Prior to the onset of puberty, and for some, even after puberty ignites a raging in a different set of hormones, these cars adorn the walls of many an automotive crazed adolescent. In other words, the top 10 exotic cars are the stuff of which dreams are made. While for many they exist in imagination, if you find yourself face to face with one, disappointment is somewhere way on the other side of the room. And, if you ever get to drive one? Well, let’s just say life is better with something this wonderful to look forward to.
To make this list, each car must be the top performance model manufactured by a series production builder and certified for operation on the roads of the United States. In other words, these are all “mainstream mass market” goods. Well, as mainstream mass market as you can get for these limited production automobiles. Further, each must be a 2016 or 2017 model boasting accomplishment far beyond that of the average high performance car.
2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus — $191,150
In the world of exotic cars, we expect particular demands be placed upon us in exchange for the experience. When Audi brought the all-wheel drive R8 along, all of those myths were dispelled. Driving it feels like driving any other car. In fact, Audi’s R8 is remarkable in just how unremarkable it feels — until you find someplace to turn it loose and let it fly. Even then, the accurate steering and amazing grip of the all-wheel drive mid-engine exotic car turn what would be extraordinary feats in most cars into routine. Power comes from a 610-horsepower, 5.2-liter V10 engine.
2016 BMW i8 — $140,700
Hybrid powertrains have invaded the exotic space in wholesale fashion. Some of the biggest names in the automotive universe have turned to petro-electric power to motivate their ultra high performance offerings. Thus, BMW’s i8, while not exactly an exotic sports car, deserves a mention here. Power for the all-wheel drive BMW comes from a 1.5-liter inline 3-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack. Total system output is 357 horsepower and 420 ft-lbs of torque. Get this though, the battery pack can be completely recharged in three hours from a standard 120v AC outlet. (2016 model pictured.)
2017 Bugatti Chiron — $2.5 million
Bugatti employs a business model backed basically by only one car. Granted, it’s one helluva car, but currently, Bugatti is all about Chiron and nothing else really. As the successor to the Veyron Super Sport, the Chiron is one of the fastest production automobiles in the world, with a top speed limited to 261 miles per hour for safety reasons, even though the 1479-horsepower 8.0-liter quad-turbocharged W12 engine can almost certainly go faster. Production is limited to just 500 examples. (2016 model pictured.)
2017 Bentley Continental GT Speed — $240,300
If you’ve got the gall to put Speed in the name of your vehicle, it has to be exceptionally fast — right? Yes, the Bentley Continental GT Speed is just exactly one very fast automobile. However, unlike the other cars on this list, the Bentley will seat four comfortably in palatial luxury, while screaming down the highway at speeds exceeding 200 miles per hour. This is the car for when you have three guests, but want to savor the drive. The 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged 12-cylinder fitted to the all-wheel drive Bentley is good for 633 horsepower and 622 ft-lbs of torque.
2017 Dodge Viper — $87,895
Some will be surprised to see Viper on this list, while others will be elated. Here are the facts: limited production, flamboyant appearance, 0-60 in the low 3s, 11-second quarters, and 206 mph top speed, all thanks to a massively huge (if not exactly sophisticated) 8.4-liter V10 engine producing 645 horsepower and 600 ft-lbs of torque. Granted, the Viper is the least expensive car on this list, starting at $87,895, but from a performance standpoint it can also hold its own with pretty much everything else here. Yeah, Dodge Viper is old school — and we just happen to like that.
2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Convertible — Price not yet announced
Production of the original LaFerrari was limited to 499 examples, and the 2017 convertible version serves as its replacement of sorts. The LaFerrari Convertible carries over the previous car’s drivetrain, combining the most powerful naturally aspirated engine Ferrari has ever put in a road car (788-horsepower, 6.3-liter V12), with an electric motor (producing 147 horsepower) for a total system output of 949 horsepower. The kicker? Even through Ferrari hasn’t yet announced the price of the LaFerrari Convertible, the full production run has already been sold to previous Ferrari customers. As a point of reference, the coupe version of the LaFerrari cost $1.4 million. (LaFerrari coupe pictured.)
2017 Koenigsegg Agera RS — Price not known, but it doesn’t matter
Straight outta Sweden comes one of the most formidable exotic cars the world has ever known. At the Geneva Motor Show in 2015, Koenigsegg showed its 1160-horsepower Agera RS. The Agera R’s twin-turbocharged V8 engine displaces 5.0 liters. With a 0 to 60 of just over 2 seconds, the Koenigsegg is said to beat its predecessor’s record of a top speed of 273 miles per hour; whatever the Agera RS can hit, it’ll be the fastest car in the world. The production run of 25 vehicles has already sold out.
2017 Lamborghini Centenario — $1.9 million
An extremely limited production car, in a group of already limited production cars, Lamborghini’s outrageous Centenario (of which only 40 will be built) is a 759-horsepower, 6.5-liter V12-powered, carbon fiber masterpiece. Easily representing the ragged edge of exotic car development — and by ragged edge, we don’t mean it’s crappy by any means — in this compilation of exotic cars, the Centenario is simply the most exotic car here. Lamborghini hand selects the customers, and like several other extremely limited vehicles on this list, those lucky individuals have already been notified.
2016 McLaren 650S — $273,600
McLaren made its bones racing, and indeed, its Formula 1 team is one of the most formidable in the sport. McLaren actually offers three exotic sports cars — the 903-horsepower P1 Hybrid, the world’s first hybrid mid-engine sports car, all 375 of which are already sold; the 616-horsepower, 3.8-liter twin turbocharged 12C with 443 ft-lbs of torque, and the 641-horsepower 650S with 500 ft-lbs of torque, also generated from the company’s twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V8. Thinly-disguised racing cars for the street, McLaren automobiles are very rarely seen due to their low production numbers and high pricing, which starts north of $200,000. (2015 model pictured.)
2017 Mercedes-AMG GT R — about $200,000
It’s been a really good run, but it’s time to say auf wiedersehen to the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG — fortunately, the GT R is taking its place, and is quite possibly the most exciting Mercedes-Benz exotic car of the modern age. Garnering 585 horsepower from its twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, the GR T vividly demonstrates the capabilities of the people at Mercedes-Benz as well as AMG.
2017 Porsche 911 GT3 RS — $175,900
There are so many versions of the Porsche 911, from fairly basic to fairly mind-blowing, that a few more letters tacked on to the end of the model name need some explaining. The 911 GT3 RS, the most track-ready version of all, makes 500 horsepower and 339 ft-lbs of torque from its 4.0-liter 6-cylinder engine. The gasoline engine feeds the rear wheels through a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, helping to accomplish the 0-60 sprint in 3.1 seconds.