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All About Cars

All About Cars

Top Cars Around the World: International Royalty in style, Power and Performance

Dec 8, 2020, 09:42 AM by Mike Blake

Every year, it seems that there are a few supercars that stand out from the crowd in styling, horsepower, performance and handling. What makes a car royalty is subjective, and grounds for argument, discussion and debate, but there is little dissent that 2021 will be an exciting year full of exhilarating cars. Now for me, America has some very exciting supercars on the market, and Corvettes, Mustangs, Chargers and Camaros, among other muscle cars, are always worth discussing and driving fast and full out. However, for this treatment of the subject, let’s look internationally. And if you have a favorite, or opinions that differ from my list, please send me your picks and we will re-visit the subject with your choices.

Now, what lands a car on the “Best” list? Is it the car with the most horsepower? If that is the case, then let’s just list McLaren racers in this and look no further than racecars. Exotic styling? Then look no further than the Lamborghini Huracán EVO Spyder and be done with it. But for this view, let’s combine horsepower, performance, handling, styling and the WOW factor – not scientific or quantitative, but worthy of putting the vehicle on the list anyway. And let’s get on track by getting off the track. No factory racecars allowed. And sales don’t put you on this list. Many of these cars are really in the supercar price range, and sales don’t make a vehicle a champion for this list.

Fasten your seatbelts. Here we go. Let’s start with styling. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I’d like to hear and see your choices. While America’s Ford GT certainly is worthy of a long look, I lean toward the exotic. Here are the top-two most artistically chiseled creations on four wheels.


1.Bugatti ChironBugatti Chiron --The Chiron is the fastest, most powerful, and exclusive production super sports car in Bugatti’s history – it also appears in our top hp group. Its sophisticated design, innovative technology, and iconic, performance-oriented form make it a unique masterpiece of art, form and technique, that pushes boundaries beyond imagination. Chiron owes its distinctive character to a family of artists and engineers, and every element of the Chiron is a combination of reminiscence to its history, innovative technology and sculpture. The entire rear end is practically one big mesh grille with taillights stuffed into its void. Each side of the car is dominated by a two-tone C-line that curves around the doors and visually splits the body into two distinct sections. The Chiron costs $3.4 million.

2. Novitec Lamborghini Huracan Evo-3Lamborghini Huracán EVO -- The Huracán EVO Spyder is equipped with a 631-hp V-10 engine, but it makes this list for its look. The Huracán EVO introduces refined aerodynamic solutions while remaining true to the design philosophy that is the hallmark of Lamborghini. The front bumper adopts unmistakable Lamborghini Y-shape stylistic elements, hood lines inspired by the Countach, skirt air intakes reminiscent of the Murciélago, and central high-mounted exhaust tailpipes that recall the highest-performance Lamborghini models of the past. Base price $247,400

Honorable Mention: Ferrari LaFerrari, Aston Martin DBS Superleggera,

Porsche 911 (992), Porsche Taycan, BMW 8-series Gran Coupe and Alfa Romeo Giulia.

OK, let’s move on to power … that certainly fits into the best of the best for car enthusiasts.


Not long ago, 300hp was a muscle number and 400 horses was a rocket. Then 500hp was a peak. The horses have multiplied and stampeded and while American muscle tops out at 807 hp with the 2021 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock, it only ranks as fifth best in the world of horsepower.

The top two – well, top three as there is a tie, is headed by:

3. Hennessey-Venom-F5Hennessey Venom F5 -- John Hennessey, created Venom F5 using elements from a Lotus. Venom tops the list with 1600+ bhp from its 8-liter V-8 engine and two turbos, while weighing only 2950 lbs. This car was designed to travel at high speeds of up to 301 mph. Base Price: $1.6 million. There are only 24 in production.

4. Koenigsegg_Regera_Koenigsegg Regera -- The Koenigsegg Regera uses three electric motors for 670bhp, in addition to its twin turbo 5.0-liter V-8, for 1500 bhp. The hybrid weighs in at 3589 lbs. Priced at $2 million, there are 80 cars in production.

Bugatti Chiron – Showing up again, this style champion comes in between 1479 bhp and 1500 horses with an eight-liter engine and four turbos. Each of these 4WD hypercars spends three days in inspection until the car is up to standards. Base price of $3.4 million.

Honorable mention: NIO EP9 -- 1341 bhp -- base price of $1.48 million, Rimac Concept One -- 1224 hp – base price of $1.3 million, Dodge Challenger SRT Demon -- 808 bhp, price: $86,090. Ford Mustang Shelby GT500SE, 800+ Horsepower – price: $107,080

Best Performance

Performance includes variables including acceleration from a stop and at speed, braking, handling and reliability/predictability, but for this list, let’s rate these with off-the-the acceleration and zero-to-60 mph times.

5. Porsche-911-Turbo-SPorsche 911 Turbo S Coupe – A 2.5-second rocket. Powered by a 640-hp 3.7-liter twin-turbo flat-six paired to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic throwing mountains of torque at all four wheels. Price: $204,850

6. Porsche-Taycan_Porsche Taycan Turbo S – Also a 2.5-second sprinter, there is 750hp from two permanent-magnet synchronous AC motors. Priced at: $185,000

Honorable mention: BMW M8 Competition – 2.5 seconds from a 617-hp twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8. Heavy, at 4251 lbs. Price: $150,000. Tesla Model S – 2.5 seconds from its 778-hp 98.0-kWh battery pack powered motors at each axle. Price $70,000.


Boy, this category is really subjective. Cornering, stability, true steering, ride-on-rails turns, confidence. I haven’t driven them all, but I took a consensus of automotive writers and experts who generally put the Lotus Elan at the top of the all-time list, and put the following international champions in the mix:

McLaren 600LT, Lotus Elise, Ferrari 4884 Pista, Ferrari LaFerrari, Bugatti Chiron, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Alfa Romeo 4C, BMW Z4, Jaguar F-Type, BMW M2,  Mercedes-AMG GT R, Acura Integra Type R, Porsche Cayman, Nissan GTR, Chevrolet Camaro, Corvette C-8, Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R, Toyota GR Supra.

But the two top handlers, according to most, come from the Porsche stable.

8. Porsche-911-Turbo-S-Review-15Porsche 911 Turbo S

While other Porsches are track cars, the 911 Turbo S is a street king. With a luxury cabin and high tech, the 911 Turbo S and its 560hp has precise steering, aircraft-worthy braking, agility, response and on-rails  movement with road stickiness. Pricing starts at $182,700.

7. Porsche 918 SpyderPorsche 918 Spyder

A hybrid sports car, that offers 800 horses, the 918 Spyder is Porsche’s first V8-powered mid-engine road car. It is balanced, corners with auto-cross precision, has road-grip and accelerates and responds with the best of them. Pricing starts at $845,000.

These are our choices … what are yours?

<I> To learn more about the Import & Performance Nationals and its annual international automotive offerings, visit the car show page direct via the Carlisle Events web page.  Register to show or purchase spectator tickets too.

Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years. </I>

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