The Nine Most Powerful American Cars You Can Buy Right Now
Looking for a high-power ode to American car making? Look no further.
If there's one thing the red, white, and blue-blooded buyers of American cars want, it's more power. Fortunately, automakers are more than happy to oblige, with some of the most powerful American cars in history on sale right now. We've got nine cars on our list of the most powerful American cars you can buy, and even the least powerful of the lot is still a heavy hitter, packing 650 horses. Which is the most powerful American car you can buy? Read on to find out.
Most Powerful American Cars: 2020 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, 650 Horsepower
Yep, this list starts at a cool 650 horses and 650 lb-ft of torque, courtesy of the 2020 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and its supercharged, 6.2-liter V-8. In his first drive review our own hot shoe, racing driver Andy Pilgrim, said of the ZL1, "I could not use all 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque from the supercharged LT4 V-8 for more than a few seconds without reaching jail-time speeds." That says it all, really. With a base price of $64,695 the Camaro ZL1 is a true horsepower bargain—and it's also the only car on this list available with a manual transmission.
Most Powerful American Cars: 2021 Dodge Charger/Challenger Hellcat Widebody, 717 Horsepower
Because 707 horsepower just wasn't enough to push the new, wide bodywork of the 2021 Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcat Widebody through the air, Dodge has increased output of its feline duo to 717 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque for 2021. If you still prefer the narrowbody looks, the Challenger Hellcat alone is still available in that configuration. We estimate 2021 prices will start around $63,000 for the narrower option, though Dodge hasn't announced prices yet and the first vehicles won't be delivered until early 2021. For a Widebody model, be prepared to spend closer to $70,000.
Most Powerful American Cars: 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, 760 Horsepower
We're only mildly peeved that Ford's Mustang Shelby GT500 is only available with a Tremec seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. After all, the car's incredible poise on the road and its tire-smoking 760 hp and 625 lb-ft quickly make us forget. Pilgrim recently blasted one through the quarter mile in just 11.4 seconds at a trap speed of 130 mph. Price? About $74,000. We strongly approve of the GT500, recently naming it one of our 2020 Automobile All-Stars.
Most Powerful American Cars: 2020 Tesla Model S Performance (Raven), 778 Horsepower
With the Raven powertrain (essentially the largest battery pack Tesla sells paired with powerful permanent-magnet synchronous reluctance motors), the most powerful version of Tesla's Model S should boast about 778 hp and 841 lb-ft of torque. Figure 0-60-mph times in the low 2.0-second range, which just might be adequate compensation for a lack of an appropriate soundtrack to go along with all of that power. At about $101,000 to start, this is one of the most expensive high-power American cars on our list.
Most Powerful American Cars: 2021 Dodge Charger/Challenger Hellcat Redeye, 797 Horsepower
If you have a bit more money to spend on a truly powerful American car, have a look at the Redeye version of the Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcats. While the Challenger Hellcat Redeye has been around for a bit, the Redeye badge on a Charger is new for 2021. Now making a staggering 797 hp and 707 lb-ft, there are only two American cars that are more powerful.
Most Powerful American Cars: 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500SE, 800+ Horsepower
The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500SE is a limited-production special which requires you purchase a standard GT500 first, then send the car to Shelby for modification to SE spec. What is SE spec? We're glad you asked! A mere $29,995 (plus the cost of a base GT500, which is $71,000 and change) nets you a performance supercharger pulley, a heavy-duty intercooler, a retuned suspension including beefier springs and anti-roll bars, and adjustable caster/camber plates, wider 20-inch wheels, a carbon-fiber hood, and leather upholstery. The end result of the modifications to the GT500's 5.2-liter V-8 is "800+" horsepower according to Shelby. How much is plus? Sounds like a closely guarded secret to us (or a bunch of BS, take your pick). Maybe Shelby's dyno just doesn't go that high?
Most Powerful American Cars: 2021 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock, 807 Horsepower
This is it. The big boy. You want the most powerful American car? Then you really shouldn't be content with 717 hp from a standard Hellcat. Or, for that matter, 797 horses from the Hellcat Redeye. What you need is the new-for-2021 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock with a whopping 807 hp and 707 lb-ft of torque from a juiced version of the marque's supercharged, 6.2-liter Hemi V-8. Designed for those who enjoy a little friendly (or not so friendly) drag racing, only the truly power-hungry need apply.
The Most Powerful American Cars You Can Buy Today
- 2021 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock: 807 HP
- 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500SE: 800+ HP
- 2021 Dodge Charger/Challenger Hellcat Redeye: 797 HP
- 2020 Tesla Model S Raven Performance: 778 HP
- 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: 760 HP
- 2021 Dodge Charger/Challenger Hellcat Widebody: 717 HP
- 2020 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1: 650 HP