If you love your power absolute, then only a hypercar will do. The very peak of the high performance art, these exotic, expensive and explosively fast machines deliver the ultimate in driver thrills thanks to some money-no-object, cutting-edge engineering.
Sitting at the top of the performance car pecking order, the hypercar’s origins are relatively recent. If the Lamborghini Miura was the first supercar back in the Sixties, then the archetypal hypercar was arguably the 2005 Bugatti Veyron, which with its 16-cylinders, four turbos and 250mph top speed raised the bar to the next level.
In the two decades since the Bugatti made its sensational debut, the number of hypercars has increased almost as quickly as the Veyron accelerated. What’s more, the fact these machines are state-of-the-art speed merchants mean they are an eclectic bunch when it comes to engineering. From pure petrol machines, through to powerful plug-in hybrids and high energy all-electric offerings, the hypercar uses many different motive forces in an effort to hurl itself at the horizon as quickly as possible.
So, here’s our top 10 performance paragons, each one pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the pursuit of performance. Each one is a high octane thrill ride that’ll have no doubt broken the speed odd record as it stakes its claim on a place in the automotive hall of fame.
When it comes to design philosophy, it would be best to describe the Aston Martin Valkyrie as ‘uncompromising’. The brainchild of Red Bull F1 technical director and all-round aerodynamic genius, Adrian Newey, the jaw-dropping British machine has been created to deliver the ultimate in outright performance, with nothing coming between it and its lap times-smashing goal.
Despite wearing number plates, headlamps and indicators, the Aston Martin is really a purebred racer that you just so happen to be able to put in for an MoT. The lightweight carbon tub has been designed with strength in mind, while the knee-high body’s surfaces have been sculpted by wind tunnel data and feature adaptive aero surfaces.
The suspension is equally trick, its active adjustable ride height aiming to keep the car on an even keel as aero and cornering forces build. Yet arguably the highlight is the naturally aspirated (but very mild hybrid assisted) 6.5-litre V12 motor that revs to a heady 11,000rpm and delivers a knockout 1140bhp punch for 0-62mph in 2.5 seconds and a 220mph top speed.
Inside, the stripped-out interior there’s barely enough room for the driver despite the two-seat billing, while noise-cancelling headphones are required to protect against the ear-splitting howl of that Cosworth-built motor. Sensory overload is guaranteed, and if you’re brave enough few cars are quicker around a circuit. Yes the active suspension strips away some vital feedback and the standard Michelin rubber isn’t quite up to the incredible forces the Valkyrie can generate, but as visceral automotive experience few come close.