10. Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster — $495,000
One of the fastest convertibles to date, the SLR McLaren Roadster hits 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and can reach speeds up to 208 mph — and Mercedes says it’s possible for the driver and passenger to have a conversation with the top down at up to 120 mph. This car combines Mercedes-Benz style and luxury with McLaren Formula One technology; the two companies teamed up from 2003 to 2009 to build this fire-breathing beast. The entire interior is covered in leather, and the seats are custom upholstered. The doors are part scissor door, part gull-wing (think DeLorean). Surprising features include an automatic transmission and a body that’s 100 percent carbon fiber. Safety measures come by way of two rollover bars and steel-reinforced A-pillars.
9. Saleen S7 — $580,000
A leather-covered steering wheel and custom-fitted driver’s seat are just a couple of the luxury details that set the Saleen S7 apart from the fray, along with a set of custom luggage that fits in the car’s front and rear trunks (the engine is in the middle).The California-made Saleen’s aerodynamic design is another distinguishing feature: Scoops, spoilers and other features create a so-called split-channel airflow throughout the car. Company founder Steve Saleen says the car creates so much downforce that it could drive upside down at high speeds. Instead of a rearview mirror, you have a rear-mounted camera and a monitor on the dash, and the driver’s seat is set four inches in from the driver’s door — making for a cozy ride with your passenger.
8. Ferrari Enzo — $653,000
Named after the Prancing Horse’s legendary founder, the Ferrari Enzo was built from 2002 to 2004 using Formula One technology. All 349 of the Enzos made were sold before production even began — to customers who already owned Ferraris. Fifty-one more were built later; one of which made an appearance in the movie "Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle" (actress Demi Moore was behind the wheel). The interior of the Enzo almost looks half-finished, with leather upholstery covering only the front of the carbon-fiber seats and rubber mats resting on the bare carbon-fiber floor. The effect is as if you’re peering into an engineering lab. Because it’s no longer in production, the Enzo reportedly fetches around $1 million at auction or when sold privately.
7. SSC Ultimate Aero — $740,000
SSC Ultimate Aero
The Guinness World Records’ holder for fastest street-legal car, the Ultimate Aero can punch it from zero to 60 mph in just 2.78 seconds. To keep tabs on the amount of power you’re using (the car’s engine develops 1,183 ponies, more than any other car on the road), there’s a horsepower gauge on the dash. With this car, you’re paying for the engineering and what’s under the hood. The Ultimate Aero isn’t a plush ride. It doesn’t have power steering, and its luxury details really only include Recaro leather seats, a sweet sound system and a navigation system. With this car, you’re paying for the engineering and what’s under the hood. The super-powerful engine simply roars as this this amazing machine is put through its paces on the track or a curvy backroad.
6. Leblanc Mirabeau — $792,000
Designed to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans (the world’s oldest sports car endurance race), the Leblanc Mirabeau is a race car that happens to be street legal. It can hit speeds upward of 220 mph on the track, thanks to its 700-horsepower engine and the fact that it’s super light, with a carbon fiber body and a very spare interior. Swiss manufacturer Wysstec GmbH is known for customizing its cars — of the Leblanc Caroline, the company Web site says: "Almost every customer demand can be fulfilled. Even the installation of a modern Formula One engine is possible." Chances are most street customers aren’t swapping out the Mirabeau’s engine, which comes courtesy of Swedish manufacturer Koenigsegg, maker of [spoiler alert!] the most expensive car in the world.
5. Aston Martin One-77 — $1.4 million
Aston Martin One-77
To Aston Martin, aesthetics are as important in the design of its newest creation as are function and performance. To that end, the One-77 (so named because only 77 of these cars will be made) has what’s called a monocoque design, which means the body of the car is crafted out of one big piece of carbon fiber — common in race cars, but rare in street cars. It has a level of customization light years beyond color preference and transmission type: The suspension isn’t fine-tuned until the car is delivered to its owner. As Car and Driver magazine put it, "The One-77 is what happens when an automaker builds a car without ever saying ‘no’ to its engineers."
4. Lamborghini Reventon — $1,454,400
In keeping with the Lamborghini tradition of naming car models after fighting bulls comes the Reventon, named for a bull that killed a famous Spanish bullfighter back in the 1940s. But this Raging Bull was actually inspired by the world’s fastest airplanes, and its interior resembles a fighter-jet cockpit, with three display monitors including a G-force meter with a 3-dimensional grid. Only 20 cars were scheduled for production, each with its number stamped between the driver and passenger seats. The Reventon goes from zero to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds, making it one of the fastest street cars on the planet — and prompting Lamborghini to put it head-to-head in a race against an Italian fighter plane. The Lambo gave the plane a run for its money.
3. Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadster — $1,882,920
Pagani Zonda Cinque
Five-time world champion Formula One driver Juan Manuel Fangio was an early Pagani Zonda engineer, and the Zonda F is named for him. Earlier versions of the Zonda have been on international roadways since 1999, but the car became street legal in the U.S. only in 2009. Quilted leather seats and floor mats, a glove compartment that’s a hanging leather case, and a detachable carbon fiber roof are just a few of the perks to the Zonda Cinque Roadster — of which only five will be produced. Company founder Horacio Pagani worked in Lamborghini’s composites department and helped redesign the Countach and the Diablo before going on to found his own company in Italy in 1992. The Zonda comes with a Pagani sound system — the carmaker also sells high-end home stereos.
2. Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport — $2,027,760
Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport
Although it made its debut in 2006, this car has roots dating back to 1930s racing. Named after French driver Pierre Veyron, winner of the 1939 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Veyron is one of the fastest cars on the road, having been clocked at 253 mph; its 1,001-horsepower engine makes it among the most powerful. Created by Bugatti, the French carmaker founded in 1909 by early grand prix racer Ettore Bugatti, the Veyron has jumbo tires, all-wheel drive and a spacious interior with plush leather seats. More than 50 colors are available. The attention to detail is over the top: The GPS system can be displayed in the car’s rearview mirror.
1. Koenigsegg CCXR — $2,173,950
The CCXR hits zero to 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds and tops out at 250 mph, and the technology that goes into creating such a driving specimen is reflected in the price tag. Carbon ceramic brakes, Formula One-style traction control and a carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb chassis all come standard on this car, which is hand built by a team of 45 Swedes. Other bells and whistles include a removable hardtop with a glass roof that can be stored under the front hood, leather carpets and a hydraulic lifting system. As a bonus, the CCXR is environmentally friendly; it burns either gasoline or ethanol. It also has so-called dihedral synchro-helix actuation doors, which flip up and forward when opened.