When it comes to gearheads and their love of cars, there is one factor used to judge vehicles over all others – power. And by power, we mean the engine that is under the hood. The bigger, tougher, and more powerful the engine, the more valuable a car is. At least in the minds of speed demons and auto enthusiasts.
We’re talking stock horsepower here. We’re skipping cars that can win street races with many after-market modifications or out-of-this-world rocket cars that have been built specifically to break land speed records. We’re referring to the most powerful cars that have been manufactured by top flight car companies. You know, ones that you can actually buy and drive yourself. Here’s a list of the ten most powerful cars of all-time.
10. Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (2011)
It seems appropriate to open this list with a Mustang – the quintessential muscle car. And the 2011 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is a beauty of a car. Stylish, sleek and as cool as Mustangs come, this car was first produced only five years ago. And while this is a recent vehicle, many automotive journalists and car lovers consider the Shelby GT500 to be a modern classic. And, in addition to its style, the Shelby GT500 also boasts an exceptional engine under the hood.
The car has a 5.4-liter V8 engine that produces 550 horsepower. If that weren’t enough, the car has a wicked maximum speed of nearly 200 miles per hour. Add to this a lighter body in comparison to previous Mustangs, and you’ve got a car that has plenty of pick-up and superfast acceleration. Ford has continued to push the envelope on its Mustangs, but the Shelby GT500 is a definite standout in terms of pure power.
9. Saleen S7 (2000)
Another relatively recent car that pushes boundaries in terms of power and speed is the Saleen S7, a supercar that was unveiled in 2000 by engineering company Ray Mallock Ltd. The Saleen S7 was expected to become an intense competitor in the coveted supercar sales segment. However, this vehicle never reached the lofty expectations that were set for it for one main reason – it was considered too fast.
Reviewers labeled the car “unstoppable” and “uncontrollable,” and those monikers scared off potential buyers. Some people still bought it as a collector’s item though, but the car was viewed to be too powerful for regular use. Built out with a 7-liter V8 engine that had 16 valves and produced 550 horsepower, the Saleen S7 goes down as one of the most powerful cars ever. It’s design concept was based on a popular Ford V8 block-mounted engine, only taken to extremes by the engineers who designed the S7.
8. Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 (2012)
Ticking up a notch in terms of horsepower is the Chevy Camaro ZL1, which came out in 2012. Another classic in the American tradition of muscle cars, the Camaro is a legendary nameplate that is revered by car enthusiasts. And the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is one of the most powerful cars ever built that bares the Camaro brand. This version of the Camaro is also one of the most powerful vehicles ever produced by Chevrolet.
It has it all – style, power, force and an excellent automotive pedigree. This model of Camaro, produced in 2012, has a V8, 6.2-liter engine with 16 valves, which is a modified version of the Corvette ZR1 V8 motor. The Camaro ZL1 purrs with 580 horsepower under the hood making it a near perfect muscle car, and certainly one of the most powerful vehicles of all time.
7. Aston Martin Vantage GT12 (2015)
In addition to making some extremely elegant cars over the years, Aston Martin has also made some extremely fast and powerful vehicles. One of its more recent tour de forces has been the Vantage GT12. A race car that is street approved, the Aston Martin Vantage GT12 is fired by a V12 engine that produces 595 horsepower and can reach speeds of 185 miles per hour. Impressive!
Described by critics who test drove the car as “angry” and “challenging,” the GT12 is also known for being very loud and noisy. The engine’s sound is magnified by a titanium exhaust that amplifies the growls and roars. Also known for loud cylinder explosions during acceleration. A car that has earned a reputation for both power and speed.
6. Dodge Viper SRT-10 (2008)
It’s almost impossible not to love the Dodge Viper. A perfect combination of style and power, Dodge Vipers are beloved around the world. And the Viper SRT-10 produced in 2008 is a standout in this line of cars. Labeled a “supercar,” the Dodge Viper SRT-10 was produced to meet the competition from rivals head-on. The Dodge Viper SRT-10 not only competed in the segment, it won hands down. Really, how do you compete against an 8.4-liter V10 20-valve engine that cranks out 600 horsepower? What other car can match that power and take on that challenge? Nobody, that’s who.
The engine in this Viper contains several special features that add to its power, including separate ignition coils for every separate spark plug. Engineers claim that this engine is perfect for tuning. In case you have a need for even more horsepower, special turbocharged kits are available for speed buffs who want even more power from the engine. The allure of the Dodge Viper SRT-10 is undeniable.
5. Vector W8 (1990)
Another curiosity from the past is the Vector W8 supercar, produced at the dawn of the 1990s. With style to spare, the Vector W8 was the type of car that was plastered on the bedroom walls of teenage boys back in the day. The Vector W8, manufactured by the Vector Aeromotive Corporation, was more than a pretty face. It also had award-winning power. With a maximum speed of 258 miles per hour, the Vector W8 attracted a lot of attention concerning the engine housed under the car’s bonnet.
Tricked out with a six-liter V8 twin-turbo charged engine with 16 valves and 625 horsepower, the Vector W8 blazed a path across the automotive world similar to a comet back in 1990. Additionally, the engine also had an aluminum small-block with an intercooler and twin turbochargers to make it that much more impressive.
4. Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (2013)
You can’t compile a list like this without including a Vette on it. And the Chevy Corvette Z06 is one of the fastest and most powerful of the brand ever assembled. Adored by car snobs everywhere, the Camaro Z06 is a true super sports car. It has a 6.2-liter V8 engine, which produces 650 horsepower (“wow” is right). This car, which debuted in 2013, is actually a racing car that is legally designed for driving on urban streets. It has become extremely popular with consumers not only in the U.S. but in Europe and the Middle East too.
In fact, this car has proved to be so popular that Chevy has announced plans to continue manufacturing new models of it past 2017 and likely through 2020. Of course at a starting price of $80,000, you’ll need to save your pennies to be able to afford one.
3. Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (2014)
Another impressive Mustang on this list is the Shelby GT500 that rolled off the assembly line in 2014. How does this model differ from the first entry on this list? The main difference is that it has a more powerful engine that produces a heavy 662 horsepower. That alone makes it one of the most powerful cars you can take on civilian roads.
Other things to like about this version of the Shelby GT500 include a six speed manual transmission, rear wheel drive, break neck acceleration and optional Recaro sport seats. Regularly ranked among the best Mustangs of all time, this car is certainly one of the most powerful that the Ford Motor Company has ever produced.
2. Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat (2015)
It’s called a “Hellcat” for a reason. The Dodge Challenger SRT manufactured in 2015 is one of the most powerful cars ever made. It has pick-up and then some. A modern update of the original SRT Hellcat that is beloved by car aficionados all over the globe, this Dodge Challenger won numerous awards for its style and power.
It’s equipped with a fiery 6.4-liter V8 engine that produces 707 horsepower. That makes the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat more powerful than most Lamborghinis and Ferraris. Plus, the look of this car is super awesome. It looks like a vintage muscle car from the 1960s. Easy to see why this car set pre-order sales records when it was first announced. It is the epitome of what a muscle car should be.
1. Ferrari F12 TdF (2015)
Capable of producing 770 horsepower and reaching speeds of 211 miles per hour, the Ferrari F12 TdF makes it to the top of this power poll. Amazing on both the track and the highway, this Ferrari is known for being both fast and stable. A Ferrari in the truest sense, this car combines expert engineering with beautiful design. It is both powerful and luxurious. And it has impressed automotive critics and consumers worldwide.
The Ferrari F12 TdF has proven that it belongs in the pantheon of great cars produced by Ferrari. And, being a Ferrari, it comes in the traditional color of Ferrari red, of course. It also costs north of $100,000 to own. But with 770 horsepower under the hood, it may well be worth the investment.