For generations, automakers the world-over have been trying to strike the perfect balance between luxury and speed. Some have turned their focus toward more comfortable and feature-heavy models, while others have set their sights on rigorous performance goals. Still others have been able to walk the ambiguous line between sports and luxury cars to create some of the most impressive machines to ever touch wheels to asphalt.
As motor vehicle technology has progressed into the 21st century, speed barriers have been falling like never before. Vehicles now are able to attain speeds never before thought possible, and from street-legal models nonetheless. While there are countless concept and modified models that can push the boundaries even further, the core of the luxury car market is still stuffed with blindingly-fast vehicles.
Here are the world’s twenty fastest luxury cars, with exceptions made for modified models, or cars that have extremely-low production numbers (like the Lamborghini Veneno, or virtually any car from Swedish outfit Koenigsegg) in addition to concepts. All of these cars walk the line between sport and luxury, but are able to pull off the best of both worlds with a graceful essence.
20. Rolls-Royce Wraith – 186 mph
It boasts an enormous 6.6 liter, turbocharged V12 that churns out 624 horsepower, but it’s important to remember that for Rolls-Royce, all-out power comes second to the sumptuous interior and impeccable comfort that the Wraith provides. The Wraith is essentially a coupe-version of the beloved Ghost, and costs a princely $250,000 (at least, have you seen Rolls-Royce’s option pricing?), but it’s also the “entry-level” Rolls that is meant to push the envelop of performance more so than any car the brand has produced thus far.
19. BMW M5 – 189 Mph
Ranking right up with its bigger brother the M6, the BMW M5 is able to post similar performance levels. Now in its twenty-ninth year of production, the M5 has been perfected into the ultimate speed and luxury machine across multiple generations. Hitting 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds behind a 4.4-liter V8 engine, the M5 is supplied a hearty amount of horsepower, up to 560 to be exact. Also renowned for the incredibly comfortable interior, the M5 is a true example of what it means to be a luxury sports car.
18. BMW M6 – 189 mph
The Rolls-Royce boasts a tremendous amount of power, but it’s also carrying a curb weight of over 5,000 pounds along with it. The BMW M6, which features a twin-turbo 4.4 liter, 560 horsepower V8 is down on power against the Wraith, but also down on price — it costs less than half of the Wraith’s MSRP and even offers a faster top speed (albeit one you’ll likely never see). More importantly, though, the M6 weighs about 1,000 pounds less than the Rolls-Royce, which allows the luxury GT to sprint to 60 from a standstill in 4.1 seconds.
17. Audi RS7 – 190 mph
If you’re looking for a high-end, high-performance road-going race car that also boasts a fair degree of capability and utility, the Audi (VLKAY.PK) RS 7 is worth taking a look at. Like the BMW, it has 560 horsepower, but is applied liberally to all four wheels, courtesy of a 4.0 liter turbocharged V8. However, its top speed peaks at 190, and 60 comes up in a blistering 3.7 seconds. But perhaps the best part is that this can be done with the kids in the ample and comfy backseat, though we don’t exactly condone that.
16. Porsche Panamera Turbo S – 192 mph
If there’s any car that will give the RS 7 a run for its money, it’s this — the Porsche Panamera Turbo S, for all intents and purposes a Porsche 911 that happens to also be a four-door hatchback. The Panamera has been roundly criticized for its looks, but critics can’t touch what lies beneath — 570 horsepower, a top speed within a breath of 200, zero-60 in 3.6 seconds, and enough room in the pack for a long road trip with the family. It’s truly “a Porsche – for every day.“
15. Bentley Flying Spur – 195 Mph
One of Bentley’s more impressive models, the Flying Spur is capable of speeds of up to 195 miles per hour, although some have reported that it’s capable of exceeding 200 miles per hour. The car received a redesign for the 2014 model year, which also led to Bentley dropping the “Continental” from the name. Newer versions go simply by the “Flying Spur”, and features a 6.0-liter W12 engine, supplying an ample 616 horsepower. The new redesign brought on updated aesthetics, mechanical upgrades, and a slew of improved tech accessories. The Flying Spur isn’t nearly as aerodynamic or light as some of its rivals, but Bentley really put some effort into making it a luxurious option.
14. Porsche 911 Turbo S – 197 mph
Of course, if you really don’t need the back seats, why even bother? Try the Porsche 911 Turbo S — it’s down by 10 horsepowers to 560 versus the Panamera’s 570, but hits zero-60 in 2.9 seconds, reaches a top speed of 197, and only costs $2,000 more than the family version, so it it only costs… well, it costs $182,000. But for one of Porsche’s top-of-the line models, what were you expecting?
13. Aston Martin Vanquish – 199 mph
The Aston Martin Vanquish is that car you buy simply because its beauty is knee-weakening. In addition to being one of the most gorgeous cars on the road, it also has the performance to back it up 565 horsepower from a smooth and creamy naturally aspirated V12 that can propel the Vanquish to a 199 mile per hour top speed, and hit 60 in a shade over four seconds; well behind the 911, but it’s important to remember that while the 911 is bred for the track, the Aston is built solely for long-distance comfort as a defining Grand Touring car.
12. Ferrari 458 Italia – 201 mph
The Ferrari 458 Italia, though a mainstay in many wealthier neighborhoods across the country, is built for life on the track. This is a car that can scream down the road at mind-altering speeds, going from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds. Powered by a 4.5-liter V8, the 458 Italia achieves 570 horsepower, making it as fast as it is flashy and a handy addition to any collection. This Ferrari model in particular has been a favorite of car enthusiasts around America, although it’s hard to get the full experience from driving around the city. Hitting the open road or track is truly the only way to get the most from the 458 Italia.
11. Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggara – 202 mph
Nothing truly resonates with the term “luxury” quite like the name Lamborghini. With the Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggara, Lamborghini has really been able to take luxury and successfully blend it with sport to create a car that offers the best of both worlds. This is a car that will turn heads everywhere you go, from the racetrack to the fanciest clubs or restaurants. Its performance is top-notch as well, hitting 60 miles per hour from a standstill in 3.4 seconds and hitting a top speed of 202 miles per hour. For lovers of luxury and power, the 570 horses also make this an attractive option. Car buffs had better get to the dealership fast, as the Gallardo is set to be replaced on the Lamborghini lineup after this year.
10. Mercedes SLS AMG – 204 mph
Mercedes has essentially become synonymous with “luxury” at this point, and perhaps the pinnacle of the company’s offerings come in the form of the SLS AMG. There is a steep barrier to entry, however: its price tag of more than $200,000. But for those who can pony up the coin, they’re in for one of the finest driving experiences out there. Outperforming some Lamborghini and Ferrari models, the SLS AMG kicks out 583 ponies, hit 60 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds, and tops out at 204 miles per hour. As far as Mercedes models go, it’s hard to top the SLS AMG for a combination of speed and luxury.
9. McLaren MP4-12C – 205 mph
Most car buffs are familiar with the McLaren name plate, and with good reason. The company has built some of the fastest sport and luxury vehicles to ever exist. One of those vehicles, the MP4-12C, is a great example of McLaren’s engineering prowess. They managed to get 616 horsepower out of the powerful 3.8-liter V8 engine, complimented by a lightweight and agile chassis. A top speed of 205 miles per hour puts the MP4-12C among some of the fastest vehicles on the planet, although its practical application for city or suburban life might not be totally apparent.
8. Bentley Continental GT Speed – 205 mph
Few things bring luxury to mind quite like the name Bentley. With one of the company’s newest offerings, the Continental GT Speed, Bentley seem to have completely outdone themselves. While it lacks some of the quickness of models from Mercedes and Ferrari, the Continental GT Speed can still attain speeds of 60 miles per hour from zero in 4 seconds. One of the biggest selling points for Bentley’s monster? How about a 6.0-liter W12 engine? The behemoth motor can achieve 625 horsepower, making it an incredibly formidable adversary to most others in its admittedly small class.
7. Ferrari FF – 208 mph
Another strong offering from Ferrari, the FF is not a viable choice for the thrifty, as it comes with a price tag of roughly $300,000. However, for that price you do get what seems to amount to the equivalent of an F-22 on wheels. The FF can hit speeds of 208 miles per hour, thanks to its 651 horsepower courtesy of a 6.3-liter V12 engine. Ferrari also likes to brag that the FF is the fastest four-seat vehicle in the world, and also the first Ferrari to feature all-wheel drive, giving you the option to bring several friends along for a ride. The FF might be the perfect fit for the (incredibly) fast (and affluent) family on the go.
6. Ferrari F12 Berlinetta – 211 mph
Once again, Ferrari has managed to find its way into the top ten of the fastest luxury vehicles. This time, its Ferrari’s fastest luxury vehicle to date, the F12 Berlinetta. The F12 Berlinetta comes with a price of $318,000, outdoing Ferrari’s other models like the FF and 458 Italia. However, you get a whole lot of power and speed in return for your investment. The F12 Berlinetta can hit a top speed of 211 miles per hour, along with an incredible 731 horsepower sourced from a 6.3-liter V12 engine. One drawback is that the F12 Berlinetta is similar in appearance to the FF, perhaps not giving it a ton of separation in aesthetics.
5. Porsche 918 Spyder – 214 mph
Porsche has been no stranger the list of top twenty fastest luxury cars, and their highest-striving model is the 918 Spyder. The 918 Spyder was born from the idea of marrying everyday utility with outstanding performance. The car is built around a hybrid concept, and is leading the way for a new breed of luxury supercars. Despite its hybrid-build, performance is still in the upper-echelon, as the 918 Spyder can hit 60 miles per hour in 7 seconds in all-electric mode. Even more impressive, at full capacity the Spyder can hit 0-60 in 2.8 seconds, as it is powered by a 4.8-liter V8 kicking up 608 horsepower paired along with two additional electric motors that supply 279 horsepower. Combined, the 918 Spyder gets a combined 887 horses, completely shattering the image of what a hybrid is capable of.
4. Aston Martin one-77 – 220 mph
Making its debut at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, the Aston Martin one-77 is a vehicle for those really striving for the ‘James Bond’ feeling. A strikingly-gorgeous model, the one-77 is able to blister roads with a top speed of 220 miles per hour, propelled by a 7.3-liter V12 engine. This Aston Martin can also outperform many other sport luxury cars in quickness, attaining speeds of 60 miles per hour from a standstill in under 3.7 seconds. The major hangup for the one-77 is its rarity; there were only 77 of these cars actually produced, which led to its name. The low production number admittedly bends our criteria, but it’s too good a car not to include. Because of how rare it is, prices on the open market can easily jump into seven figures.
3. Pagani Huayra – 231 mph
Things really get brought up to another level with the Pagani Huayra, a vehicle that is able to hit top speeds in excess of 230 miles per hour. Truly a feat of engineering, the Huayra is powered by a Mercedes-AMG bi-turbo M158 V12 engine, which essentially seems to perform right up there with a jet engine. The car’s 0-60 time is an insane 3.2 seconds, and hits horsepower levels of roughly 730. On the inside, the Huayra is just as impressive; luxurious decor and seemingly steampunk inspired aesthetics (like the exposed shift linkages) offer drivers an experience like they’ve never had before, and in fact, becomes one of the car’s most impressive features. The major drawback to the Huayra? A very high price tag. Pagani prices its Huayra with some of the most expensive vehicles available, with a sticker price of $1.3 million.
2. McLaren F1 – 240 mph
A car that has etched its name in history, the McLaren F1 was, at one time, the fastest car in the world. It has since been overtaken, but is still among the world’s heavyweights in speed and luxury. Reaching speeds in the neighborhood of 240 miles per hour, the F1 is able to get there behind a 6.1-liter V12 engine. The use of an eclectic mix of materials for manufacturing was also able to lessen the vehicle’s weight considerably; it included components like gold foil for heat shielding, kevlar, and carbon fiber. Another incredibly rare vehicle, there were only 106 F1s produced between 1992 and 1998. In more recent years, McLaren has introduced the P1 to help satisfy the appetites of its cars’ fans in the wake of the F1′s discontinuation.
1. Bugatti Veyron – 268 mph
Outperforming all other luxury vehicles by a long shot is the Bugatti Veyron. The Veyron is capable of hitting a top speed of 268 miles per hour, which is really hard ot get your mind around. For example, if you were driving the Veyron at top speed for the same amount of time as a long shift at work, you could get from one end of the country to the other. Bugatti outfitted its incredible car with an 8.0-liter W16 quad-turbocharged engine that supplies 1,200 horsepower (in the Super Sport, that is). Other vehicles have been able to eclipse the Veyron in speed, such as the Venom GT (though not officially, it’s argued), but the Bugatti holds more closely to the proper definition of a luxury car.