We've had an exciting time over the past 12 months in the world of exotic cars. It has all been about sheer power, which does not necessarily make for more exciting driving, nor is more power always more fun.
What stirred it all up was the fact that Bugatti managed to get its Veyron 16.4 exotic car into production. Then, they took it to one of the longest straights on a test track in the world and upped the record to 248 mph. If anyone wants to go faster, they will probably have to go to the Bonneville Salt Flats, which can be quite dodgy.
The record had been held by the Koenigsegg at 242 mph, which just beat the long-standing record held by the McLaren F1 supercar. Bugatti's efforts caused a few people out there to look for more power. Not surprising, really. For example, Saleen found it could screw some more power out of its supercharged Ford engine to get 750 bhp, and a speed of about 240 mph from its S7 exotic car. One or two others decided to go for 1,000 bhp, just so they could say their car would do, say, 245 mph – after all, no one could prove that it wouldn't go that fast! Actually, there are quite a few engines available from tuners that produce 800-1,000 bhp.
Pagani, which is concerned more with overall performance on the roads than out-and-out power produced a more sporty version of the Zonda. This Zonda F has suspension aimed more at the track and 602 bhp as standard. But you can have 650 bhp if you like! The Zonda F is also lighter than the Zonda, so the performance of this exotic car is extraordinary. It is a truly exotic car, a supercar with masses of power at any speed – it does not depend on a turbocharger waking up to get the power – and the handling to match.
More recently, Koenigsegg has produced the CCX. Powered by a twin-supercharged engine producing 806 bhp, this exotic car is more practical than the other Koenigseggs. Koenigsegg says it will do about 245 mph, and all this from an engine based on a 4.7 liter V-8. True, nearly all the parts are different, including the cylinder block and heads, but even so it just shows how much power can be got from a standard production engine, heavily modified, and with twin superchargers.
It has much bigger front and side air intakes to improve cooling, and both the front and rear bumpers meet US crash regs. On top of that it has more headroom than the CCR, and yet is just as fast – and expensive. But that is the way with exotic cars!
Meanwhile Ferrari went its own way and introduced the 599 GTB Fiorano, powered by a 6.0 liter engine able to drive it up to over 200 mph. And this car is a front-engined two-seater with luggage space. Of course, Ferrari has also made a limited edition model, the FXX, intended to help with Ferrari's development. The FXX has a similar V-12 to the 599 GTB Fiorano, but souped up to 850 bhp! Now that is currently the ultimate exotic car, although it is intended mainly for use on the race tracks.