In the wrong hands, a powerful car can be a dangerous liability. However, when driven responsibly, a high-performance car can include some hugely valuable safety benefits, such as safer overtaking and better road-holding.
When discussing cars of this type, there are two statistics that people tend to look at: top speed and acceleration. The most important number to look at when assessing the performance of a road car is the acceleration, which is normally expressed as the length in seconds that it takes to go from a standing start to 60 miles per hour.
A car that can accelerate quickly will be better equipped to get you out of a tight squeeze when overtaking or merging with traffic. By comparison, the top speed is a largely irrelevant statistic, as even the lowliest cars can drive comfortably at the national speed limit (70mph). So, for the purposes of this list, we have ranked the cars in terms of acceleration from 0-60mph, rather than any other factor.
1. Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
If you have the best part of two million quid burning a hole in your pocket, then you could do worse than splashing out on the world’s fastest road car, the Bugatti Veyron SS. With an eight litre, 64-valve turbocharged engine with the power of 1,200 horses under the bonnet, it’s a little over specified for road use, but with a 0-60 mph time of 2.4 seconds, it should have enough grunt to get past an articulated lorry or two without leaving you exposed.
2. Hennessey Venom GT
Coming a close second behind the Veyron SS at less than half the price is this boutique supercar, of which only 10 will be made every year. The 1200 hp twin turbo V8 is capable of taking this car from 0-60 mph in a mere 2.5 seconds, just a tenth of a second short of the Bugatti.
3. Lamborghini Sesto Elemento
Lamborghini have a long and illustrious history of producing attractive supercars such as the classic Countach, and the Sesto Elemento more than lives up to this grand tradition. Although its V10 engine puts out less than half the horsepower of the top two in this list, the lightweight frame ensures that it can still reach 60mph from a standing start in around 2.5 seconds.
4. Porsche 911 Turbo S
The 911 is one of the all-time classic supercars, and the latest flagship model is the fastest yet with a 0-60 mph time of 2.7 seconds. Also, with a base price of around £100,000, it’s a lot more affordable than most of other big-name supercars.
5. SSC Ultimate Aero
Before the Veyron SS stole its thunder in 2010, the American-made SSC Ultimate Aero was the fastest production car in the world, with a 0-60 mph time of 2.78 secs.
6. Ascari A10
For those who like to buy British, the Ascari A10 is the fastest UK-made car on the road, with a 0-60 mph time of 2.8 seconds. However, you may have to wait a while to get your hands on one, as only 50 of these cars are made each year, and there is a sizeable waiting list.
7. Nissan GT-R
Although Japanese supercars lack the history and prestige of their European brethren, Nissan certainly went a long way towards correcting this with the GT-R, which can reach 60mph in around 2.8 seconds.
8. Caterham 7 Superlight R500
The Caterham marque has a long and distinguished tradition of making bare-bones supercars with a strong retro appeal. The R500 is their fastest to date with a 0-60 mph time of 2.88 seconds, and while the engine only puts out 263 hp, the lightweight chassis ensures that it can compete with much more powerful machines in terms of pure performance.
9. Koenigsegg Agera R
Although Swedish carmakers are better known for making sturdy, reliable, but ultimately dull vehicles, the Agera R makes a decent stab at injecting a dash of flair into the nation’s automotive heritage. It’s not cheap, but with a space-age design featuring wings that help the car respond to tailwinds and headwinds, and a 0-60 time of 2.9 seconds, it should be able to get you out of all but the tightest of spots.
10. Mclaren MP4-12C
For a time in the 1990s and early 2000s, Mclaren ruled the supercar roost with its groundbreaking F1 supercar, and this slightly less catchily-titled motor is the company’s first road-going effort since. Like the Lamborghini Sesto, it achieves its impressive performance with a combination of a lightweight chassis and a powerful engine, and can reach 60mph in just 3.1 seconds.
Information provided to you by Allianz Your Cover (www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk).