Speed is as American as the Constitution, Taco Bell, and the Super Bowl. It’s in our DNA – in fact, put any American, regardless of age, behind the wheel of a quick car and watch their face light up with pure, unadulterated joy as they stomp the gas. It’s just who we are. Sure, Europe may lay claim to the supercar, but they could never in their wildest dreams begin to match the pure hooliganism of a big V8, a lead foot, cheap gas, and hundreds of miles of straight, flat highway.
And with technology raising horsepower and top speeds, while emissions and prices fall, American automakers are in the middle of a golden age that harkens back to the days of fast and powerful muscle cars in the 1960s and ’70s. Only now, we’ve figured out how to handle the Europeans, and as a result our now finest performance cars also happen to be among some the best cars on the entire planet.
10. Tesla P90D (155 miles per hour)
Yes, the P90D is limited to a top speed of “just”155 miles per hour, just like a full-size SUV from Mercedes. But unlike other cars in the 155 club (a common top speed for limited cars), the P90D has 762 horsepower and can sprint from zero to 60 in an eye-watering 2.8 seconds. Top speed be damned, the P90D is just plain quick.
9. Ford Shelby GT350 (180 miles per hour)
Unlike Shelby Musangs of yore, the GT350 is no straight-line rocket. I mean, it is that, but unlike its predecessors, this ponycar can actually take a corner too. In fact, the new GT350 carves corners about as well as Europe’s best, and is fast shaping up to be one of the most formidable track toys in the world. Zero to 60 comes in around 3.7 seconds, and with 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque coming from a Ferrari-inspired 5.2 liter flat-plane crank V8, it sounds unlike anything to ever come from the US of A. For drivers who view things like air conditioning and sound deadening as excess weight, they can opt for the even more track-focused GT350R (pictured above).
8. Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 (184 miles per hour)
With an all-new Camaro on the way, the current ZL1 is a lame duck, a fact Ford is all to happy to exploit with the GT350. But the current ZL1 is far from dead; it’s still available from Chevy, and with a 580 horsepower, 6.2 liter V8, it’s still one of the most formidable cars on the road. And while Ford has Chevy beat in the top end of the muscle car market for now, a next-generation ZL1 has just been spotted at the Nürburgring, and should hit the streets in 2017. Expect it to be lighter, meaner, and faster.
7. Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (185 miles per hour)
Like the Camaro, when the C6 Corvette was replaced by the infinitely better C7 in 2014, it lost its top-dog ZR-1. While that car could break the important 200-mile per hour mark, today’s Z06 tops out at 185. Still, the new ‘Vette is more refined in virtually every way, and with 650 horses taking the car from zero to 60 in 2.95 seconds, it’s plenty quick for most. For the few that are still unconvinced, rumor has it that Chevy is working on a next-gen ZR1 for 2017, and it may even be – gasp!– mid-engined.
6. Dodge Hellcat Challenger (199 miles per hour)
Frankly, we’re still getting over the fact that the mad geniuses at FCA found a way to legally sell a 707 horsepower car that can go from zero to 60 in around three seconds and top out at 199 miles per hour for under $60,000. If you ever needed a reason to love American cars, here it is.
5. Equus Bass 770 (200 miles per hour)
What do you get when a shadowy European businessman decides to build a 640 horsepower, $200,000-plus sportscar that can hit the magic 200 mile per hour mark? Something as American as baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet, that’s what. Unveiled at the 2014 Detroit North American International Auto Show as a 2015 model, the Detroit-built the Bass 770 is the most classic-looking muscle car to come out of the Motor City since the GM A-Body left production in ’81. Largely composed of carbon fiber and aluminum, and it borrows its 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine form the Chevrolet Corvette.
4. Cadillac CTS-V (200 miles per hour)
The last CTS-V was one hell of a performer. For 2016, Cadillac has made it even better. Car and Driver calls it the “four door Corvette,” and they’re not exaggerating. It shares its 640 horsepower supercharged V8 with the Z06, and astonishingly, Cadillac has found a way to make the engine even hotter. Zero to 60 comes in 3.7 seconds, on its way to a top speed of an even 200 miles per hour.
3. Dodge Hellcat Charger (204 miles per hour)
Like the CTS-V, Dodge’s big four-door shares its powerplant with a smaller coupe, and also like the Caddy, this sedan is faster. In fact, it’s the fastest production sedan in the world. For under $64,000, lucky Hellcat owners get a zero to 60 time of around 3.7 seconds, that 707 horsepower supercharged 6.2 liter V8 from the Challenger, and an incredible top speed of 204 miles per hour.
2. Dodge SRT Viper (206 miles per hour)
It’s no surprise that the boys and girls at Mopar all but own the top of the horsepower list, and the Viper is one of the biggest reasons why. Dodge’s long-serving halo car employs an 8.4 liter, 640 horsepower V10 engine, capable of going from 0-60 in around three seconds. With a price that starts $97,000, the Viper hardly seems like a bargain, but with that massive V10 and a top speed of 206 miles per hour, you’re talking about Ferrari performance for Mercedes S-Class prices.
1. Hennessey Venom (270 miles per hour)
More mythical beast than full-fledged production car, it would be a crime to put the Hennessey Venom GT anywhere but at the top of the list. Capable of speeds of up to 270 miles per hour, the Venom GT has beat out the Bugatti Veyron to become the world’s fastest production car. It practically leaves blisters on the asphalt, jumping from 0-100 miles per hour in 5.6 seconds thanks to its 1,244 horsepower 7.0-liter Twin Turbocharged V8 engine. Manufactured in Texas, the $1.2 million Venom GT is easily the fastest road car to ever come from America.