Top 10 fastest naturally aspirated cars ever made
Over the years, the addition of various new inventions have aided cars, making them faster, safer and more reliable. Automakers find new ways to make their products operationally cheaper to run which led to the introduction of turbocharging. This tech has led smaller engines to make power as much as nat-asp engines twice in size, while being more fuel efficient. When it comes to supercars though, turbocharging provides the easy power gain solution and an endless tuning potential needed to make them more powerful and faster to compete against the best rivals. Unlike a high-output naturally aspirated engine, which comparatively, is larger and heavier. The one thing turbocharging can't replicate though, is the character of an N/A engine. While turbocharged engines do provide swooshing whistling noises and a punch of power, they lack the instant response and the higher redline symphony which makes a naturally aspirated engine aurally and arguably viscerally more exciting.
10. Porsche Carrera GT: 330kmph
Regular NFS: Hot Pursuit 2 players know how mad the Carrera GT sounds at full whack. All the credit goes to the 604bhp 5.7-litre naturally aspirated V10 originally designed to be fitted in Porsche's new for 1999 Le Mans Prototype car. The racer got cancelled, but rather than throwing its heart away, the folks from Stuttgart put it in the Carrera GT concept and showcased it at the 2000 Paris motor show, without any plans of mass producing the car however. But, as is with any race car-engined supercar, it was an instant hit and public demands made sure to push Porsche for a road-going counterpart development. Over the years, the Carrera GT has become one of the most iconic and sought after Porsche models in the realm of exotic car idolisation and ownership, because of what it is and what it offers. A manual transmission coupled to a high revving N/A engine with handling to die for. The V10 that was supposed to power a racecar down the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans pushes the Carrera GT to a top speed of 330kmph.
9. Audi R8 V10 Performance Quattro: 331kmph
The Audi R8 was launched to go against the Porsche 911. Like its arch rival, it aimed to be a supercar which was competitive on the race track whilst being a comfortable daily driver. Upon its arrival in 2006 the Audi R8 was powered by a 4.2-litre nat-asp V8 which made 408bhp and gave it a top speed of 299kmph. Respectable, but not enough to satisfy the needs of performance hungry Germans. So a couple of years into its life cycle, Audi gave the R8 the 5.2-litre V10 engine from the Lamborghini Gallardo. This engine developed 510bhp and provided the folks from Ingolstadt all the schnell they desired with a top speed of 316kmph and started the R8 V10 saga. The newest, most powerful Audi R8 is the V10 Performance Quattro model which retains the 5.2-litre V10 but now boasts 611bhp at 8100rpm, a top whack of 331kmph and a 0-100 time of just 3.1 seconds. The Audi R8 has evolved from a sports car to a supercar with hypercar levels of acceleration, but this is the last hurrah for it, as Audi has confirmed the R8 will end production in 2023 and make way for new EVs.
8. Ferrari 812 Competizione: 340kmph
No list of automotive bests is complete without a Ferrari and this one is no different. The folks from Maranello have given us sleepless nights with their howling mad naturally aspirated engines and one in particular, the V12. The 812 Superfast is Maranello's current flagship GT and just a few days ago its most hardcore variant was revealed to the public. The Ferrari 812 Competizione, for when a Superfast isn't super or fast enough. The masterpiece that is the 6.5-litre N/A V12 housed in this super GT makes 819bhp at 9250 rpm and 692Nm torque at 7000rpm and powers it all the way to a top whack of 340kmph. With that power figure, the 812 Competizione has also earned itself the title of being the world's most powerful naturally aspirated car on sale currently.
7. Lamborghini Murcielago SV: 342kmph
The Murcielago SV was the final iteration of the first Lamborghini developed under the ownership of German parent company Audi. First-gen Murcielagos were powered by a 6.2-litre nat-asp 'Bizzarrini' V12 that traces its roots back to the company's beginnings in the 1960s. Every V12 Lamborghini before this was powered by this engine in different tunes of displacement. The second-gen Murcielago LP 640 came housed with a bigger 6.5-litre V12 and the Murcielago SV dialled it up to 11. For the final time of its life cycle it produced 661bhp at 8000rpm and 660Nm torque at 6500rpm and gave the Murcielago SV a top speed of 342kmph if you opted for the optional low drag rear spoiler. The Murcielago was replaced by the Aventador and with it also went the legendary Bizzarrini V12.
6. Pagani Zonda F Clubsport: 345kmph
Introduced in 1999, the Zonda is Pagani's first car. Horacio Pagani and Juan Manuel Fangio, the five-time F1 world champion, dreamt of making a hypercar that was superior on all levels. Fangio was impressed by Horacio's brilliance and his desire to make a hypercar, which was not only mechanically superior but also exquisitely detailed. After years of hard work, the concept came to be true by the end of the 20th century, but sadly Fangio had passed away four years prior. The 2005 Pagani Zonda F is a direct tribute to Juan on his tenth death anniversary. The F, as you've probably guessed, stood for Fangio. The Zonda F Clubsport is powered by a huge 7.3-litre naturally aspirated Mercedes-AMG sourced V12 engine that produces 631bhp at 6200rpm and a colossal 780Nm torque that pushes this 1230kg car to a top speed of 345kmph. It's safe to say that Juan would've been proud and why wouldn't he be, just look at it.
5. Lamborghini Aventador SVJ: 350kmph
You probably are lying if you say that you don't desire and dream about the Lamborghini Aventador. A car that is extreme on all standards. Firstly the styling, the Aventador doesn't have a single bad angle. The drama that it offers in the looks department is hard to match and secondly the powertrain, the 6.5-litre nat-asp new-gen V12 is unworldly with its 700bhp+ output and its exciting high-pitched soundtrack. The Aventador SVJ is a more extreme version of an already extreme car, solely developed to break lap records and one in particular, the record at the Nurburgring Nordschleife. Power figures of the SVJ stand at a barbaric 759bhp at 8500rpm and 720Nm torque at 6750rpm. The Aventador SVJ did break the Nurburgring Nordschleife production car lap record with a time of 06:44:97(mm:ss:ms).
Despite all the aero, the Aventador SVJ still manages a top speed of 350kmph. Impressive eh? The Aventador will soon be replaced in 2022, after a production run of 10 years.
4. Ferrari Enzo: 350kmph
Ferrari had to challenge and exceed all the technological feats to name a car after its founder. The brand tackled this challenge head-on and delivered. The Enzo was developed in 2002 using Formula One technology, such as a carbon-fibre body, F1-style automated-shift manual transmission and carbon-ceramic composite disc brakes. And of course it had to have il Commendatore's favourite type of engine, a big nat-asp high revving V12. The Enzo was powered by a 6-litre V12 that developed 650bhp at 7800rpm and boasted a top speed of 350kmph. 399 units of the Enzo have been made and its controversial styling has aged rather well.
3. Aston Martin One-77: 354kmph
The Aston Martin One-77 was made to be the fastest and most exclusive car to be conceptualised at the brand’s Gaydon headquarters. This was at a time when the thought of using a turbocharged engine to power an Aston Martin was considered to be haram. So Aston went the good old way and gave the One-77 a big engine, a 7.3-litre N/A V12 to be exact. This behemoth produced a total output of 739bhp at 7500rpm and 749Nm torque at 5000rpm, which made sure a top speed of 354kmph was achievable. A total of only 77 units were made. Don't get fooled by its beautiful looks which hint at laid back credentials though, for it packed an equally impressive carbon monocoque chassis and inboard suspension underneath.
2. Lamborghini Veneno: 355kmph
Outrageous is the only word that comes to mind upon looking at the Lamborghini Veneno. It looks like a spaceship built for the roads, just look at it! It is the Lamborghini of Lamborghinis. Based on the Aventador, the Veneno came out in 2013 in both coupe and roadster guise. Limited to just six units, three in either form, chances are that you'll probably see the Hailey's comet before you see a Veneno. It retains the 6.5-litre V12 from the Aventador, but Lamborghini just couldn't stop itself from giving it that little extra power, totalling to a healthy 739bhp @ 8400rpm. The Veneno is a compilation of forged carbon composite on the inside and out and little does everyone know, it is the first street Lamborghini to use the brand's famed ALA (Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva) active aerodynamics system. And just like the Aventador SVJ, despite all that aero it still is capable of a top speed of 355kmph.
1. McLaren F1: 391kmph
Ah, the McLaren F1. Arguably the greatest car ever made. Developed with just one thing in mind, to be the greatest drivers car of all time. The F1 is the brainchild of professor Gordon Murray who led McLaren's Formula One team in the late 80s. He presented the idea of creating a car with central driving position, a high capacity naturally aspirated V12 engine, an ultra light kerb weight and no driving aids to the top management at McLaren in 1988, whilst waiting at the Italian airport returning from the Italian GP. And hey, he was given the go card with a blank cheque. The McLaren F1 production car came out in 1992 with all the boxes ticked on Gordon's list, it uses a 6.1-litre N/A V12 developed by BMW which made 618bhp at 7400rpm and 650Nm of torque at 5600rpm. What's more fascinating is the motorsport and record breaking achievements it garnered even though it wasn't meant to do so. It won the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans against purpose-built prototype race cars outright and also broke other records. In 1998, it became the fastest production car the world had ever seen, achieving a top speed of 391kmph with its rev limiter raised to 8300rpm, driven by Andy Wallace at Volkswagen's Ehra-Lessien test facility.
As of 2021, the F1 remains the fastest naturally aspirated production car in the world as the cars that have surpassed it in terms of speed records have used forced induction engines and it is likely to remain so, as, with turbocharging, the sun has already gone down on the naturally aspirated chapter.