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Top 5 Fastest Street Legal Cars in the World

August 19, 2013

Speed: why are we so obsessed with it? With a maximum UK speed limit of 70mph, some people may consider it pointless building cars capable of surpassing this speed. One argument is that the raw speed a car can achieve is merely one way of measuring its overall power. That same power can prove useful in other ways, such as acceleration and general performance. However, there’s no denying one of the main reasons people love fast cars: cool factor. With this invaluable asset in mind, here are the top five fastest street legal cars in the world.

Bugatti EB110 GT

Speed heroes Bugatti first unveiled the EB110 GT on the 15th September 1991, on the 110th anniversary of company founder Ettore Bugatti’s birth. The car – a mid-engined, four-wheel drive, two-door coupe – boasted a 60-valve, 3.5 litre quad-turbo V12 engine capable of developing 553 hp at 8000 rpm. Able to accelerate from 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds, the EB110 GT has a theoretical top speed of 213 mph. Design touches such as a carbon fibre chassis and a speed sensitive, adjustable rear wing (designed to produce downdraft and keep the car tightly hugging the tarmac) enabled the Bugatti EB100 GT to achieve a verified speed record of 209mph. For this reason, the model was, at least briefly, the fastest production car in the world.

Jaguar XJ220

Bugatti’s reign lasted just over a year, until October 1992, when Britain’s own Jaguar released the XJ220. This rear mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive behemoth was a two-door coupe like the Bugatti EB110 GT which, also like the Bugatti, came with a 3.5 litre engine. However, the XJ220 relied on a twin turbocharged V6 rather than the Bugatti’s V12, allowing the car’s wheelbase to be shortened, and its overall weight reduced. All this equates to a maximum of 540 hp at 7200 rpm, meaning the Jaguar XJ220 can accelerate from 0.60 in a mere 3.6 seconds. The XJ220’s chassis used an Alcan-bonded honeycomb aluminium structure, helping to give the finished car a kerb weight of only 1,470kg, and allowing the Jaguar XJ220 to achieve a verified top speed of 213mph – thus usurping the Bugatti’s title.

McLaren F1

The next contender for the throne came in the form of the McLaren F1. Although production originally began in 1992, it wasn’t until 1993 that the F1 secured the new production car speed record. Like its predecessor, the F1 was a rear mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive two door coupe, but, unlike the Jaguar XJ220, the F1 came with a whopping 6.1 litre V12 engine. This allowed the road version of the F1 to develop 618 hp at 7400 rpm, accelerating from 0-60mph in just 3.2 seconds. One key innovation of the F1 was an active aerodynamic system based on two fans sucking air from diffusers under the car. This helped keep the F1 tight to the track without the need for a large rear-wing to ensure stability. Doing this significantly reduced the F1’s overall drag co-efficient, making this a considerably more efficient design. The original rev limited version of the F1 achieved a verified top speed of 231mph in 1993. However, in 1998, a version without the rev limiter managed a top speed of 243mph. The F1 remains the fastest naturally aspirated production car to this day.

Bugatti Veyron 16.4 and Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

The top two cars are kind of a cheat, as they are essentially two versions of the same car. Determined to reclaim the title of world’s fastest street legal car, in 2005, Bugatti unleashed the Veyron. Both versions of the Veyron are longitudinal mid-engined, four-wheel drive coupes. Both versions rely on 8.0 litre, quad-turbocharged, W16 cylinder engines (equal to two narrow-angle V8 engines). The original Veyron 16.4 was capable of producing between 987 and 1006 bhp with a kerb weight of 1,888 kilos – giving a 0-62.1mph time of only 2.46 seconds. On the 19th of April 2005, the original Bugatti Veyron 16.4 achieved a verified top speed of 253.81mph, smashing McLaren’s previous record.

But Bugatti weren’t finished there. Determined to surpass even their own records, in 2010, they released the Veyron Super Sport model. Capable of producing 1,200 bhp and with improved aerodynamics, the new Veyron set a verified top speed of 257.87mph.

However you feel about the need for speed in modern production cars, one thing is certain – as long as cars rule the roads, manufacturers will strive to make theirs the fastest. And when that manufacturer is Bugatti, we wouldn’t bet against them.

About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.