American horsepower is on display for the world to see. Several automakers are producing cars with record-breaking engine performance.
Just like the stock market, the never-ending American horsepower war has had its ups and downs over the years, but records keep getting broken and the outlook remains bullish.
2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon: 808 hp
The resurrected Demon is so extreme that one leading automotive publication has called for it to be banned (and was promptly shouted down by the muscle car’s fans.) The beast comes with drag radials, a transmission brake, just one seat and can pop a wheelie. Its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 makes 808 hp on pump gas, and if somehow you don’t think that’s enough, Dodge can make it compatible with 100 octane race gas that bumps it up to 840 hp.
2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock: 807 hp
Dodge only built 3,300 Demons and promised owners it wouldn’t make any more. It kept that promise, but only just. The 2020 Challenger SRT Super Stock checks in with 807 hp from its Hellcat V8. It doesn’t have a transmission brake and can’t pop a wheelie, but it will cover a quarter-mile in 10.5 seconds and Dodge will build as many as the market wants.
2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye: 797 hp
Dodge says the Hellcat Redeye is possessed by the Demon. We don’t know about that, but its 797 hp engine does scream like a banshee.
2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: 760 hp
The Shelby GT500 has always been a drag racing special, but Ford promises this upcoming edition will be able to take turns as well as go in a straight line.
2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1: 755 hp
The 2019 ZR1 is the most powerful front-engine Corvette in history and will likely be for eternity, because the Corvette is being replaced by an all-new mid-engine version in 2020.
2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat 717 hp
To celebrate its fourth anniversary, the standard Challenger SRT Hellcat got a 10 hp boost. It really didn’t need it.
2015 Dodge Challenger/Charger SRT Hellcat: 707 hp
Dodge’s original Hellcat bros seem tame compared to their successors, but are still serious forces to be reckoned with. If you can’t decide between the two, here’s something to keep in mind: while the Challenger can hit 199 mph, the Charger’s slightly more aerodynamic body is good for 204 mph.
2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk: 707 hp
The Trackhawk is the most powerful SUV in the world, but while it has the same engine and horsepower as the Hellcats, it loses the tiebreaker with a measly 645 lb-ft of torque compared to their 650 lb-ft rating. Its ace in the hole is an all-wheel drive system that won’t send any of it up in tire smoke. If you like burnouts, that may not be a good thing.
2014 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: 662 hp
When it was new, the last Shelby GT500 was the most powerful American car ever, but it looks like a 98-pound weakling today. Still, there’s no denying the potency of its 5.8-liter supercharged V8. And who’s going to complain about a Mustang that can go 202 mph?
2018 Chevrolet Corvette Z06/Camaro ZL1: 650 hp
Two high performance cars from the same company with 6.2-liter supercharged V8s? Hmmm, sounds familar. But while the power outputs of these two are identical, their engines are a little different. The Corvette gets a dry sump oiling system that’s better for the track, while the ZL1 uses a tried and true wet sump design. The ‘Vette also beats the Camaro on manual transmission gear count 7 to 6. But the ZL1 automatic comes back strong with an all-new 10-speed automatic, while the one in the Z06 makes do with just eight.
2017 Ford GT: 647 hp
What a world we live in where a Mustang is more powerful than a $450,000 supercar, but the carbon fiber GT has a 216 mph top speed to go with it, so it’s got nothing to be ashamed of.
2017 Dodge Viper: 645 hp
The Viper’s 8.4-liter V10 was the largest engine in any car of its day.
2016 Cadillac CTS-V: 640 hp
Need to get somewhere fast but want to keep it classy? The CTS-V borrows the engine from the ZL1, but pays it a 10 hp vig for the privilege. Its 200 mph top speed is 2 mph faster than the Camaro’s, however, so what do you think about that, tough guy?
2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1: 638
The first 21st Century ZR1 was the first American car with more than 600 hp, but obviously not the last. Its 205 mph top speed holds up pretty well today, but don’t think you’ve seen the last of it. Chevy’s been spotted working on what looks like a new ZR1, and you can bet it won’t be less powerful than this one.
Honorable mention: 2017 Tesla Model S/X P100D
When Tesla first unleashed the “D” it said it had 691 hp. Then it added a Ludicrous model with a claimed 762 hp. The problem was that it was just adding the horsepower ratings of the electric motors used at each axle, and it doesn’t work exactly like that. The solution? Now it doesn’t say how powerful the cars are, just how quick. If nothing else, with a 0 to 60 mph time of less than 2.5 seconds for the Model S, it’s probably safe to say these are the most powerful American electric cars ever.
At least for now.