It’s a three-way top speed battle, but who will come out on top?

Let’s say you want a car that’s fast – like, world-beating fast. The kind of fast that’ll get you thrown in jail quicker than most cars can reach the 60-mph mark. The kind of fast usually reserved for aircraft. We’re talking the bleeding edge of speed here, the cream of the crop in terms of moving across the face of the Earth on four wheels. Incredibly, there’s actually several options to choose from, assuming you’ve got the bank account to back it. Up here, at the peak of the mountain, you’ll find the Henessey Venom F5, the Bugatti Chiron, and the Koenigsegg Agera RS going head-to-head-to-head, each a top trump in modern street-legal performance. But which is the best?

The Hennessey Venom F5 is the newcomer of the group, with a recent debut at the 2017 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Offered as a follow-up to the Lotus-based Venom GT, the F5 builds on the successes of its forerunner with all new everything, including a fresh chassis, revised aero, and a tuned-up engine, each of which was built from the ground up to conquer all challengers. Chief amongst those challengers is the Bugatti Chiron, the standard-bearer when it comes to ultimate high-dollar speed, rocking 8 liters of quad-boosted internal combustion and a reputation for superlative performance. Finally, we have the Koenigsegg Agera RS, which just set a new world record by going 277.9 mph on a closed road in the Nevada desert.

But while top speed is obviously a major factor here, what about the rest of the car? What about the way it looks, the interior, and the chassis? In this quick comparison, we’ll take a brief, but well-rounded look at each of these amazing vehicles and go beyond V-max to find out how they stack up.

Continue reading for a quick comparison between the Hennessey Venom F5, the Bugatti Chiron, and the Koenigsegg Agera RS.

Exterior

Hennessey Venom F5

2019 Hennessey Venom F5
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Clean-slate design approach

At first blush, we were delighted to see the Venom F5’s new exterior design. It’s a seriously good-looking piece of kit, breaking from the old Lotus-look of the preceding Venom GT to create something totally new. The aesthetic is simple, but effective, with a traditional super car stance that hugs the ground with wide hips and a broad nose. The fenders rise high over the tall wheels, while the various aero elements are finished in black under the brightly colored body panels. The headlights are long and thin, stretching towards the rear in drawn-out strips that lead the eye towards a slim waistline. In back is a large rear wing, below which is a trio of exhaust pipes.

With body panels made from carbon fiber, the Venom F5 cuts substantial weight, a vital element to its performance. However, Hennessey also sought to find a balance between reducing the coefficient of drag for high-speed record-breaking, while also maintaining enough downforce to keep the machine planted while traveling at hypersonic velocity. Helping it to achieve that juggling act are active wing elements and a flat underbody, which help to bring the Cd down to 0.33, making the F5 much more slippery than the preceding Venom GT.

Bugatti Chiron

2018 Bugatti Chiron High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Placed next to the competition, the Bugatti Chiron has a rather, eh, unique look to it. The whole thing is much more bubbly and rounded than the other two, with a bulbous nose and tear drop-like proportions in the profile. A set of horizontal LED headlights frame the front fascia, complemented by a duo of horizontal intakes closer to the pavement. In all, the Chiron continues the look originally set forth by the Bugatti Veyron and developed by the Gran Turismo Concept, and sports classic Bugatti features like a C-shaped Bugatti line in the flanks and an upside-down U-shaped intake in front.

However, don’t think for a second the shape of the Chiron is anything other than highly functional. When dealing with speeds and power at this level, every tiny detail can have a huge impact on overall performance. For example, those C-lines in the sides help to funnel air into the side intakes, force-feeding the radiators with a blast of cool air to keep the engine running in top form. The rear wing is active as well, tucking in down the straights and going vertical in the braking zones. And while some may deride its unconventional style, there’s no doubt that the Chiron is instantly recognizable because of it.

Koenigsegg Agera RS

2015 Koenigsegg Agera RS High Resolution Exterior
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If we had to characterize the Agera RS when viewing it alongside the other two entries in this comparison, we’d actually call it a bit “understated.” Granted, that statement is highly, highly relative, as on its own the Agera RS is an extremely exciting car to look at. It’s just that compared to the Hennessey Venom F5 and Bugatti Chiron, it’s not quite as exciting. The angles and details are simpler, straighter, and uncluttered, without the ultra-pointy sharpness of the Venom, or the rounded muscle bulges of the Chiron. Instead, what you get is more of a traditional “speed wedge” design, with a broad, flat nose, central greenhouse, and flat rear end.

The whole thing is made from carbon kevlar, and improves on the aero set-up of the preceding Agera R and One:1 thanks to revisions like a new front fascia, an extended front splitter, and a seriously curvaceous rear wing. You’ll also find active wing elements front and back, with electronic adjustability for a more tunable package. The net result is a ton of extra stick at speed, with that rear wing making as much as a half-ton of downforce at 155 mph.

Interior

Hennessey Venom F5

2011 Hennessey Venom GT Interior
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Note: Hennessey Venom GT pictured here.

As of this writing, Hennessey has elected not to provide in-depth details on what the Venom F5 is offering in terms of interior appointment. That said, we can still speculate based on what we’ve seen from Hennessey in the past.

For example, take the preceding Exige-based Venom GT, which spruced up the barebones Lotus platform with nicer upholstery, carpets, aluminum surrounds, and high-end carbon fiber trim pieces. We’d expect something even nicer from the F5, with leather and Alcantara coverings, digital instrumentation, and maybe even some basic infotainment gear as well. Racing harnesses will keep passengers in one spot, while a central touch screen will provide the interface for the various onboard systems. Long story short, the Venom F5 won’t go over the top with luxury, but it won’t be totally stripped down, either.

Bugatti Chiron

2018 Bugatti Chiron Interior High Resolution
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One look at the Chiron’s cabin is all you need to confirm that yes, Bugatti does indeed know what it’s doing when it comes to making an interior. The whole thing looks cohesive and well put together, with flowing lines that resonate with confidence and elegance. The layout includes a central divider that mimics the C-shaped Bugatti line seen outside, while the central console swoops down from the dash in a single piece of carbon, studded with polished aluminum switches. Behind the gorgeous three-spoke steering wheel is a central analog speedometer flanked by a pair of digital readouts, while a high-end stereo system provides an alternative soundtrack to the burbling exhaust note.

All told, the Bugatti Chiron’s interior is an absolute masterpiece, and it’s definitely in the running for best-looking interior for a production car in the world.

Koenigsegg Agera RS

2015 Koenigsegg Agera RS High Resolution Interior
- image 619946

Like its exterior styling, the Koenigsegg Agera RS gets a rather simple layout for the cabin. Bare carbon is once again the material of choice, with prominent sheets of the stuff laid across the door panels, central console, and dash. Rounded air vents are placed at the appropriate locations, while a digital display in the dash relays pertinent performance info. Below the screen is a series of buttons and knobs arranged in a circular layout, complementing the car’s naturally clean aesthetic. Carbon-backed bucket seats provide a place to sit.

It’s a straightforward approach to interior design, and should be well appreciated by minimalists. In fact, compared to the Bugatti, we’d almost call it antiseptic.

Drivetrain

Hennessey Venom F5

2011 Hennessey Venom GT Drivetrain
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Note: Hennessey Venom GT pictured here.

While we have yet to get a clear shot of what it looks like, we do know all about the important numbers tagged to the Venom F5’s party piece. Making the noise is a newly developed 7.4-liter V-8, which gets stuffed by a double-dose of turbocharging to produce a whopping 1,600 horsepower and 1,300 pound-feet of torque, all of which routs to the rear by way of a seven-speed single-clutch paddle-shift gearbox.

All told, it’s a surprisingly old school approach to the question of going fast, especially lined up against the modern mega-hybrids of the world. That lack of extra gear once again helps the Venom save weight, and the net result is blisteringly quick acceleration numbers. While real world confirmation is still forthcoming, Hennessey claims a run from 0 to 186 mph (300 km/h) in less than 10 seconds, quicker than a modern Formula 1 car. The run to 249 mph (400 km/h) and back to a standstill should take less than 30 seconds. Finally, the big number – Hennessey says the Venom F5 will do 300 mph at the top end, which should beat the other two entries on this list. That is, of course, assuming Hennessey actually follows through on that claim.

Bugatti Chiron

2018 Bugatti Chiron AutoShow High Resolution Drivetrain
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While the Chiron certainly stands out thanks to its unique exterior styling and magnificent interior, the Bug’s biggest headline is what its got going on just behind the driver’s seat. Mounted longitudinally at the mid-ship position is an 8.0-liter W-16 engine, which gets boosted by no less than four turbochargers to produce a meaty 1,479 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque, 296 horsepower and 74 pound-feet of torque more than the preceding Veyron SuperSport. All of it hits the ground through a high-performance Haldex AWD system, which is fed by a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Put your foot down, and you’ll hit 60 mph in 2.4 seconds, while 120 mph arrives in 6.5 seconds. The sprint to 190 mph takes 13.6 seconds, while 250 mph takes 32.6 seconds. Top speed is limited at 261 mph, as the heavyweight Chiron creates enormous strain on the tires at higher speeds. However, if equipped with rubber robust enough to handle the forces at play, the Chiron could theoretically reach 288 mph.

Koenigsegg Agera RS

2015 Koenigsegg Agera RS Exterior
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Unlike the Bugatti’s exotic, quad-turbo, infinity cylinder powerplant, the engine in the Agera RS is much closer in layout and set-up to the Hennessey Venom F5. The spec includes a 5.0-liter V-8 plumbed with just two turbos. Output is rated at 1,160 horsepower at 7,800 rpm and 940 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. Impressive stuff, no doubt, but if desired, buyers can throw on the 1 Megawatt package to boost their RS up to 1,341 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 1,000 pound-feet of torque at 6,000 rpm when drinking an E85 ethanol fuel blend.

On its own, that’s an absurd amount of muscle on tap, but in company like this, the Koenigsegg RS might look a little, well, underpowered. Luckily, all those ponies translate into world-beating speed all the same with the 0-to-60 mph sprint done in less than 3 seconds and the run to 124 mph done in less than 7 seconds. What’s more, the RS currently claims the title for fastest production car in the world, recently topping out at an astonishing average of 277.9 mph. And while both of the rivals listed here could theoretically beat that figure, it don’t mean a thing until it actually happens.

Chassis And Handling

Hennessey Venom F5

2019 Hennessey Venom F5
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One of the Venom F5’s most important characteristics is its low curb weight, a feature that Hennessey sought to maximize (or minimize, as the case may be) throughout the vehicle’s development. Thanks to the carbon fiber chassis underneath, the carbon fiber body panels outside, and all the other composite details in between, the Venom F5 tips the scales at just under 3,000 pounds, or 2,950 pounds to be exact.

That makes a big difference for a variety of reasons. Not only does it allow the F5 to run standard Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires, but it should also make the car somewhat lively in the corners, assisted by standard carbon ceramics for stopping
power. We’ll have to wait for confirmation of that (no one has actually driven one yet outside the Hennessey development crew), but either way, we’re hoping this thing won’t be a one-trick pony.

Bugatti Chiron

2018 Bugatti Chiron High Resolution Exterior
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Under the skin, the Chiron is similar to its Veyron predecessor, but updated to meet the rigors of modern hypercardom. Improvements include a new carbon fiber monocoque chassis, with a carbon rear subframe for even greater torsional rigidity. The suspension was also redesigned, while the electric power steering gets a few new tweaks as well. Carbon silicon carbide brakes make for lighter discs, with eight-pots in front and six-pots in the back.

Despite the extensive use of exotic materials like carbon fiber and titanium, the Chiron is still extremely heavy, weighing in a concrete-crushing 4,400 pounds. As such, pricey Michelin tires are required to keep it planted, with a staggered diameter at 20 inches in front and 21 inches rear, sized at 285/30 and 355/25 respectively.

Koenigsegg Agera RS

2015 Koenigsegg Agera RS Exterior
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Unsurprisingly, the Koenigsegg Agera RS also utilizes a monocoque construction, with carbon fiber laid over an aluminum honeycomb core. The suspension is composed of double-wishbones in front and carbon fiber upper wishbones in back, plus two-way electronically adjustable gas shocks, and pushrod-operated Triplex dampers in the rear. The ride height is electronically adjustable, while a rack and pinion system helps it steer. Koenigsegg’s very own hallow carbon fiber wheels take their place in the corners. These rollers are super lightweight, yet appropriately large, with 19 inches of diameter and 9.5 inches of width in front, plus 20 inches of diameter and 12.5 inches of width in the rear. Michelin’s Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 are once again used for performance, while ceramic brakes are fore and aft, with branded 6-pot calipers in front and branded 4-pots in back.

All told, the Agera RS is relatively sprightly, tipping the scales at 3,075 pounds. Throw in multiple settings for the electronic handling aides, and this Koenigsegg is a beast on the track, whether you’re storming down a straight or attacking a corner.

Prices

Hennessey Venom F5

2019 Hennessey Venom F5
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Pricing for the Venom F5 starts at $1.6 million, and should include a wide array of customization options. Just 24 will be made, with the owner’s list hand-selected by Mr. Hennessey himself.

Bugatti Chiron

2018 Bugatti Chiron High Resolution Exterior
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If you fancy the Chiron, you can pick one up for about $2.8 million. Production is a slow process, but not limited like the Hennessey, and customization options are even more plentiful.

Koenigsegg Agera RS

2015 Koenigsegg Agera RS Exterior
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Finding an exact price for the Agera RS is a bit trickier, but considering the standard Agera costs $2.1 million, expect the RS to be, well, more. Just 25 are slated for production.

Conclusion

Quick Comparison – Hennessey Venom F5 Vs. Bugatti Chiron Vs. Koenigsegg Agera RS
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So then, after looking at each of these three amazing cars, where do we stand?

Let’s take it section by section. First up, the exterior. Each of these cars is, without a doubt, a very striking thing to behold. Each is also absurdly aerodynamic, folding the air around it with the dexterity of a jet fighter. However, the key is finding a balance between beauty and aero trickery, and in that respect, the Hennessey Venom gets the nod. We think it simply looks better than the other two, while still managing to stick at speed, and that gives it the win in our book.

Next up, the interior. The Chiron takes the win here, hands down. I mean, seriously, just look at the picture below and bask in the absurd awesomeness that is the Chiron’s cabin. The other two are fine, but next to the Bugatti, they look like cut-rate commuter sedans from the ‘90s.

2018 Bugatti Chiron High Resolution Interior
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If you need a high-end cabin to go with your absurd speed, then the Chiron has you covered.

But what about the engine and drivetrain? While all three offer insane levels of output, we’re once again partial to the Chiron. We love the unusual cylinder arrangement, high-tech turbo system, and beefy AWD, and although the Hennessey has it beat in terms of raw power and the Koenigsegg wins out in terms of weight, the Bug’s otherworldly 8.0-liter W-16 is what really gets our juices flowing.

Speaking of weight, let’s not forget how important the chassis and handling are to keeping these things well-rounded in the long run. While power is great, the ability to apply it properly can make all the difference, and in that respect, the Koenigsegg Agera RS takes the win. This thing was made for the track, and its evident that the Swedes paid close attention to making it much more than just a straight-line superstar.

2015 Koenigsegg Agera RS Exterior
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Finally, there’s the price. At just $1.6 million, the Venom F5 looks like an absolute bargain against the Bugatti and Koenigsegg, especially if it really can do all the things Hennessey claims it can do.

At the end of the day, we’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t acknowledge the fact that the top speed is still the spec that matters most in this space.

Of course, at the end of the day, we’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t acknowledge the fact that the top speed is still the spec that matters most in this space. Bragging rights are paramount, and as such, the Koenigsegg Agera RS is the current king. That said, it’s unlikely to stay at the top for the long, as the battle continues for dominance in high-dollar velocity.

Will Hennessey prove its 300-mph claims? Will Bugatti recover the title it originally held with the Veyron? Will Koenigsegg go back to Nevada with something even faster?

Rest assured – we’ll be watching.

References

Hennessey Venom GT

2019 Hennessey Venom F5
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2019 Hennessey Venom F5

Read our full review on the 2019 Hennessey Venom F5.

Bugatti Chiron

2018 Bugatti Chiron High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Bugatti Chiron.

Koenigsegg Agera

2015 Koenigsegg Agera RS Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 736447

Read our full review on the 2017 Koenigsegg Agera RS.

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