The very peak of automotive performance and the very fastest, most expensive and most powerful four-wheel achievements in the world are represented in our hypercars top ten.
If it has set a production-car speed record lately or taken us into uncharted territory on ask-and-you-can’t-afford showroom price or peak power output, chances are you’ll find it here.
Some of this class’s entrants have state-of-the-art hybrid-electric powertrains, others just savagely fierce combustion motors ready to hurl them into the middle distance. But all are monuments to both the science and the thrill of out-and-out speed.
Ferrari’s latest top-of-the-tree hypercar is nothing less than the greatest and most sensational peak that the performance car has ever reached. Powered by an incredible, spine-tingling, naturally aspirated, 789bhp 6.3-litre V12 assisted by 161bhp of electric power channelled direct to the rear wheels, the LaFerrari’s powertrain makes an incredible 950bhp all told. Although we never got the chance to strap our timing gear to one, Ferrari claims the car hurls itself to 62mph in just 2.4sec and to 186mph in just 15sec.
And yet, in spite of its enormous performance and mind-boggling mechanical complication, the LaFerrari has absurdly benign and exploitable limit handling manners that make it so much more approachable and exciting to drive on a circuit than you’d ever believe it could be.
Ferrari charged more than £1million for each car. It made 500 in all, producing the last of them in 2015, and has so far succeeded it only with the FXXK track special and the LaFerrari Aperta convertible. The LaFerrari is a monument to everything Ferrari does singularly well and still our reigning hypercar standard-bearer.
McLaren Automotive’s first ‘Ultimate Series’ car had to follow in the footsteps of the firm’s legendary and celebrated F1, which built the company a worldwide reputation all by itself. McLaren resisted the temptation to make the P1 a modern facsimile of the F1, however, instead having a 903bhp hybrid-electric powertrain, a two-seat interior, state-of-the-art suspension technology, lightweight construction and competition-grade aerodynamics to deliver the fastest, most focused and most exciting performance car it could imagine, fit for equally unprecedented thrills on both road and track.
The particular thrills the P1 conjures make it incredibly fast and purposeful at pace and capable of challenging and rewarding its driver to a level that only racing drivers normally experience. On the road, it’s surprisingly docile and drivable, although less mind-bogglingly exciting than McLaren made it out to be. But you won’t find a more technologically advanced, remorselessly effective or exquisitely purposeful performance car anywhere in the world than this.