Ford and Chevrolet have produced a fair share of bad engines over the years, but these 10 take the cake.
With more than a century of experience under their belt, it is not surprising that both Chevrolet and Ford Motor Company have had some great engines in their numerous cars. Ranging from cute dinky four cylinders to really powerful V8s and interesting V10s, their motors are among the most respected by the motoring public.
While some of the engines from both powerhouses made good power, had good fuel economy, and were easy to maintain, others were downright horrible to drive. Those are better avoided as they are nothing but trouble and would give the unlucky owner a lot of headaches in costly repairs and frequent visits to gas stations.
While some of these engines were outright flops, others were victims of the energy crisis of the 1970s and the strict emissions regulations. In light of this, read on for five worst engines Chevrolet has ever put in their cars and five from Ford.
“Iron Duke” 2.5L I-4
Also known as Pontiac 2.5, 2500, Tech IV, and 151, Pontiac Motor Division built the Iron Duke engine from 1977 to 1993. Originally built to power Pontiac’s new economy car, it found its way into several Chevrolet cars like the 1982 Chevrolet Camaro.
Yes, you heard that right, a real honest to God Chevy Camaro powered by an inline-four engine making just 90 hp. With a 0-60 mph time of 20 seconds (hardly what one would imagine from a vintage Camaro), the Iron Duke was not a good engine choice.
Chevrolet 3400 V6
General Motors’ family of 60° V60 engines with displacement that varied between 2.5 liters to 3.4 liters were produced from 1980 until 2005 in the US. The 3.4 liters V6 has a bore and stroke of 3.62 in x 3.31 in, and an output of 160 hp at 4600 rpm and 200 lb-ft of torque at 3600 rpm.
Although it is a relatively reliable and low-maintenance engine, the Chevrolet 3400 should be avoided because of its corrosive coolant. Corrosion of the intake manifold gasket causes a cooling system leakage, leading to overheated engines.
Chevrolet 2300 I-4
Produced by Chevrolet from 1971 to 1977, the Chevrolet 2300 engine is a 2.3 liters naturally-aspirated inline-4 engine with an aluminum block. Producing an output of 70-110 hp and 107-138 lb-ft of torque, it was the power unit for the Chevrolet Monza and Chevrolet Vega for the 1971-1977 model years.
Due to a barely adequate cooling system, the engine suffered from frequent overheating, which distorted the cylinders and caused a wearing of the silica coating by the pistons. Consequently, it burned more oil and also suffered a compromise of the head gasket, which led to cooling system leakage.
267 Small Block V8
From 1954 until 2003, Chevrolet produced a series of small-block V8 engines that were legendary in their reliability and potency. In a family of solid engines with displacement ranging from 4.3 liters to 6.6 liters, only the 267 disappoints in performance.
Introduced in 1979, the 267 Small Block V8 was used in the Camaro, Monte Carlo, and El Camino in the heat of strict emission regulations. Although it shared parts with the 350, the 267 was not as powerful, and production was discontinued in 1982 to be replaced by the 305.
350 Diesel V8
Manufactured by Oldsmobile between 1978 and 1985, the 350 V8 was a liquid-cooled naturally-aspirated diesel engine that had severe reliability issues. Developed based on the Oldsmobile 350 gasoline V8, the new engine block was built of a stronger cast iron alloy and was sufficiently strengthened.
Problems, however, arose from Oldsmobile’s failure to use stronger head bolts that would have better withstood the much higher pressure that diesel engines operated under. This caused head gasket failures resulting in hydrolock, while the omission of a water separator in the fuel system led to serious corrosion.
Ford 4.2 Small Block V8
Also known as the 255, the Ford 4.2 is one of the 90° small-block V8s made by Ford Motor Company between 1961 and 2002. Created for the 1980 model year, the 255 was a quick solution to Ford’s need for an engine that would meet the emission standards of the day.
Practically a 302 with the bores reduced to 3.68 inches; the 255 was used in the Fairmont and Mustang and produced between 115-122 hp. This was a poor performance for a V8 engine, leading to its eventual discontinuation after the 1982 model year.
Ford 6.0 Power Stroke
Power Stroke is a lineup of diesel engines that have been in use since 1994 to power vehicles like the Ford F-Series, the Ford E-Series, and Ford Excursion. Brought in to replace the 7.3 in 2003, the 6.0 Power Stroke, displacing 6-liters, utilizes a turbocharger to produce 325 hp and 570 lb-ft of twist.
Unfortunately, many of these engines develop numerous problems, including head gasket failure following a failure of the torque-to-yield head studs. Others are failure of the fuel injection control module, oil cooler problems, and exhaust gas recirculation cooler/valve failure.
Ford 6.4 Power Stroke
Introduced in 2008, the Ford 6.4 Power Stroke utilized factory-fitted dual turbochargers to produce 350 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. It was a beastly creature when new, but it had poor fuel economy and was plagued by numerous problems just like the 6.0 it replaced.
Some of the common issues it had include failure of the post on rings in cylinder number 7 and number 8. Others are failure of the turbocharger bearing seal, EGR cooler failure, cavitation erosion, and a comparatively higher cost of service and repair parts.
Ford 3.8 V6
Introduced in 1982, the first 3.8 V8 was an option in the Ford Granada and had an output of 112 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. Several upgrades later, the unit powering the 2001 Ford Mustang made 193 hp at 5500 rpm and 225 lb-ft of torque at 2800 rpm.
Although the 3.8 didn’t lack power, it performed poorly on the fuel efficiency front and was also notorious for blowing head gaskets. It was best not to hang onto it after 150,000 miles if you did not want to be flooded with expensive repairs.
Ford 5.4 3 Valve V8
The Ford 5.4 3 valve V8 belonged to Ford’s family of modular engines and was introduced in the 2002 Ford Fairmont. Early versions of the 5.4 were notorious for blowing spark plugs while running, which stripped the aluminum head threads.
To take care of the problem, Ford made the plugs too tight in the engine block, causing them to break into two. Although the 5.4 3 valve V8 is a great engine when it is new, beyond 150,000 miles, maintenance becomes an absolute nightmare.
Here’s What We Love About Ford’s 2.3L EcoBoost Engine
Ford’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine has found a home in the Focus RS, the Ranger, and even in the Mustang.
Ford has been gradually rolling out their EcoBoost lineup of engines over the course of the last decade, and all of them have played a critical role in getting the company to where it is now.
Not long ago Ford was heavily criticized for its lack of innovation, especially in terms of engine development, relying heavily on then-partner Mazda for their small-displacement gas and diesel 4-cylinder engines. For a time, that served its purpose, with both brands gaining access to markets they otherwise might not have, and both brands learning from each other in many respects. Since that partnership came to an end, it is Ford who has truly gone from strength to strength, once again producing desirable cars with innovative, efficient engines. One of those engines is the performance-minded 2.3-liter EcoBoost.
This particular 2.3-liter variant has technically been in production since 2015, but its origins date back to 2010 and even further if you look at development lead time.
At its core, this is a 2.0-liter EcoBoost, strengthened and stroked out to create the larger displacement. This is achieved by using a 94mm forged crankshaft as opposed to the regular 83mm crank.
Largely thanks to economics of scale Ford is able to keep the prices of spare parts for these rather advanced engines down, most especially in the US and Europe where they are produced.
Maintenance costs do go up a fair bit as you go up the performance ladder, the Ranger for example only makes around 280 horsepower and the engine remains understressed. In the Focus RS the same engine is pumping out 350 highly-strung horsepower, so it is to be expected that there will be more wear and tear in those high-performance engines.
One of the key aspects in making the development of any engine a successful one is making it modular.
The 2.3-liter EcoBoost is exactly that, able to fit into the engine bay of a wide variety of vehicles as well as being able to be mounted both transverse and longitudinally, something only a handful of engines can manage.
Power Per Liter
At 350 horsepower, the highly-strung Focus RS makes more power per liter than almost any other mass-produced car, interesting considering that its engine also finds a home in the Mustang.
In the Mustang, power is slightly restricted, making 310 horsepower, likely down to a different exhaust system and their desire to emphasize the power jump to the V8. In reality, a few aftermarket modifications could get the EcoBoost Mustang a little too close to the V8 for comfort.
Although one of the most popular applications for the EcoBoost in North America is the Ranger, it certainly wasn’t developed with that in mind. It was developed for the Focus RS and the Mustang, two of Ford’s top-selling performance cars.
The Mustang is the baseline powertrain but obviously can’t leave the car wanting for performance, and the RS is the premier hot hatch in its class. The Ranger became more of a happy accident, as it was one of the few suitable gas engines that could be easily adapted for the pickup, which was initially not developed for the North American market.
What made the EcoBoost such an attractive option for the Ranger was simply the fact that it could deliver smooth reliable torque, comparable to the diesel engines you would usually find under the hood elsewhere.
It has the added bonus of being relatively affordable to produce and run, and the unintentional tuning benefit for those who want to modify one of the most modified vehicles in the world.
The torque delivery is largely down to the design of the turbo. The twin-scroll design means there is a lot less lag, thereby reducing the rev range of peak torque.
Peak torque in most turbos will come in at a higher point in the rev range, as the engine increases boost pressure, for the EcoBoost, this is not the case, as optimum boost and torque is achieved from right around 1500 rpm already.
Arguably, the biggest gain from this particular EcoBoost engine is the emissions output compared to produced horsepower.
Few engines are able to match this “goldilocks” engine in this department, there are a few that have more power per liter but suffer in the emissions department. There are also several that have superior emissions results but don’t even come close to the performance numbers that this incredible engine can achieve.
EcoBoost Mustang High Performance Pack To Cost $5,000 For Just 20 HP Boost
Ford is charging $5,000 for a 20 horsepower boost on the 2.3-L turbo engine, and even more if you want a limited-slip differential.
The new EcoBoost Mustang High Performance Package will cost almost $5,000 and add only 20 horsepower.
Last month, Ford revealed a new High Performance Package for Mustang’s equipped with the 2.3-L EcoBoost turbo 4-cylinder engine. It basically swaps in the engine from the Focus RS and boosts output from 310 to 330 horsepower. Torque remains the same at 350 lb-ft.
The Focus RS got 350 hp, so we’re not sure why the Mustang didn’t get those 20 extra horses.
In addition to the High Performance Pack, the EcoBoost Mustang also gets an available Handling Package which provides many of the same upgrades found on the Mustang GT Performance Pack. This includes Ford’s MagneRide magnetic damping suspension, a TORSEN limited-slip rear differential, sway bars, and wider 19×9.5-inch rims wrapped in Pirelli P Zero Corsa4 tires.
At the time, Ford just told us that the packages would be available this fall, but didn’t provide pricing. Now, thanks to CarsDirect.com, that pricing has been revealed, and we’re not sure if it’s worth it.
CarsDirect got their hands on a leaked order guide and then had it verified by a Ford spokesperson. What they found was the High Performance Package would be a $4,995 add-on to the base EcoBoost Mustang, which would bring it to $32,760 including destination. The Handling Package would be another $1,995, but it would also require the Equipment Group 101A package (a $2,000 charge), for a total of $36,755.
That’s a lot, considering a base Mustang GT costs $35,355 and comes with a big V8 engine.
Admittedly, the EcoBoost Mustang does come with a lot of performance upgrades that significantly improve the car’s handling and track viability. But given the choice between a track-focused turbo 4-cylinder and a big, hulking V8, we think most would choose the V8 every time.
Or they might opt for the Chevy Camaro 1LE, which starts at $32,490 for the V6-equipped model.
Has Ford maybe mis-priced this package a little bit? It’s hard to say. Perhaps it’ll be more popular overseas, but we can’t see it unseating the GT trim here in North America.
10 Beautiful Italian Classics That Will Bankrupt You With Maintenance Bills And Repairs
While these Italian classic cars are incredibly beautiful machines, they are also problematic to own and expensive to fix.
Italy is home to the world’s best sports cars and supercars. After all, Italian cars are popular for their beautiful designs and the excitement that oozes from the driver’s seat. Over the years, Italian automakers keep producing jaw-dropping cars, from the popular Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Maseratis, to the least popular brands like Abarth and Lancia.
Unfortunately, Italian cars lack the build quality and reliability exhibited by their German, British, American, and even Japanese adversaries. This holds true, especially for the Italian classics built during the 20th century. Most of these classic cars were so unreliable that owning them led to frequent visits to the repair shop and maintenance costs shooting through the roof. Buying any of these Italian models today is even worse, parts are elusive and also pricey.
Here are 10 beautiful Italian classicsthat will bankrupt you with maintenance bills and repairs.
Lancia Fulvia Sport Zagato
The Lancia Fulvia featured a unique design at its introduction. Surprisingly, it became the automaker’s most successful car and one of the most sought-after classics today. Initially available as a four-door sedan, Lancia expanded the range to include a coupe and the Fulvia Sport Zagato in 1965.
Buying the Lancia Fulvia Sport Zagato today is a double-edged sword. On one end, you have one of the best cars from the Italian automaker, while on the other, you have to put up with its unreliability. Rust is Lancia Fulvia’s biggest problem. Parts availability is also a headache, as many components are practically unavailable. Minor repairs tend to be quite costly as a result.
Maserati introduced the BiTurbo grand tourer in 1981 as a rival of the BMW 3 Series. Initially, the car was a strong seller, but sales declined in subsequent years due to poor build quality and reliability. As a result, the coupe version lasted until 1990, while the open-top Spyder version lasted until 1994.
Due to recurring mechanical problems, only a tiny fraction of all Maserati BiTurbos produced are still on the road today. In 2007, Time voted the BiTurbo as the worst car of 1984 while it emerged at position 28 in the BBC book Crap Cars. The BiTurbo also competed in the 1987 and 1988 Touring Car Championships without success, mainly due to overheating problems in the carburetors.
Meant to represent Maserati’s top-of-the-range BiTurbo series of cars, the Shamal was the brand’s most expensive car during the 90s. Under the hood was a twin-turbocharged V8 engine, good for 322hp, but the most exciting feature was the Koni adjustable suspension that foreshadowed modern adaptive dampers.
As impressive as the car was, it turned out the Shamal was a revamped BiTurbo masquerading as a performance model due to its reliability issues. Technical problems with the unfamiliar turbo technology, poor production quality, and rusting parts tarnished the car and the brand’s reputation.
De Tomaso Pantera
The De Tomaso Pantera is a good-looking exotic supercar, yet it doesn’t get the same love as other Lamborghinis and Ferraris of the early 70s. Sure, it may lack the racing pedigree of such cars, but with the iconic Italian styling and a thumping Ford-V8 engine propelling the car to 60mph in 5.5 seconds, the Pantera has the performance and design of a true 80s supercar.
Even better, the De Tomaso is more affordable and equally as fun as anything from the Maranello. But like many exotics produced during the time, it suffered from poor quality and lackluster engineering. Corrosion made a mess of the gorgeous steel monocoque in addition to fussy electrics, unforgiving ergonomics, and inadequate cooling.
The Lancia Beta was the Italian automaker’s entry-level luxury car and Lancia’s first new model under Fiat’s ownership. The public and motoring press received it well at its launch, widely regarded as a driver’s car due to its performance and handling. It became Lancia’s best-selling model during the time.
Unfortunately, rusting damaged the car’s reputation, especially the first series cars produced between 1972 and 1975. This resulted from poor rust-proofing techniques and prolonged strikes, but many claim that the automaker built the cars using Soviet steel. Regardless, the corrosion problem was so severe that it weakened the steel subframe.
While the Miura wasn’t the first supercar from Lamborghini, it remains the most influential and iconic performance car. Produced between 1966 and 1973, the Miura was the fastest production car. Enthusiasts claim it was the world’s first proper supercar – the first supercar to feature a rear mid-engined two-seat layout. This layout became the standard for all performance sports cars and supercars.
The Miura is still among the most beautiful cars ever built. Unfortunately, it couldn’t escape from reliability problems. Considered one of the most dangerous supercars, the Miura easily caught fire arising from mechanical flaws, faulty fuel lines, and poor carburetor assembly. The steel frame also rusted easily as it wasn’t rust-proofed. Regular maintenance and repairs today require either deep pockets or a specialist.
Alfa Romeo 33
Produced between 1983 and 1995, the Alfa Romeo 33 was essentially an evolved Alfasud as the two shared mechanicals like chassis, floorpan, and drivetrain. Sadly, the car never realized its full potential due to slow sales. By the time the automaker sharpened up things, its adversaries had already overtaken it.
But what went wrong? The first series Alfa 33 produced between 1983 and 1986, suffered from fundamental flaws as the automaker struggled to build quality cars. Despite having powerful engines and agile handling, the car gained a reputation for unreliable electronics and frequent rust problems. While the Alfa 33 is dirt cheap today, regular maintenance costs may surpass the amount you paid for the car.
Introduced during the mid-90s, the F355 remains one of Ferrari’s most beautiful cars. The F355 was a revised version of the Ferrari 348 but with improved performance and exterior. While it addressed earlier models’ transmission problems, it still had reliability problems and high routine maintenance costs.
Firstly, any engine-out service will fetch you north of $10,000. The bad news is that even the slightest mechanical repair, such as cam-belt service, requires an engine-out service. Exhaust manifold or headers are prone to failure, and replacing them costs about $5,000. In the worst-case scenario, a complete engine rebuild costs over $25,000.
Alfa Romeo GTV6
The GTV6 was the final iteration of Alfa Romeo’s GTV model line and received a potent V6 engine in 1981 that produced between 160hp and 170hp. The GTV6 still looks beautiful, even by today’s standards. However, regarding reliability, this exotic car is like a drama queen due to regular repairs and high maintenance that will surely put a dent in your wallet.
Produced during a time when the automaker was all but broke, the GTV6 suffered from unreliability and other structural problems. The build quality was abysmal, wiring was equally a mess, and in typical 80s Italian style, the GTV6 had its fair share of rust problems. The finicky engine also demands expensive maintenance costs caused by strict adherence to scheduled services like timing chain, water pump, and oil changes.
Fiat 850 Spyder
Following the introduction of the 1964 Fiat 850 Sedan, the Italian automaker kickstarted production of the 850 Spider a year later as a direct rival to the Austin-Healey Sprite and MG Midget. But with a mere 47hp on the tap, the Fiat 850 Spider wasn’t precisely a performance monster.
However, despite having Ferrari-like looks, the Fiat 850 Spider was notorious for countless reliability problems. In fact, most cars never fulfilled their owner’s dreams as they rusted away quickly. Consequently, rusting subjected many 850 Spiders to recalls before hitting the sales floor. Today, you can hardly find an 850 unit that doesn’t need restoration. And chances are part of its floor is probably missing.
5 Best BMW Tuning Shops In The World (5 Most Badass Mercedes Tuners)
Catering to the most ambitious BMW enthusiasts, these tuner shops take the best of these bavarian machines to whole new levels of cool.
These tuning shops are responsible for some of the world’s most badass aftermarket BMWs and Mercedes cars.
While high-performance and luxury automobile manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz make some of the best vehicles on the planet, their offerings will never satisfy niche consumers and fanatics. And that includes cars made by both German brands’ in-house tuning departments, BMW M and AMG.
Luckily, the aftermarket tuning industry has many firms offering some of the top-notch modification services to customers looking for upgrades in different unique styles. Everything is available, from interior modifications to specially designed body kits and performance improvements through engine, chassis, and suspension tuning.
Among the many tuning companies on the market, a few have put their focus on specific brands. Here are the five best BMW tuning shops and also the top five places to take your Mercedes-Benz for expert auto-tuning.
Bukard Bovenspien started Alpina in 1962, where he would modify the BMW 1500 at the back of his father’s typewriter-making business premises. Excluding BMW’s M division, it’s the most popular modifier of BMWs today. Alpina evolved from just a tuning house and racing operation to a certified manufacturer in the ’80s. It brands its creation as Alpinas, and since its inception, its best year was 2021 with 2,000 units sold.
BMWs and Alpinas have long shared a production line and been sold and serviced at the same dealerships. Typically, Alpinas are superior touring cars to the BMWs they’re based on. The emphasis is on luxury, exclusivity, enhanced handling, and comfortable driving. BMW acquired Alpina in 2022 but ownership won’t change until 2026.
Brabus needs no introduction. AMG aside, it’s the most popular tuning firm concentrating on Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, and Smart models. Bodo Buschmann, in partnership with Brackman, established Brabus in 1977. The company’s moniker was inspired by the first three letters of the founders’ last names (Brackman, Buschmann).
The tuner has only gone uphill, with some of the most cutting-edge tuning work ever done on Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Like Alpina, it sells cars it modifies under its own brand, with a fully-tuned Brabus vehicle going for twice as much as a regular Benz. Here are the craziest Brabus creations.
Dinan Engineering, with a history spanning four decades, has become known as the premier BMW tuning shop in the U.S. Its headquarters are in Opelika, Alabama. The shop’s comprehensive line of aftermarket tuning products covers nearly every performance and luxury model bearing the BMW badge.
High-performance services offered by Dinan include Engine (ECU), Suspension (EDC), and Transmission (TCU) Tuning.
Rolf and Andreas Hartge founded Carlsson in 1989. To honor Mercede’s racing accomplishments, the brothers named the business after Ingvar Carlsson, a Swede who raced for the German carmaker in the 1980s. Carlsson performs high-performance upgrades for Mercedes-Benzes, but its timeless eye-popping designs and alloy wheels are what really set it apart.
In 2007, Carlsson started collaborating with international leather-lifestyle brand Etienne Aigner in luxury automobile coachbuilding. First coachbuild was the Carlsson CL 600 CK65 Eau Rouge.Today, the tuner alters 120 cars per year, and its high-luxury tuning packages are accessible for practically the whole Mercedes lineup.
BMW: AC Schnitzer
Since its founding in 1987, Aachen-based tuner AC Schnitzer has had an excellent reputation in the global auto-tuning scene. It mostly comes up in conversations regarding customized BMWs. The company stands out from the competition by servicing not just BMWs (1,3, 5, 6, 7, X, M, and Z series cars) but also the brand’s EVs and BMW Motorrad motorcycles.
AC Schnitzer’s heart-winning BMW builds have seen it voted the best aftermarket BMW tuning brand by “Auto Motor und Sport” readers. And that’s 16 times in a row. The tuning house has multiple times topped engine/performance enhancements and aerodynamic conversions categories.
Kleemann, situated in Denmark, opened its doors in 1985. It’s the first Mercedes tuner to employ a supercharger, intake manifold, and intercooler as a single unit. Almost everything from scissor-style doors to the most outrageously potent supercharger upgrades is available and manufactured in-house.
In the early 2000s, Kleemann set two world records for the quickest street-legal sedan (210-mph E 55K) and SUV (175-mph ML 55K). Along with skillfully tuning the chassis and reworking internals, Kleemann improves aerodynamics and visual flash with its carbon fiber body kits. Its pinnacle models include the Supercharged SLS AMG and Supercharged C63 Black Series.
German tuner Manhart has one of the most impressive catalogs of BMW-specific tuning parts and BMWs on sale. Its tuning programs are mostly for high-performance models from the Bavarian automaker. Manhart’s forged carbon body kits feature all the necessary aero pieces and come treated tastefully with the tuner’s signature gold-and-black (or gray and red) color scheme.
Things to expect in Manhart BMW builds include extreme horsepower bumps, suspension tuning, its trademark stainless steel exhaust systems, unique alloy wheels, and carbon fiber interior accents and body kits. Notably, Manhart’s is also famous for insane engine transplants.
Despite being a time-tested German tuning firm, Lorinser is one of the less well-known ones. The tuner started as Daimler’s official reseller in the ’30s, selling and servicing Mercedes-Benz automobiles. It then got into exclusive Mercedes-Benz refinement and tuning in 1976.
While other tuning businesses take on extreme car modification projects, selling fully-specced cars, Lorinser has stuck to making performance kits. Also offering aftermarket appearance upgrades, Lorisner’s body kits and wheels bring subtle yet impeccably stylish design, often featuring a two-tone aesthetic.
G-Power stands on its own as a formidable force in aftermarket BMW tuning. The HURRICANE BMW vehicle lineup demonstrates this. Apart from small-series products and its limited-edition BMWs, on request, G-POWER will create individual one-offs per customers’ wishes.
G-Power’s creations aren’t cheap – they’re ranked among the most expensive BMWs ever produced globally. Engine tuning, turbocharger upgrades, sporty and aggressive aerodynamics mods, and bespoke interior design using high-end materials are among the main G-Power services. Its standout parts include HURRICANE forged rims, exhaust systems, and downpipes using titanium, stainless steel carbon fiber, or chrome.
Hartmut Feyhl spent 12 years at AMG Germany before leaving and founding RENNtech in 1989. Based in Stuart, Florida, RENNtech has grown from only servicing AMG’s customers to one of North America’s leading high-performance tuning specialists. It’s primary focus is on Mercedes-Benz and AMG vehicles.
RENNtech services and aftermarket products (in-house developed) cover Mercedes’s current model range and even standouts like the SLR McLaren and SLS AMG. Notable cars by RENNtech include the 200-mph 1996 RENNtech E7.4RS and the more recent RENNtech R3+.
10 Most Expensive BMW Models Ever Sold At Auction
From race care cars to rare icons, these classic BMWs can fetch astonishing prices at auction.
Modern BMWs have a lot going for them. They boast sleek designs, cutting-edge tech features, plush interiors, and exciting powertrains. While these and the appeal of the BMW badge is what today’s buyers want, collectors are often more interested in iconic examples from the brand’s past. The rarest BMWs, bought in their day by affluent wealthy international buyers, are the models that bring out the big bucks at an auction, especially when offered in good condition. Interestingly, a few of these BMW classics are the ones that nearly put the company out of business.
Established in 1916, BMW started making cars in 1927. Its name is an abbreviation for “Bayerische Motoren Werke,” or Bavarian Motor Works. The German carmaker has its headquarters in Munich, Bavaria. From early models like the 3/15, BMW’s first car, the 328 sports car, and post-war classics like the 500 Series to modern “Bimmers,” the BMW brand is associated with luxury, high performance, and driving pleasure.
While BMW’s modern “ultimate driving machines” are undoubtedly impressive, the brand’s rare classics and race cars with proven heritage often command the highest prices at auction. Here are the ten most expensive BMWs models ever sold at auction
Paul Walker’s BMW M1 AHG Studie – $500,000
The M1 is rightly recognized as the best BMW M car ever made. It was specially designed for FIA Group 5 Class homologation. Only 453 copies ever saw the light of day. Of the 399 street-legal models, BMW dealer Studie built 10 AHG Studie editions.
Modifications included a custom paint job, a unique body kit, and three-piece BBS wheels. The dealer also squeezed an additional 75 hp from the M88 engine boosting power to 350hp. Paul Walker, a big Bimmer fan, owned one of the 10 BMW M1 AHG Studie editions. Listed on Bring a Trailer in 2021, it sold for an astounding $500,000.
1957 BMW 503 Cabriolet – $583,000
The 503 is an opulent 2+2 grand tourer BMW offered in both coupe and cabriolet styles between 1956-1959. It was primarily created with the high-end US market in mind. Heavily influenced by the stunning Mercedes 300SL Gull Wing, it was not only elegant but also powerful. Under the hood was a 3.2-liter V8 rated at 140hp.
BMW only made 413 in total, of which 139 were cabriolets. While BMW 507 has overshadowed it for many years, a 1957 503 Cabriolet sold for a startling $583,000 in 2017, indicating a growing interest in the model.
2014 BMW M5 “30 Years Of M5” Limited Edition – $700,000
The BMW M5 celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014. To mark the occasion, BMW released a special 30th Anniversary Edition for the 2015 model year. It had a 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V8 producing 600 hp and 516 pound-feet of torque. The output made it more potent than not just its predecessors but also its competitors. It could hit 60 mph in a mere 3.7 seconds.
The German automaker only made 300 of this special M5. Of the 30 units BMW shipped to the US, only 29 were up for grabs. On January 15, 2015, BMW auctioned the last unit, which sold for a hefty $700,000. Proceeds went to the BMW Club of America Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization.
1981 BMW M1 – $692,500
Produced from 1978-1981, the BMW M1 stands out as the company’s first mid-engine offering. A first step to the M performance of today, it could zoom to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and achieve 161 mph. Power came from an M88 3.5-liter inline-six making 273 hp and 239 lb.-ft of twist.
Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the M1 is one of the most desirable European sports cars of its period. The highest price ever paid for a BMW M1 was for this black 1981 model, which sold for $692,500 (via Broad Arrow) in August of 2022.
1978 BMW 320i Turbo IMSA – $731,000
BMW Motorsport and McLaren Engines worked together to build the 320i Turbo for IMSA’s Group 5 Class. The real goal was to test a new turbocharged M12 engine for Formula 1. Porsche’s swift and potent 935 easily beat the two units initially constructed for 1977, forcing BMW back to the drawing board
The brand’s Motorsport division came up with a lightweight example of the BMW 320i Turbo IMSA that had shed almost 300 lbs. With McLaren making progress on turbos, it got a 600-hp M12/9 engine. By 1979, BMW had added two more units while also refining the 320i Turbo into a more dependable racer. The only one lightweight example, chassis 003, sold for $731,000 at RM Sotheby’s 2019 Monterey auction.
2014 BMW i8 Concours d’Elegance Edition – $825,000
BMW made the i8 Concours d’Elegance Edition for the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It is an annual charity car show held at the world-famous Pebble Beach Golf Links in California. It came dipped in frozen gray metallic paint on the exterior, while its interior’s upholstery was made of Dalbergia brown leather. Some places on the inside featured laser-etched “Concours d’Elegance” lettering.
BMW’s most innovative and technologically sophisticated model at the time, its unique feature was the laser headlights. When the hammer finally dropped, the one-off i8 price had risen to a respectable $825,000. Proceeds went to the Pebble Beach Company Foundation and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
1937 BMW 328 Roadster – $846,743
Many consider the BMW 328 two-door roadster (1936-1940) the first truly modern sports car. A whole generation ahead of its time, it’s the best BMW produced before World War II. The heavily aerodynamic design, its lightness, and 2.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine (80 hp) made it formidable in the European racing scene throughout the 1930s.
Notably, Frazer Nash had permission to market the 328s it sold in the United Kingdom under its brand. That’s why there are Frazer Nash-BMW 328s. With BMW only making 426 units, only around half are still in existence today. It has found an eager audience among today’s car collectors, which explains why bidding reached $874,000 for 1937 328 on August 20, 2022 (via Gooding & Company).
1980 BMW M1 Procar – $913,000
When the M1 started production in 1978, it was too outdated. A big boost for BMW was the F1 Constructors Association coming up with a racing series featuring only identical M1s. The spectacular series pitted the top five drivers in F1 practice sessions for European-held races against private drivers. Notable winners included Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet.
BMW only made 46 of these Procars – all getting their juice from an M88/1 straight six (470-hp). This red example, which raced in the 1981 IMSA GTO Championship and 1984 Can-Am Challenge Cup, sold for $913,000 in 2020. It’s the most expensive BMW racecar.
1958 BMW 507 Series II Roadster – $3 Million
Many consider the 507 (1957–1959) one of the best-looking BMWs ever. Although European in origin, it mirrored contemporary tastes in North America. Unfortunately, its spiraling build costs resulted in a hefty $10,500 price tag. BMW could only make and sell only 252 cars of the 5000 units initially planned.
The elegant style of its hand-formed aluminum body, its luxury appointments, and its rarity have combined to make it the most collectible and coveted BMW. Many 507s have sold very close to their estimated value of $2 – $2.4 million. Red 1958 example seen above, once owned by Albrecht Graf Goertz, the designer of the BMW 507, sold in 2018 for $3,018,677.
1957 BMW 507 Touring Sports Car With HardTop – $4.9 Million
Another aspect of the high value of the BMW 507 nowadays is being formerly owned by the glitterati of the time. Celebrities like Elvis Presley, Aga Khan, Toni Sailer (skiing champion), film stars Alain Delon, Ursula Andress, and Prince Rainier of Monaco. John Surtees, motorcycling and F1 World Champion, was the owner of the stunning 1957 BMW 507 Roadster with a Hardtop shown here.
When auctioned through Bonhams in 2018, it smashed all previous global BMW sale records. Thanks to its owner’s legendary status, never changing hands, and near-pristine condition, it garnered $4,984,985. John Surtees had received it as a present following his 1956 Motorcycle World Championship win.
9 Amazing German Sports Cars…And 9 American Cars That Beat Them
These amazing German sports cars are seriously fast, but the American cars that will actually beat them.
Many people around the world probably believe that Henry Ford invented the automobile. The true creator of the car as we know it was actually a German inventor, Karl Benz, who built the Benz Patent Motorcar in 1885. Henry Ford, on the other hand, popularized the new invention with his pioneering production line methods. Ever since those first cars replaced horse-drawn carriages, the pursuit of speed and power has remained at the forefront of automotive development. Engine output has benefited from the miracles of forced induction, fuel injection, and improved metallurgy. Handling received upgrades in the form of adaptive suspension, active aerodynamics, and eventually the advent of electronically-controlled all-wheel drive.
Updated March 2022: Whether you’re into German or American cars, there are plenty of ridiculously fast models to choose from. We’ve updated this list to give you even more information about some of the awesome models out there.
The result is that even commuter cars today radically outperform racing cars from the earliest days of the automobile. But the competition between brands and nations continues as every manufacturer tries to one-up their competition, and when it comes to the highest-end arena, sports cars receives the most attention and therefore the most money for design and development. The result is an arms war, but this is one war where everyone wins. As sports cars from Germany and America get faster and faster, more and more luxurious, and more affordable, it can be hard to keep track of which cars are the best today. Keep scrolling for 9 incredible German sports cars, and 9 American cars that will beat them.
Amazing German Sports Car: Porsche 918 Spyder
Porsche released the 918 Spyder in 2013, revealing to the world their vision of the future of the sports car. An incredible exterior design hearkened back to early Porsches like the 904 and 917 competition racing cars, but with a modern touch that highlighted the advanced hybrid drivetrain underneath all those smooth curves. A 4.6-liter, 608 horsepower V8 pairs with a 154 horsepower electric engine to power the rear wheels, while a smaller 125 horsepower electric engine powers the front axle. Total output for the entire system is 887 horsepower and 944 lb-ft of torque, good enough to launch the 3,600 pound car to 60 miles per hour in only 2.5 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 217 miles per hour.
Though the Panamera S received Porsche’s first plug-in hybrid drivetrain, the 918 Spyder was the German company’s first to feature a hybrid drivetrain in a dedicated sports car, and the result speak for themselves. The 918 Spyder broke a number of Motortrend’s performance records at the time, for speed, grip, and braking, all while offering up to 12 miles of fully electric driving range. Owning a piece of Porsche’s future cost a sky-high price tag of $845,000, but the limited run of 918 units sold out, nonetheless.
Incredible American Performance Car: Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
American sports cars often trace their lineage to the muscle car mania of the 1960s and 70s, and nowhere is that more true than with Dodge’s current reimagining of the Challenger. Especially in Demon trim with the Demon Crate package, where a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 under that big hood cranks out 840 horsepower and 770 lb-ft of torque. The Demon is no small car, weighing in at almost 4,500 pounds, but all that power means it can sprint to 60 miles per hour in only 2.3 seconds. Of course, that much grunt requires wide tires, which also allow the Demon to post a respectable 0.92 g of grip despite its high profile and aggressive exterior profile. But this car is all about mind-numbing power, and it can churn through tires with the best that Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz have to offer.
Big brakes, burbly exhaust, and a roomy interior round out the package, while a price tag in the low $80,000 range means a Demon is a solid option for an American sports car that easily competes with the best that Germany has to offer. (For maniacs who don’t think a Demon is enough, Hennessey Performance can boost horsepower to over 1,000 with a supercharger upgrade.)
Amazing German Sports Car: Porsche 911 Carrera S
Porsche’s 911 line has been in continuous production since its initial release in 1963, as the German manufacturer constantly redesigns, refines, and improves on the world’s most classic rear-engined sports coupe. Though the platform remains largely the same as its initial conception, exterior styling revisions signal the improvements to the powertrain underneath. A dizzying variety of 911 models over the years makes direct comparison difficult, but the best way to consider the line is typically the rear wheel drive Carrera S.
While stats for the first 911s, which had a naturally aspirated flat six that produced 130 horsepower, may seem paltry today, the car was one of the best performing production vehicles of its time. Today’s 911 Carrera S is larger, longer, and heavier, but with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat six hanging off the back that creates 420 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque at only 1,700 RPM. The Carrera S is also one of the only true enthusiast’s sports car that still comes with a manual transmission. Overall speed isn’t quite at supercar levels, but the combination of great looks, quality, handling, and a luxurious interior make the 911 Carrera S one of the premier offerings on the sports car market today.
Incredible American Performance Car: Camaro Exorcist
Texas-based tuners Hennessey Performance have a long history of taking standard production cars from manufacturers of all brands and cramming monster upgrades everywhere they can in the hopes of creating serious performance and power. Cars, trucks, and SUVs from Lotus, Audi, Ford, Cadillac, and Jeep have all emerged from Hennessey’s hands with 1,000 horsepower, 6×6 drivetrains, and custom body kits, but their most recent bolt-on upgrade is the Camaro Exorcist.
The Exorcist package takes a ZL1 spec Camaro and upgrades its supercharger, engine internals, intercoolers, exhaust, transmission tuning, and more to make the car capable of handling 1,000 horses and 883 lb-ft of torque. The Exorcist will run to 60 miles per hour under 3 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 217 miles per hour. Only 100 Exorcists will be made, so finding one on the streets to race a Porsche might be hard, but Hennessey seems confident their car will be able to conquer just about anything on the road – so confident they even offer a 2-year/24,000 miles warranty on the Exorcist, which is a comfort to owners concerned that all that power might just tear a Camaro apart from the inside out.
Amazing German Sports Car: Porsche 718 Cayman S
The Porsche Boxster and Cayman models of the last two decades have continued on the German manufacturers longstanding tradition of offering a relatively affordable sports car that doesn’t skimp on overall driving enjoyment. Going back to the early 912 of the 1960s, with its Volkswagen-sourced four cylinder engine, through to the 914 of the 1970s, and the 944 of the 1980s, each Porsche era has a car that changes things up from the standard 911 in all its iterations, as well as higher-end GT and RS track monsters. The Boxster convertible debuted in 1997, while its coupe sibling accompanied an overall redesign in 2005. Various negligible differences between the two exist, but the overall mid-mounted, rear wheel drive geometry remains the same, making both some of the world’s best handling cars – especially for the money.
Today’s 718 models feature a turbocharged four cylinder engine that allows for better torque figures, lower weight, and greater fuel efficiency. Overall power improves slightly to 361 horsepower, as well, but the torque gains around 100 lb-ft when compared to a base model of the previous generation. Slight styling improvements go alongside the drivetrain changes, while a price below $70,000 keeps a Cayman or Boxster within the reach of consumers who might otherwise find Porsches unattainable.
Incredible American Performance Car: Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
One of the earliest American sports cars was Chevy’s Corvette, which debuted in 1953 and has been in almost continuous production since. One of the most classic American sports cars of all time, the Corvette model line has had its ups and downs, with the first Stingrays being a notable high point (along with the Corvette Grand Sport), along with today’s post-bailout iterations. Performance and style rarely come in a more instantly recognizable form than the low wedge of a Corvette, and Chevy has truly upped both styling and power in the newest Corvette ZR1.
The huge hood, multiple air intakes, angular fascia, and an enormous spoiler reveal the ZR1 for the borderline supercar that it is. A supercharged LT5 V8 cranks out 755 horsepower and 715 lb-ft of torque, so much power that Chevy’s small-block chief engineer Jordan Lee, told Car and Driver, “We broke a lot of dynamometers testing this engine.” The Corvette ZR1 can reach 60 miles per hour in around 3 seconds, has a top speed of 211 mph, and even comes with an optional seven speed manual transmission for the enthusiast still bold enough to use a clutch. Chevy claims handling is greatly aided by the rear wing, which produces 950 pounds of downforce at speed.
Amazing German Sports Car: BMW M4
BMW claims to design and develop their cars with the intention of producing “The Ultimate Driving Machine”, and though the end result is largely a matter of taste, no automotive enthusiast will ever doubt that the Stuttgart-based company has a long history of cranking out impressive vehicles, whether they come in coupe, sedan, station wagon, or SUV form. Of course, the Pinnacle for BMW is always their line of M cars, which began with the homologation inspired M1 way back in 1978, and has evolved and expanded through the M5, the M3, and to just about every BMW model today.
Though BMW added a bit of confusion to the lineup by splitting up the traditional conception 3 Series model with the introduction of the 4 Series in 2013, today’s M4 continues on the heritage of the original S14-powered E30 M3 coupe. Powerful haunches, a low stance, and serious power complement impeccable handling. With a twin-turbo inline six engine under the hood that cranks out up to 493 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque, depending on package specs, the big coupe can accelerate to 60 miles per hour in as little as 3.6 seconds. Water injection, a six speed stick shift, and extensive use of carbon fiber attest to BWM’s commitment to their aspirational slogan.
Incredible American Performance Car: Ford Focus RS
American manufacturers couldn’t just sit around while European imports dominated the hot hatch market, or at least the engineers over at Ford didn’t think so. With the Ford Focus RS, America has an answer – and a strong one, at that. The Focus RS is intended to compete directly with Volkswagen’s Golf R, and in the numbers game it easily wins out. A turbocharged, 2.3-liter inline four engine borrowed from the Ford Mustang EcoBoost creates 350 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. A six speed manual transmission is standard, as is all wheel drive with a rear biasing center differential and a unique setting that allows for easier drifting.
Aggressive aerodynamics, burbly exhaust, and big wheels set the Focus RS apart from its lower-spec ST and base models. The Focus RS can sprint to 60 miles per hour in only 4.6 seconds but he curves and corners are where it really shines, reaching up to 1.04 g on the skid pad. And with a price tag right above $40,000, a Focus RS represents one of the cheapest entrants into the world of American sports cars, but is one that would be equally at home on the track, powering along the Autobahn, or packed with ski gear and headed up to the Alps.
Amazing German Sports Car: BMW M5
The second M car that BMW ever produced was the E28 M5, a limited run of 2,241 sports sedans which debuted in 1985. Every M5 generation since then has managed to remain at the forefront of design and engineering over the years, and today’s F90 M5 is no different. The F90 is the first M5 to incorporate all wheel drive, almost a necessity due to its monster twin-turbocharged V8, which 591 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque – and those specs are thought to be underrepresented by BMW.
Even with the addition of all wheel drive, the F90 M5 weighs less than its predecessor, allowing the 4,090 pound sedan to sprint to 60 miles per hour in only 3.3 seconds when equipped with the Competition Package. A top speed of 190 miles per hour is possible with the M Driver’s package, an impressive stat for a car that can comfortably seat four adults. Of course, the intersection of comfort and performance is what the M5 has historically attempted to redefine, leading or at the very least keeping up with the rest of the amazing offerings constantly being cranked out by the impressive force that is German automotive manufacturing.
Incredible American Performance Car: Cadillac CTS-V
America’s reigning king of the luxury sports sedan is the Cadillac CTS-V, a full-sized four door with distinctive styling and a 640 horsepower engine under the hood. The CTS-V is an $80,000 American cruise missile, with 630 lb-ft of torque delivered to the rear wheels, ready to launch at any moment. Meanwhile, the interior is roomy and comfortable, with amenities like Recaro seats alongside suede steering wheel and shifter boot details – a data logging system shared with the Corvette is even offered. Though earlier models were even offered with a stick shift and in station wagon form, the current CTS-V uses an eight speed automatic transmission.
Top speed for the CTS-V is 200 miles per hour, while a suspension featuring magnetorheological dampers keeps the ride sufficiently smooth. Discussing the automatic transmission, Car and Drive summed up the CTS-V with high praise, “A manual is not offered, but you won’t care when this brute hits 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and 100 mph just 4.3 seconds later…This is a supersedan in every sense.” A sticker MSRP of $87,490 means the CTS-V occupies a price point well below German sports sedans that would be considered its competitors, as well.
Amazing German Sports Car: Audi R8
Many automotive and film enthusiasts alike will recognize the Audi R8 as the car Robert Downey Jr drives in the Iron Man films and its Avengers franchise followups. But the futuristic coupe isn’t just for the big screen, it’s a capable performer in its own right, as well. Developed over a period of more than four years, the R8 shares many of its features with the Lamborghini Gallardo and Huracan. An enormous 5.2-liter V10 is mid-mounted in the aluminum space frame monocoque, and is paired to Audi’s legendary Quattro all wheel drive system.
Aggressive yet simple styling and a luxurious, tactile interior helps distinguish the R8 from its other Volkswagen AG stablemates and quasi-competitors, where it finds a niche at the highest end of sports cars but not quite in the supercar class. Still, that V10 produces 525 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque, good for a sub-four second sprint to 60 miles per hour. (Sure, a V8 option did come out of the factory, but seems silly given the bigger, more powerful V10.) Audi also recently released a rear wheel drive only variant, reducing weight and allowing for a car that can really be flogged through the curves and canyons.
Incredible American Performance Car: Hennessey Venom F5
Hennessey Performance entered the world of extreme auto tuning with its modified Dodge Viper packages, but made a big step with the unveiling of the Venom GT in 2010. Based strongly on the Lotus Elise and Exige, the Venom GT essentially stretched the Lotus enough to cram a twin-turbo V8 behind the driver’s seat, and the result was a car that managed to set acceleration records and also reached a speed of 270.49 miles per hour. That would have been enough to set a world record, but Hennessey didn’t build enough Venom GT examples for it to qualify as a production car.
Hennessey newest Venom, the F5, is a ground-up design, purpose-built to break every speed record on Earth. And with their insane upgrade packages available to modify a wide range of production cars, Hennessey seems well placed to achieve their goals. The Venom F5 will feature a twin-turbocharged, 7.4-liter V8 producing 1,600 horsepower, in a lightweight package weighing in at under 3,000 pounds – with active aerodynamics to keep it cemented to the tarmac, as well as a low 0.33 coefficient of drag. Hennessey’s goal is to become the first company with a production car to reach 300 miles per hour.
Amazing German Sports Car: Audi TT RS
The Audi TT may not immediately pop into most people’s mind when prompted to think of incredible German sports cars thanks to its small (some might say cute) design, but in RS trim, the TT is a giant killer. Audi bumped up the engine in the TT RS from a turbocharged four cylinder to a turbo-five, a nod to the original Audi Ur-Quattro rally cars. The 2.5-liter I5 creates 400 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque (available as low as 1,700 RPM). All that grunt is put to the ground through a seven speed dual-clutch automatic transmission paired to Quattro all wheel drive, allowing for a 3.4 second 0-60 time and a top speed of 174 miles per hour.
The TT RS’s quintessentially Audi engine makes it a respectable competitor to even its higher-end stablemate, the R8, though at a base price of $65,895 the entry cost for borderline supercar performance is much lower. The TT line has always pushed the limits of technology and design since its first introduction in 1995, and the newest TT RS is no exception, with climate controls integrated into air vents while infotainment and navigation are displayed in the digital gauge cluster.
Incredible American Performance Car: Ford GT
The original Ford GT40 is probably the most significant car in the history of American racing. When Carroll Shelby and Ford teamed up for a second time (after the Cobra) to beat Enzo Ferrari and his racing team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world was put on notice that American sports cars were a force to be reckoned with. Today’s Ford GT is the second modern incarnation, but is easily the fastest, most advanced, and meanest looking of the group. The original GT40 received its name because it was 40 inches tall, but the new GT looks even lower and sleeker. A mid-mounted, twin-turbocharged V6 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine cranks 647 horsepower and 550 lb-ft of torque through a seven speed dual-clutch transmission.
A 0-60 run takes only 2.8 seconds, but that’s just the beginning for the Ford GT, which passes 100 miles per hour in only 6 seconds, and has a top speed of 216 miles per hour. Handling was the priority for the GT’s development, leading a unique design where the steering wheel and pedals are movable rather than the driver’s seat. The result is a car with a chassis so well balanced it can easily compete with today’s European supercars.
Amazing German Sports Car: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Much like BMW’s M cars, whenever Mercedes-Benz adds an AMG badge to their lineup, good things happen. In the case of the SLS AMG, the car is a modern take on one of automotive history’s most legendary coupes, the 300 SL. Also known as the Gullwing, the 300 SL is at or near the top of the heap for beautiful historical cars that performed just as well as they looked, and set Mercedes-Benz up for a long tradition of powerful, luxurious sports cars in the decades to follow.
Where the original Gullwing boasted an impressive for its time 215 horsepower created by its 3.0-liter straight six engine, the SLS AMG featured the most powerful naturally aspirated production engine ever made. The engine itself was designed and built entirely by AMG, while the rest of the car was mostly hand-built and crafted mainly out of aluminum. Light materials kept weight to around 3,500 pounds, so that the 563 horses cranked out by the 6.2-liter V8 under its long hood could accelerate the car to 60 miles per hour in only 3.7 seconds. Handling stats were equally as impressive, with the SLS AMG achieving 0.99 g on the skid pad.
Incredible American Performance Car: Saleen S7 Twin Turbo
While America had been producing sports cars for decades, the first USA-bred supercar was arguably the Saleen S7. Designed and developed by Steve Saleen, who made a name for himself as both a race car driving and as a tuner of the Mustang, the S7 represented an attempt to create a race car and supercar simultaneously. The result was a mid-engined, 7.0-liter V8 supercar which debuted in 2000, with a series of upgrades eventually leading to the S7 Twin Turbo, which added two Garrett turbochargers to up power output to 750 horsepower and 700 lb-ft of torque.
The Saleen S7 took on other supercar manufacturers at their own game, with a luxurious interior to go with all its power, its long and low profile, and butterfly doors. A competition package was offered that changed suspension tuning, added diffusers to the front and rear, and upped power to over 1,000 horsepower. With a curb weight under 3,000 pounds thanks aluminum honeycomb construction, the S7 proved successful in competition, as well. The closest competitor to an S7 is probably Volkswagen AG’s subsidiary product, the Bugatti Veyron, which costs around double the price of an S7 – at least $1.6 million.
Amazing German Sports Car: Mercedes-AMG GT S
Mercedes-Benz and AMG teamed up for another impressive coupe, following on the success of the SLS AMG with the GT Coupe. Available in a variety of specifications, the GT Coupe sacrificed the coolness of gullwing doors for regular hinges, but otherwise is a clear successor to both the SLR and SLS models. The GT is made of 93% aluminum, keeping weight around 3,500 despite the use of an AMG-built, twin-turbocharged V8 created 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, available at a low 1,750 RPM. (In GT R spec, those numbers bump up to 577 and 520, respectively.) An electronically controlled limited slip differential, adaptive suspension, and an exhaust system with active baffling allow for the GT S’s power to route to the ground efficiently enough to send it to 60 miles per hour in only 3.0 seconds.
Active aerodynamics adjust for drag and cooling optimization at high speeds, and the sleek coupe can reach a top speed of 193 miles per hour. All that style and speed comes at a cost, though, well north of $100,000. Though in the grand scheme of German sports cars, the GT actually sits in the middle of the pack – and actually much lower than Mercedes-Benz’s own S-Class sedans when in AMG spec.
Incredible American Performance Car: SSC Ultimate Aero TT
American enthusiasts will have to be forgiven for making the common mistake of thinking that the SSC Ultimate Aero is the successor to Carroll Shelby’s long line of automotive masterpieces. (The SSC no long stands for Shelby Super Cars.) Built from 2006 to 2013, the SSC Ultimate Aero took over where the Saleen S7 left off, challenging the likes of Bugatti and Koenigsegg for supremacy as the world’s fastest car. In highest spec, the SSC Ultimate Aero TT featured a twin-turbocharged V8 sourced from a Corvette racer car, producing 1,287 horsepower and 1,112 lb-ft of torque. The Ultimate Aero TT held the title of world’s fastest production car from 2007 until 2010 with a speed of 256.18 miles per hour.
Butterfly doors, carbon fiber construction, and even air conditioning and custom-fitted luggage made the Ultimate Aero a contender in the luxury arena, as well, while a production run of only 24 cars makes it a highly sought-after collectible. Rear wheel drive differentiates the Ultimate Aero from the Veyron and other hypercars, however, meaning that initial acceleration isn’t quite as impressive, since a 0-60 sprint takes a (relatively) slow 2.78 seconds. SSC helps to keep America hopeful to reclaim the world speed title with its Tuatara successor, currently in development. Sources: caranddriver.com, topspeed.com, and hennesseyperformance.com