When it comes to performance cars, the first thought that comes to mind revolves around Porsche, Ferrari or Lamborghini. Admittedly, they are excellent machines that all would have loved to have parked in the garage. The sad part is that many people forget that some amazingly fast and high performing cars are made in America. There have been so many throughout history that it would be difficult to cover them all in one list. So today’s list will detail some of the newest American performance cars to date, leaving the older versions for another day.
10/10 2007 Saleen S7 Twin Turbo
Front three-quarter shot of a silver Saleen S7
The mighty Saleen S7 Twin Turbo is a beast of a street machine. It was designed by engineers who helped Ford built NASCAR worthy cup cars. The Ford-designed engine can race over a quarter-mile track in just 11.4 seconds and reach 100 km/h from a standstill in 3.6 seconds. It has all the same quirks you would expect from a race car, but this one is street legal. Unlike other supercars on the road, the Saleen demands that the driver take full control. Leave no room for error and give the glory of victory to the person behind the wheel.
9/10 2010 Dodge Viper SRT
Shot of a 2010 white Dodge Viper with black stripes on the race strip
The naturally aspirated V-10 in the Dodge Viper SRT is an accelerating machine that can reach 100 km/h in 2.5 seconds and blast across the quarter-mile track in 11.5 seconds. The Viper is another road car that has its roots in racing, where it feels most at home. The engine and drivetrain leave the driver fully in control, meaning the person in the driver’s seat has a better idea of where they stand when the accelerator pedal is pressed to the ground. Even at high speeds, the beefy car can turn sideways with a flick of the accelerator pedal.
8/10 2020 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500
Orange Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 standing on a race track
The Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 is an ungraded version of the GT350, which gives the car more torque and power than the previous model. The GT500 is designed for performance, not just straight-line speed. While the car can sprint from 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds and run the quarter mile in 11 seconds, it can enter a corner at a comfortably high speed and go through the corner like on an oval racetrack. The driver has a significant amount of control over the car, but it comes with a large infotainment center and backup cameras.
7/10 2021 Hennessey Venom F5
Yellow 2019 Hennessey Venom F5 parked on a track.
The Hennessey Venom F5 is not just a supercar, but a hypercar. The 6.6-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 can make a staggering 1,817 horsepower and is designed to exceed the top speed of 300 mph. Estimated track times for this car suggest it can go from a standstill to 60 mph in under three seconds, and on the quarter-mile track it can set a time of about 10 seconds. The most unique aspect of the Venom is that the 6.6-litre twin-turbo “FURY” V-8 is handcrafted and machined for every car that comes off the production lines, and there are very few of them.
6/10 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
Front three-quarter shot of an orange 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
The Chevrolet Corvette ZR1’s leather-wrapped interior would make anyone think it was the cockpit of a high-end luxury car. The infotainment center and all the cameras and gadgets that come with the car would support that assumption. Once the engine is started and the pedal is slammed to the ground, all doubts about climbing into a supercar are forgotten. The supercharged 6.2-litre V-8 is a monster any driver can handle, especially when the electronic stability controls kick in to help. This car can hit 60 mph in three seconds and race the quarter-mile track in 10.8 seconds. Not bad for an American performance car.
5/10 2020 Ford GT GTE
Front three-quarter view of a 2022 Ford GT Holman Moody Heritage Edition
The Ford GT supercar is an innovative design that screams race car, but it’s more than agile and steerable on the daily commute. Ford went all out with the 2020 model, making way for the larger V-8 to a smaller 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 with twin-turbo technology. Despite having a smaller engine, this car can run a quarter of a mile in 10.8 seconds and reach 100 km/h from a standstill in just three seconds. Most of the controls are located on the steering wheel, allowing the driver to focus on the road ahead. This is necessary when driving at full speed because the car sprints along the straight path and steers through curves as if it were nothing.
4/10 2006 Dodge Charger Hellcat SRT
Front three-quarter shot of a red 2006 Dodge Charger SRT
The Dodge Charger Hellcat SRT is an American performance car that can easily be a daily driver. The 6.2-litre Hemi can deliver serious power when needed, and the traction control can be turned off at the push of a button. This muscle car disadvantage can run halfway through the 13th second quarter of a mile and go from 0 to 60 in five seconds. It combines old-world power with new technology, but like most other performance cars on the market, the advanced technology and plush interior have been left out of the design, leaving the vehicle under the driver’s control.
3/10 2018 Cadillac CTS-V
Shot of a 2018 Cadillac CTS-V Glacier Metallic Edition posing on a track
When discussing a Cadillac, one would expect some extreme measures to be taken when designing the interior. If you’re looking for some fancy gadgets without all the fluff, this car wouldn’t disappoint. It’s much less extravagant than some of the other models, but for good reason. This Cadillac CTS-V was meant to impress on the track. Borrowed from the Corvette, the 6.2-litre supercharged V8 can reach 100 km/h from a standstill in 3.8 seconds and blaze around the quarter-mile track in 12 seconds. This car is an all-out version of the luxury sedan, minus some frills in the interior, but added performance technology throughout.
2/10 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
White 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 posing in all its glory
At one time, the Chevy Camaro was one of the favorite cars to convert into a real muscle car. American muscle cars gained a reputation for being straightforward track monsters that could deliver some serious torque. The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 put that reputation to bed because the designers have gone to great lengths to create a car that combines power and performance. Under the hood is the familiar 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 that many other high-performance cars share, which can travel a quarter-mile time of 11.5 seconds and reach 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds. It is an everyday driver that can be taken on the track and become a beast to be reckoned with.
1/10 2020 Tesla Model S Plaid
Tesla has called the Tesla Model S Plaid the fastest accelerating car in the world. This is everything from an electric vehicle with an added third motor to the two already installed. This top-of-the-line car offers speeds from 0 to 60 in a minuscule 1.99 seconds and a quarter-mile sprint averaging 9.2 seconds. To top it off, the car has all the technological gadgets that you can expect from this car. It has an infotainment center that is so graphic that it is possible to game on it, just like sitting at home with a tablet or iPad.
Front three-quarter shot of a yellow 2016 Shelby Terlingua Mustang
American performance cars may not be the first thing that comes to mind when discussing top-end vehicles, but there are some great hypercars, supercars and total monsters that the best competitors have to offer. Cars have come a long way since the days of muscle cars. They will keep making improvements by leaps and bounds and bring the fun of driving a fast car without having to own a gas station to drive them.