World Record Car reviews

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2018 Volkswagen Jetta Bonneville Salt Flats Record Car

2018 Volkswagen Jetta Bonneville Salt Flats Record Car

This isn’t your dads Volkswagen Jetta, kids

Hot on the wheels of the Volkswagen I.D. R’s record-breaking run at the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, Volkswagen is setting its sights on a new record, this time at the famous Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah. As part of its goal of breaking the Southern California Timing Association’s BGC/G class record, the German automaker is preparing a heavily modified version of the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta. Among the upgrades that will be included is a heavily modified version of VW’s 2.0-liter, turbocharged, EA888 four-cylinder engine.

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2016 Volkswagen Beetle LSR

2016 Volkswagen Beetle LSR

With wings, this crazy beetle could have taken flight. Amazing!

How do you make a modern Volkswagen Beetle cool? Well, you start by infusing it with a bubble bursting 600 horsepower, slam it on the ground, throw in lots of racing equipment, and a set of wheels and tires suited for the Salt Flats. Then, after you do all of that, you take it to the Salt Flats and push it harder than any Beetle has ever gone before. How fast it that? Well; fast enough that it would fly if it had wings. Alright, in all seriousness, though. The Beetle you see here just hit 205.122 mph over a flying mile, which just so happens to be the fastest time ever recorded for a Beetle.

It all went down in Wendover, Utah during the 2016 World of Speed event that is hosted by the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association with Contributing Editor for Automobile Magazine, Preston Lerner, at the helm. The Beetle LSR obviously isn’t your average Beetle and was extensively modified, including engine work by none other than THR Manufacturing out of Santa Paula, California.

"Exceeding 200 miles per hour in the Beetle LSR was a serious thrill," said Lerner. "We had enough power to go even faster if the salt hadn’t been so sketchy. But seeing 208 miles per hour briefly on the digital readout was an experience I’ll never forget."

Volkswagen’s Senior Vice President of Product Marketing and Strategy, Dr. Hendrik Muth, was very happy with the LSR’s performance, saying, “We are completely thrilled with the Beetle LSR’s performance at Bonneville. The Beetle is not the most aerodynamic car in our portfolio, so running 205 mph is a testament to the power that can be made from the EA888 TSI four-cylinder engine. This feat truly underscores the sporty and pugnacious spirit of the Beetle.”

And, he’s right – it is quite an achievement for a big bubble on wheels, so we’ve decided to take a closer look at it. Keep reading to learn all about it.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Beetle LSR.

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2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S

2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S

The car that beat the Civic Type R around the Nürburgring

The GTI event at Lake Worthersee has officially kicked off, and with that kickoff, Volkswagen has debuted the new king of the Golf GTI lineup: The Golf GTI Clubsport S. The car is based on the Golf GTI Clubsport, but has gone through numerous upgrades and refinements to make it the fastest and lightest Golf GTI yet. In short, Volkswagen engineers were able to reduce the car’s overall weight to 2,998 pounds while upping permanent engine output to an impressive 306 horsepower – that’s a 30 horsepower increase over the standard Golf Clubsport. The Clubsport S will be produced in just 400 examples.

The whole idea of the Clubsport S came about during the testing of the final version of the Golf GTI Performance. Karsten Schebsdat, the Head of Chassis Tuning, said, “It was obvious to all of us that this GTI had immense potential, so we decided to get the most performance possible out of this car. A small team went through the entire process, from bottom to top, pretty much like it was back when the first Golf GTI came into being.” Needless to say, it wasn’t an easy task and VW engineers had to put in a lot of work, but that work paid off.

The payoff came when the Golf GTI Clubsport S smashed the lap record at the Nürburgring for front-wheel-drive production cars. With Benny Leuchter behind the wheel, the car hit the lap in 07:49:21 – that’s 1.4 seconds faster than the previous record that was set by a Honda Civic Type R. To make this possible, the Clubsport S received a special sport chassis, refined interior, and an extensively adapted engine control unit that all helped to raise the crowned Clubsport S above the standard Golf GTI Clubsport it was based on. So, with that said, let’s take an in-detail look at what makes the Clubsport S so much better than the regular Clubsport.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S.

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2014 Bloodhound SSC

2014 Bloodhound SSC

17 years ago, a team of British enthusiasts came to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada to set a new land speed record. The group was led by famed Scottish entrepreneur Richard Noble and had the jet-propelled, Thrust SSC car at its disposal. The attempt was not only successful, but it also became the first to officially break the sound barrier at 763.035 mph.

The benchmark remained untouchable to this day, but that could change in 2016, when Noble’s team will try to take the supersonic record into 1,000-mph territory with a brand-new vehicle. That car goes by the name of Bloodhound SSC and comes to prove that jet power, rocket power and a more conventional V-8 engine can work together under the same roof.

Much like the Thrust SSC, the Bloodhound SSC is being built using advanced, aerospace construction techniques, acres of carbon fiber and titanium, and a bevy of state-of-the-art technology.

Why are we reviewing a supersonic car you may ask? Well, the Bloodhound SSC might very well preview some of the technologies we will find in the road-going vehicles of the future. But most importantly, this land rocket is tuned to reach mind-boggling speeds by means of 130,000 horsepower!

Updated 09/25/2015: After years of working and development, the new Bloodhound SSC supercar was finally unveiled in its final shape. The car is expected to make a first appearance in Newquay, UK next year when it will make an initial 200-mph test run, and after that in August 2016 it will go to the South African desert where it will try to break the current land speed record of 763 mph. Then, in 2017 the SSC will finally attempt to hit the 1,000 mph mark.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Bloodhound SSC.

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2015 Hennessey Venom F5

2015 Hennessey Venom F5

You know that saying "when you’re at the top, there’s no other place to go but down?" Yeah, try telling that to Hennessey. The company that already has the fastest production car in the world (Guinness fails to certify it due to its crafty rules) in its stable is shooting for the stars with plans to develop evil in a vehicular form. The Texas-based company calls this evil on wheels the Venom F5.

Hennessey boss John Hennessey broke the news to Top Gear, gushing about the possibility of the Venom F5 hitting a top speed no other production car in the world has been able to attain. "I think something in the 290-mph range will be possible," Hennessey said.

The man apparently didn’t misspeak when he said "290 mph," which is all the indication you need to know that Mr. Hennessey has either lost his mind or he is determined to drive Bugatti insane with constant pressure from Texas. The Venom F5 name pretty much says it all. That "F5" nomenclature is a reference to the most powerful classification given to tornadoes, or in the case of the Venom, a destructive output of around 1,400 horsepower.

All these horses are reigned in by a single-clutch, paddle-shift transmission, not the Ricardo, six-speed manual found in the Venom GT. You can, however, opt for the manual, if you like.

Start quivering in your boots, Bugatti. It’s better to embrace the inevitable than continue fighting for your cause.

Updated 08/05/2014: Hennessey unveiled a handful of official details on the Venom F5. Check them out after the jump.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Hennessey Venom F5.

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2014 Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy

2014 Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy

About a month ago French automaker Renault revealed plans to break the eight-minute mark around the Nurburgring track with a front-wheel-drive vehicle prepped by its performance arm, Renault Sport.

Our first thought went toward a beefed-up version of the Megane as soon as we saw the first teaser shot released by Renault. Now that the vehicle has been finally unveiled, we got confirmation that the French have been working on a new iteration of the RS Trophy.

Developed specifically to regain its Nurburgring record from the Seat Leon SC Cupra 280, which lapped the iconic track in 7:58.4 minutes, the Megane RS 275 Trophy will be sold as a limited-edition hatchback with exclusive features and a slightly more powerful engine.

Renault has yet to announce whether the new Megane Trophy managed to restore its rule on the "Green Hell" and it appears we’ll have to wait for an official statement on June 16. Until then, let’s have a closer look at the hot hatch we won’t be seeing in the United States, where Renault isn’t likely to return too soon.

Click past the jump to read more about the Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy.

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2014 Hennessey Venom GT World's Fastest Edition

2014 Hennessey Venom GT World’s Fastest Edition

Had it not been for some silly rules, like needing 30 production cars to qualify and needing two back-to-back runs, the Hennessey Venom GT would have taken home the title as the "World’s Fastest Production Car" after its 270.49-mph run at Kennedy Space Center. But those rules are in place, and Hennessey couldn’t care less, as it is rolling out a special World’s Fastest Edition Venom GTs in very limited quantities.

There is very limited information on the World’s Fastest Edition, but we do know that it features a red, white and blue livery to match the American flag. We also learned that the model will come in at a price tag of $1.25 million.

According to what I can gather, the Venom GT WFE will carry the same 7.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8 as the rest of the Venom GTs. This means that it pumps out 1,244 horsepower, and shoots the hypercar to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds and 186 mph in just 13.63 ticks. While the Venom GT only hit 270.49 mph at Kennedy Space Center, Hennessey claims it can hit about 278 mph.

I’m sure that Hennessey will announce more details on the WFE Venom GT, if there is more to talk about, so stay tuned to TopSpeed.com for more details.

Click past the jump to read more about the standard Hennessey Venom GT.

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2014 Venturi VBB-3

2014 Venturi VBB-3

At the end of March, Venturi dropped the first details on its intention to hit an amazing 435 mph (700 km/h) at the famed Salt Flats in Bonneville, Utah - also known as the world speed capital. Today the company has finally dropped the first details on the vehicle that will be used for this attempt: the third-generation "Venturi Jamais Contente", aka VBB-3.

The VBB-3 is fully electric and develops a total of 3,000 horsepower. Venturi’s first record was established in 2010 when the VBB-2.5 went up to a top speed of 495 km/h (307.58 mph). With the VBB-3, Venturi plans to go up to 600 km/h (372.82 mph) and, in 2014, it plans to hit 700 km/h (434.96 mph). The biggest surprise will be revealed in 2015, but that remains a secret for now.

The VBB-3 will make its first appearance at the Bonneville Salt Flats on August 10th through 16th of 2013 and the first record attempts will take place on September 12 and 18, 2013.

Updated 27/08/2015: The 3,000 horsepower VBB-3 didn’t catch a break at the Bonneville Salt Flats, but it did return to Utah a few days ago, managing to break the FIA land speed record for electric cars. The electric racer averaged 240.320 mph (386.757 kph) over a mile, until vibarations from the poor conditions of the salt runway forced it to retire from the run.

Continue reading to learn more about the land speed record car.

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2014 Keating The Bolt

2014 Keating The Bolt

Back in 2009, Keating announced the TKR — a supercar that delivered a total of 1,800 horsepower and went up to an amazing top speed of 260.1 mph.This number is quite impressive, especially when you consider that the world speed record is currently held by the Bugatti Veyron, and stands at 257.87 mph (or 267.87 mph for the five Super Sport World Record Edition units).

Now it looks like the British manufacturer has bigger plans with a new supercar: The Bolt. Keating aims to hit a top speed of more than 340 mph, making the new "The Bolt" the fastest supercar in the world.

According to the first details we have on the car, this result will be possible, thanks to an innovative supercharger bolted to the engine. Keating reports that this special supercharger switches between normally aspirated and supercharged, depending on the demands of the engine. As a result, the engine’s output ranges from 1,000 to 2,500 horsepower, with fuel economy staying at an amazing 30 mpg.

However, a base The Bolt will be powered by a Chevrolet-sourced 7.0-liter, LS7 V-8 engine capable of delivering between 640 and 800 horsepower, depending on the version. This 800-horsepower variant is rumored to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just two seconds.

The record attempt will take place in the United States or in the Arab Emirates, in August or September next year and will use a heavily tuned version of the supercar. The Bolt will be priced between £150,000 ($240,000) and £750,000 ($1,200,000), depending on the engine specifications and the customer’s choices.

After The Bolt, Keating’s next project will be a front-engined touring car that will aim against Aston Martin models.

Click past the jump for a running tally of the various fastest cars throughout automotive history, ranging from the 12 mph Benz Velo to the 253 mph Veyron.

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1967 Chevrolet L88 Corvette Sting Ray Convertible

1967 Chevrolet L88 Corvette Sting Ray Convertible

Classic Vettes are on the upswing in values this year, with the $3.2 million earned by this 1967 L88 Sting Ray Convertible at Mecum’s Dallas auction the highest total yet for any example of America’s sports car.

Corvette collection can become an obsession thanks to the huge variety of models, special editions and racing derivatives over the model’s 60-year history. Just like a bag of chips: once you pop... you can’t stop collecting these iconic machines.

Valuations for these models are incredibly sensitive to the car’s history, rarity and restoration quality. Beauty and the driving experience take a back seat to the engine specification and matching serial numbers. As such, this investment-grade L88 convertible’s huge earning at auction is a bit confusing to outsiders.

Part of a giant Bobby Herin collection sold by Mecum Auctions, to an outsider’s eye there seem to be many more special and beautiful examples out there, including some from Mr. Herin’s garage as well.

But they provenance of this L88 convertible is beyond reproach, with all the required documentation, the fuel tank sticker, and the other minute details collectors look for when purchasing a car at these prices. The authenticity of the interior adds patina, as does the car’s NHRA drag racing championship, old drag racing time slips, and the painstakingly-recreated original Marlboro Maroon paintjob.

How cool is this L88? It was beyond a ZR1 upgrade in its day, and the color directly influenced the new 2014 Stringray Convertible’s launch color.

Click past the jump for the full review of the most valuable Corvette (and perhaps any American road car) ever sold at auction, this 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Convertible.

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2014 SSC Tuatara

2014 SSC Tuatara

The upcoming SSC Tuatara is the hotly anticipated sophomore album from the Washington-based SSC North America team. SSC has built a name for itself via impressive top-speed-record runs with its existing model, the Diablo-esque SSC Ultimate Aero XT.

The Tuatara’s development continued this spring with engine and gearbox setups being refined since the concept car was revealed in late 2011. The new model builds a stunning exterior and interior atop the brute-force mechanical package from the Ultimate Aero XT. The latest news to emerge from the firm is a 250 pound-feet bump in engine torque following durability testing, and news of a 300 mph speedometer, feeding rumors of a top speed well above the 276 mph initially quoted.

The style and presence of the white concept Tuatara created quite a stir when shown at Pebble Beach in 2011. Designed by the talented-but-bizarre Jason Castriota of SAAB and Fiat fame, the Tuatara most closely resembles the 2006 Maserati Birdcage 75th concept car in its smooth flowing panels and deep, milky-white paint finish. Castriota also worked on the Birdcage, but was not the lead designer. He now runs an independent design consultancy called Castriota Design.

UPDATE 5/1/2013: SSC just completed testing the Tuatara on the dyno and released all of the results. A release date has been officially set too. See more after the jump

Please follow the jump to learn more about the SSC Tuatara ahead of its first customer deliveries in January 2014.

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1984 BMW e-M3 by Rimac

1984 BMW e-M3 by Rimac

It’s not every day the words "BMW M3" and "Electric" get thrown together, but today is one of those days. Rimac Automobili - yes, the same guys that introduced the Concept One - have taken a 1984 BMW M3 and converted it to an electric piece of automotive wonder.

The idea came about when Mate Rimac - the founder of Rimac Automobili - blew out the engine of his Bimmer while racing. He then started to read about how to develop electric vehicles and after one year of work, his end result netted him a heavy and not very powerful vehicle with a very limited range. Since that time, Rimac’s BMW has gone through five development phases during which almost everything about the car was changed. The time Rimac spent on this vehicle and the help he received from experts in the electric car field, gave way to the Rimac e-M3, which has become one of the fastest and most exciting electric cars in the world. Its electric motor delivers a total of 600 HP and 664 lb-ft of torque, which sprints the car from 0 to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds up to a top speed of 174 mph. It also has a range of 111 miles.

The Rimac e-M3 has already smashed five world records (three of which are still waiting for official FIA approval) when he took the car on a two-mile long military runway near Zagreb on April 17th, 2011.

Hit the jump for a full list of the Rimac e-M3’s new world records and a list of performance specs!

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2012 Toyota EV P002

2012 Toyota EV P002

When Toyota Motorsport GmbH developed the TMG EV P001 specifically to set the electric vehicle lap record at the Nürburgring, we knew Toyota was onto something special. Then it released a follow up to the P001 specifically to run in the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and set a new EV record of 10:15.380 up the hill, and we were simply blown away.

Toyota then decided it was time to put the P002 to the test and see if it could beat the P001’s record-setting time around the `Ring. The P002 did not disappoint, as it smashed the P001’s record by 25 seconds, placing it in the top-15 times ever on the Nürburgring (at the time).

With the TMG EV P002 firmly situated in the history books, we felt it was the right time to take a closer look at this purpose-built race car and see what it’s like under the microscope.

Click past the jump to read our full review on the TMG EV P002.

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