267.856 mph) two-way average. Bugatti built 30 Super Sports (5 of them named World Record Edition). At the time the record was set it was known that the customer cars were electronically limited to 415 km/h (257.87 mph). Guinness Book of Records (which had listed speeds by British cars with modified rev limiter as production car records in the 1990s) listed the unlimited 431.072 km/h (267.856 mph) as production car speed record. Yet, 3 years later, after a query by the Sunday Times Guinness' PR director Jaime Strang was quoted: "As the car’s speed limiter was deactivated, this modification was against the official guidelines. Consequently, the vehicle’s record set at 431.072 km/h is no longer valid." 5 days later it was written on its website: "Guinness World Records would like to confirm that Bugatti's record has not been disqualified; the record category is currently under review." Five days later Bugatti’s speed record was confirmed: "Following a thorough review conducted with a number of external experts, Guinness World Records is pleased to announce the confirmation of Bugatti’s record of Fastest production car achieved by the Veyron 16.4 Super Sport. The focus of the review was with respect to what may constitute a modification to a car’s standard specification. Having evaluated all the necessary information, Guinness World Records is now satisfied that a change to the speed limiter does not alter the fundamental design of the car or its engine."
Cars excluded from the list
Some cars were not considered to be the fastest production vehicles, for various reasons. Here is a list of some well known cars that have not been able to meet standards needed to be the fastest production car.
|Year||Make and model||Top speed of production car||Engine||Number built||Comment|
|1953||Pegaso Z-102 BS 2.8 Supercharged||151 mph
|<20||More information needed to confirm if test result qualifies|
|1959||Maserati 5000 GT||172.4 mph
|4935/4941 cm³ 340/325 bhp||2+32||no accurate measurement and only the first two cars had the 340 bhp engine, 22 cars had coachwork by Allemano, 12 by 7 other companies |
|1962||Studebaker Avanti R3||171.1 mph
|9||Article implies the tested version was possibly modified - needs a better source.|
|1962||Ferrari 250 GTO||147 mph
|2953 cm³ 296 bhp||39||tested by Motor, speed record already higher|
|1974||Lamborghini Countach LP400||179 mph
|3929 cm³ 375 bhp||158||Tested by Auto, Motor und Sport, speed record already higher|
|1984||Ferrari 288 GTO||188 mph
|2855 cm³ 400 bhp||272||Tested by Auto, Motor und Sport in 1985. Doubted, since Automobil Revue measured only 279 km/h (173 mph) for the identical car and even several remeasurements at two additional test dates didn't yield more than 288 km/h (179 mph). Road & Track measured 179 and 180 mph (289.7 km/h) at two tests. Speed record already higher than 188 mph (303 km/h)|
|1985||Lamborghini Countach 5000QV||185 mph
|5167 cm³ 449 bhp||676||Tested by Auto, Motor und Sport. The car which was tested 190.1 mph (305.9 km/h) by Fast Lane in 1986 and listed in the Guinness Book of World Records 1988 had a factory modified airbox. Speed record already higher.|
|1990||Vector W8||242 mph
(389 km/h) for prototype
|5973 cm³ 625 bhp||17 production models||No verified top speed for production model, 218 mph (350 km/h) claimed|
|1991||Bugatti EB110 GT||210 mph
|3500 cm³ 550 bhp||95||Tested by sport auto (French), speed record already higher.|
|1992||Jaguar XJ220||210.5 mph
|3498 cm³ 542 bhp||281||Tested by Road & Track, speed record already higher. The 217.1 mph Guinness World Records speed was measured by Jaguar one-way without independent control with a car modified for about 50 extra hp, the 212.3 mph claims were also factory measured without independent control.|
|1993||Bugatti EB110 SS||218 mph
|3500 cm³ 603 bhp||30||speed record already higher.|
|1993||Dauer 962 Le Mans||251.4 mph
|2994 cm³ 720 bhp||13||404.6 km/h (251.4 mph) independently measured at Ehra-Lessien in November 1998. Porsche WMI number - does not meet this list's rules|
|2010||Hennessey Venom GT||270.49 mph
|7000 cm³ 1244 bhp||16||Single direction top speed test run in 2014|
- History of the automobile
- Land speed record
- List of fastest production cars by acceleration – note that this list uses a different definition of a production car to both the list of fastest production cars and the list of automotive superlatives
- Nunez, Alex (24 February 2014), "The Hennessey Venom GT is the world's fastest car; Hits 270 mph on tarmac reserved for astronauts", Road & Track
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