At some point in our life we ask ourselves at least a variation of the ever-classic question, “what is the meaning of life?” While its answer just as likely to be the same as someone winning the lottery, one of those answers will and should always be “push life to the limit.” One of the best examples of pushing the limits is and will always be found within the automotive industry; a history more often defined by the term innovation, acceleration, speed and achieve what was once thought to be impossible. Though a list of fifty ultimate supercars and exotics doesn’t come close to fully capturing what the automotive world has accomplished. That said, these fifty more than deserve our recognition and ultimate reference.
It only feels right to begin our list with such impressive performance and head turning exterior styling it has earned the respect of superheros (Bruce Wayne initially comes to mind). The term “they got it right” pales in comparison to Lamborghini’s lack of will to compromise beauty for speed and performance with the birth of the Murcielago.
Often referenced as the first exotic vehicle to mark the dawn of a new era in the supercar world, Bugatti wasted no time when the Veyron shattered a world record in top speed as it cruised past 250 miles per hour. Never before had the world considered a 16-cylinder power plant would be possible, let alone drive-able. This certainly wouldn’t be the first, nor the last head-turning street-legal head-turner from Bugatti!
Enzo Ferrari is beyond legendary; the end. After decades of dominance, Mr. Ferrari had one last gift to give us in the all-inspiring Ferrari F40 (the last he would entirely oversee). To this day, the F40 finds itself among the most desired of the brand. Nearly breaking the 200 mile per hour mark while achieving a zero-to-sixty time of 4.2 seconds cemented this Ferrari as one of the (if not the) ultimate street-legal racer of it’s time.
Anytime F1 is mentioned, most will only remember a few key players in the ultra-fast, high-octane sport. Nearly etched in stone, legacy manufacturers such as McLaren more than make the list. The man carrying the torch to greater heights was Aryton Senna (few drivers ever make a name for themselves to have a car named after them). McLaren made certain to “put some respect on his name” when the Senna clocked not only a quarter mile time of 10 seconds off the production line but, a 0-60 in as little as 2.8 seconds.
Pagani Huayra BC
There are few supercars that break the price barrier equivalent to that of a city block; the Huayra BC does just that (at a whopping $3.5 million). While we must note the “BC” model is technically a track driven hyper-car, there’s no denying its status as an all-time roadster. This light-weight roadster, weighing in at only 2,685 lbs. pumps out roughly 800 horsepower from its 6.0L AMG V12 power plant. Even though that may sound like a straight-line-only drag-car (0-60mph in 2.5 seconds), the Roadster BC proves it stands alone as it consistently generates up to 1.9Gs of lateral force in the corners.
For those not in-the-know, the limited addition Aventador-based Veneno was designed and specifically developed in honor of Lamborghini’s 50th anniversary. If you’ve never been pushed to over 1G (gravitational pull), prepare yourself for slightly more as it corners without coming close to breaking traction, producing roughly 1.41 Gs in mild cornering conditions with street tires. Admiration of the smooth underbelly aerodynamics, aggressive styling of a fighter jet, to the adjustable suspension, as well as the rear drag (wing) dynamics; just but a few eye-catching engineering marvels. This is certain, Veneno was made to honor Enzo Ferrari and the legacy the Italian exotic company continues to sustain.
Lexus FLAOriginally presented as the next Ferrari Enzo, Lexus’ 553 hp, V10 FLA was more than a slight disappointment (as we’d expect any exotic engine co-developed by Yamaha may likely be). Though Lexus’ PR team may have dreamt more than a bit to great, the outcome was far greater to make enough noise to rival that of the Corvette Z06 and its contemporaries. A 3.6 second “from a dig to 60” is nothing to jeer. Pair that with a 9,000 red-line and the unfortunate but very real curb weight of roughly 3,500 lbs., she makes our list with mild confidence.
Anyone making the claim they saw the 2016 Chiron coming is flat-out lying, period. As the automotive world set what they believed to be lofty expectations; Bugatti shattered them. Not only did the engineers behind the Chiron believe in a W16 street-legal phenomenon was possible, they made it happen (to the tune of 1,479 hp nonetheless). Initially a bitter-sweet intro, Bugatti governed the Chiron at just 261 mph while posting an impressive 2.6 mark from 0-60 mph. Today (thankfully) the lion has been let out f the cage, posting 300+ mph with just over a 100 hp increase overall; Bugatti finally came to play.
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series
If you thought for a chance Mercedes-Benz and AMG might not make the top 50 list, think again. Depending upon your vantage point, you may just miss the fact that this Mercedes does-in-fact have gull-wing-doors! Regardless of its aggressive stance or even AMG’s claim it was “the world’s most powerful naturally aspirated production series engine” ever produced, its true claim to fame was its ability to produce that type of performance in an electric powered series also (SLS AMG Electric Drive). Though you may occasionally spot Mercedes’ luxury exotic roadster in downtown Boca Raton, sadly, AMG veered away from the SLS only five years after production.
Porsche Carrera GT
Whether you’re just a die-hard Need For Speed – Most Wanted gamer (fan) or just the fortunate recipient of a Y2K kinda mid-life-crisis, you made the right choice! Even at the asking price almost half a million dollars, this modest street-fighter more than justified the MSRP (manufacturer suggested retail price). Clocking in at over 200 mph and a mid-three second dig to 60 time, the Carrera GT (and GTS) met the demand for a sleek improvement to the 911-style brand. Adding surprising stopping power with enormous ceramic brakes to slow the 600+ hp engine, and a clean and sleek carbon-Kevlar interior was just icing on every mechanic/enthusiast/driver’s cake.