Things are starting to get out of hand on the road.
Every decade, we see a big leap in technology within the performance car industry. Carbon-fiber changed the game in the 1990s and was crucial to McLaren developing its F1 model to become the fastest car in the world. Bugatti then picked up the outright speed torch in the 2000s by using aerodynamics and a 16 cylinder engine to push the Veyron up to 253 mph. Then in the 2010s came the jaw-droppingly fast Holy Trinity of hypercars arrived in the form of the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLarenP1, and Porsche 918.
Now we're entering 2020, and the door is wide open for companies to build astonishingly fast cars using any of the prominent technologies today. That includes all-electric drivetrains, hybrid drivetrains, or smaller displacement engines using forced induction methods. Add to that the new developments in suspension design, transmissions, and electronics systems, and we can see amazing things are coming. These are the extreme road cars that we're most excited to see on the road this year, some of which will define this decade.
Ferrari always has something spectacular to offer, and the Ferrari SF90 Stradale is the latest flagship. It arrives with the most powerful V8 engine the Italian carmaker has ever produced, and it's bolstered by a trio of electric motors. It's also Ferrari's first all-wheel-drive sports car, responsible for laying down its aggressive 986 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. It will run from a dead stop to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds, reach 125 mph in 6.7 seconds and hit a top speed of 211 mph. Straight-line speed doesn't make a hypercar, though, and it features a mode called Qualify, which unhinges everything to help lay down insane lap times.
While it's more practical than the Regera and Jesko, the Koenigsegg Gemera is not holding back on performance. It's a titan of power that uses three electric motors producing a combined 1,100 hp and a 2.0-liter, three-cylinder dry-sumped twin-turbo Freevalve engine that makes another 600 hp. Those are the rough numbers, and overall the Gemera makes stomach-churning 1,727 horsepower and 2,581 lb-ft of torque. Those insane numbers propel the hypercar to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds en route to a top speed of 248 mph. Only 300 are being made, and at $1.7 million each, its the least expensive Koenigsegg model yet.
Bugatti's follow up to the Veyron is the Chiron. Like the Veyron, it uses incredibly deft aerodynamics to achieve its record-breaking top speed. However, that optimization for top speed has hampered both cars when it comes to performing in corners on tracks and roads. The Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport seeks to balance the Chiron out into a back road and track day weapon as well as a straight-line monster. The new edition drops some weight, focuses the aerodynamics on downforce as well as cutting through the air, and gets a tune-up through the chassis and suspension. It keeps the 8.0-liter W16 engine generating 1,500 horsepower and 1,180 lb-ft of torque, but the transmission is recalibrated to have 15 percent closer gear ratios to improve acceleration out of corners.
When Koenigsegg makes a claim about a car, we tend to believe it. In this case, the 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine produces a chest crushing 1,106 lb-ft and 1,280 hp on regular gas. On E85 biofuel, Koenigsegg claims 1,600 hp. There will be a track-only version with extreme downforce, but each one will feature an all-new carbon fiber and aluminum chassis, a Koenigsegg made suspension setup, and an in-house built 9-speed multi-clutch gearbox.
On top of that, Koenigsegg has just announced the more Jesko Absolut with a "shocking low drag coefficient of 0.278Cd, combined with its high-speed stability optimized aero features."
Lamborghini is getting in on the hybrid powertrain game with the ultra-exclusive Sian. The gas engine is an upgraded version of the Aventador SVJ's naturally aspirated 6.5-liter 12-cylinder unit and is aided by a 48v electric motor. When combined, that gives the Lamborghini Sian a combined power figure of 819 hp. The big twist is that electric power is not stored in a conventional battery, but rather by a supercapacitor unit that's three times as powerful as a cell of the same weight. Regenerative braking sends power to the supercapacitor and becomes available as a power boost to the driver. Only 63 are being built, but this should be the first step towards Lamborghini building "regular" models using hybrid technology.
If you want all the power and technology of a Rimac all-electric hypercar but with the purest of Italian style, it's time to start saving for a Pininfarina Battista. Rimac is providing the four electric motors to deliver a brutish 1,900 hp and 1,696 lb-ft of torque while the legendary Italian design house Pininfarina is providing the elegance and style it's renowned for. We can't stop staring at the gorgeous teardrop style cockpit, the long sloping roof, and those elegant floating taillights.
The McLaren Speedtail is a limited-edition car that picks up where the McLaren F1 left off. It's the most aerodynamic and fastest McLaren to date and uses a modified 720S engine to create a hybrid powertrain generating 1,036 hp. In testing, it made it to 250 mph and can accelerate from 0-186 mph in 12.8 seconds. The 106 units produced cost $2.2 million apiece. The extreme attention to detail in the aerodynamics include a "Velocity mode" that retracts the HD cameras replacing the side mirrors, and the front wheels have carbon fiber static covers to reduce drag even further.
The planning started for a successor to the SSC Ultimate Aero back in 2011, and the production version was first shown in 2018. Production is now due in 2020, and the Tuatara boasts a twin-turbocharged 5.9-liter V8 with 1,350 hp and a redline of 8,800 rpm. On E85 fuel, however, SSC is aiming to get over 300 mph using 1,750 hp. Only 100 cars are being built in West Richland, Washington, and SSC has partnered with Nelson Racing Engines to construct the powerplants while Automac is building the 7-speed semi-automatic transmission.