Speed matters, especially when it comes to the fastest cars in the world.
But what manufacturers claim their multi-million pound hypercars are capable of and what they have actually been proven to achieve are two very different things. That’s why this list focuses on recorded times, not the ‘theoretical’ top speed figures. Unless it set a time in real life, it hasn’t made the cut.
Like owning a watch that works on the moon, or a pen that can write at 200m under the sea, it’s nice to know that, your car can perform miles-per-hour miracles - were you to find somewhere where it was safe and legal to do so.
With that in mind, here are the fastest production road cars by the numbers. And because chasing top speed is such a wild and outlandish pursuit, we've gone for a Spinal Tap top 11, rather than the usual 10.
11. McLaren F1 - 240.1mph
Famously set by racing driver Andy Wallace at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien test track in March 1998, the monumental British hypercar carried the title of World’s fastest production car for the best part of 15 years. However, that figure required the rev limiter to be raised to 8,300rpm - no production F1 has ever been recorded at more than 211mph, though unmodified, the 6.1-litre V12 should be capable of a still astonishing 221mph.
10. Koenigsegg CCR - 241.1mph
The car that knocked the F1 off the top spot did so at Italy’s Nardo Ring test track in February 2005. Koenigsegg’s second-ever production model used a 4.7-litre twin-supercharged V8 to produce north of 800bhp and urge it on to beat McLaren by a single mile per hour. The record wouldn’t stand for long, however; just two months later, Bugatti would take the crown in spectacular fashion.
9. McLaren Speedtail - 250mph
There’s an argument that McLaren should have put an end to all top speed bragging rights when its iconic F1 clocked 240.1mph with Le Man winner Andy Wallace at the wheel. The Gordon Murray-designed machine held the record for 18 years, while it took McLaren 22 years before it could better its original record-breaker with the Speedtail. Like its ancestor, it featured a novel three-seater layout with a central driving position, but its combination of 747bhp twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 and 309bhp of electrification delivers a total output of 1055bhp and a top speed of 250mph.