Counting down the top 10 most powerful American cars of all time
Just like the stock market, the never ending American horsepower war has had its ups and downs over the years, but records keep getting broken and the outlook remains bullish.
2017 Tesla Model S/X P100D
When Tesla first unleashed the "D" it said it had 691 hp. Then it added a Ludicrous model with a claimed 762 hp. The problem was that it was just adding the horsepower ratings of the electric motors used at each axle, and it doesn't work exactly like that. The solution? Now it doesn't say how powerful the cars are, just how quick. If nothing else, with a 0 to 60 mph time of less than 2.5 seconds for the Model S, it's probably safe to say these are the most powerful American electric cars ever.
At least for now.
2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
The 21st Century ZR1 was the first American car with more than 600 hp, but obviously not the last. It's 205 mph top speed holds up pretty well today, but don't think you've seen the last of it. Chevy's been spotted working on what looks like a new ZR1, and you can bet it won't be less powerful than this one.
Cadillac CTS-V: 640 hp
Need to get somewhere fast but want to keep it classy? The CTS-V borrows the engine from the ZL1, but pays it a 10 hp vig for the privilege. Its 200 mph top speed is two mph faster than the Camaro's, however, so what do you think about that, tough guy?
2017 Dodge Viper: 645 hp
The Viper's 8.4-liter V10 is the largest engine in any car today, but it's not long for this world. After a quarter-century and many track records around the world, this dinosaur of a supercar is going extinct this year.
2017 Ford GT: 647 hp
What a world we live in where a Mustang is more powerful than a $450,000 supercar, but the carbon fiber GT has a 216 mph top speed to go with it, so it's got nothing to be ashamed of.
2018 Chevrolet Corvette Z06/Camaro ZL1: 650 hp
Two high performance cars from the same company with 6.2-liter supercharged V8s? Hmmm, sounds familar. But while the power outputs of these two are identical, their engines are a little different. The Corvette's gets a dry sump oiling system that's better for the track, while the ZL1 uses a tried and true wet sump design. The 'Vette also beats the Camaro on manual transmission gear count 7 to 6. But the ZL1 automatic comes back strong with an all-new 10-speed automatic, while the one in the Z06 makes do with just eight.
2014 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: 662 hp
When it was new, the last Shelby GT500 was the most-powerful American car ever, but it looks like a 98-pound weakling today, which is why a new one is expected soon. Still, there's no denying the potency of its 5.8-liter supercharged V8, and who's going to complain about a Mustang that can go 202 mph?
2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk: 707 hp
The Trackhawk is the most-powerful SUV in the world, but while it has the same engine and horsepower as the Hellcats, it loses the tiebreaker with a measly 645 lb-ft of torque compared to their 650 lb-ft rating. It's ace in the hole is an all-wheel-drive system that won't send any of it it up in tire smoke. If you like burnouts, that may not be a good thing.
Dodge Challenger/Charger SRT Hellcat: 707 hp
Dodge's Hellcat bros seem tame compared to the Demon, but are still serious forces to be reckoned with. If you can't decide between the two, here's something to keep in mind: while the Challenger can hit 199 mph, the Charger's slightly more aerodynamic body is good for 204 mph.
2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon: 808 hp
The resurrected Demon is so extreme that one leading automotive publication has called for it to be banned, (and was promptly shouted down by the muscle car's fans.) The beast comes with drag radials, a transmission brake, just one seat and can pop a wheelie. Its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 makes 808 hp on pump gas, and if somehow you don't think that's enough Dodge can make it compatible with 100 octane race gas that bumps it up to 840 hp.