The Bugatti Chiron is, by all accounts, an excellent car. Aside from being able to do well over 260mph, people often overlook the fact that it's laden with cutting-edge technology, handles better than you would expect, and has an interior like a space-age Rolls-Royce.
Mechanically, it's also an absolute battleship. Its 8.0L W16 engine puts out nearly 1,500 bhp. It's got four turbochargers and three radiators. It's also AWD, so it does 0-60 in in 2.5 seconds.
Just unveiled at SEMA, the Hennessey Venom F5 couldn't be more different. With a piddly 7.4L engine with half the cylinders, turbos, and driven wheels of the Chiron, you wouldn't expect it to hold a candle to the German. But somehow, it manages to be even faster, with a projected top speed of over 270mph--and a goal of someday getting to 300.
The F5 takes many powertrain cues from the 270-mph Venom GT, but other than that, the two are barely comparable. The GT's bloated Lotus Exige body wasn't terribly aerodynamic, but the F5 is more in line with modern exotics with air channels and an active rear wing to push the top speed as high as possible.
That 7.4L engine, while smaller than the Chiron's, makes even more power--1,600bhp and 1,300 lb-ft of torque, to be precise. It's also got to push nearly 1,500 lbs less, which more than makes up for its lack of AWD. A light, RWD, V8 car is same general design principle employed by Koenigsegg, who also make some of the fastest cars on the planet, so it's a well-proved method.
Only 24 of the things will be built, and they'll start at just over $1.5 million, meaning you're getting the speed of a Chiron for a million bucks less. Of course, it's uncomfortable, badly equipped and Hennessey has a shaky track record when it comes to actually delivering cars to customers, but if you've got that kind of scratch, it's a heck of a deal. Let us know how it does on gas.