There's a depth of engineering to European cars that is at once reassuring and breathtaking. We almost take it for granted that when a car with, say, an AMG badge is launched, it will make serious power but won't be a grenade. How serious is serious? For the purposes of this list, the most powerful production cars, the 600 hp point is where the men say goodbye to the boys. Meet the men...
Worried about the environment? How does an eco-friendly version of Koenigsegg's crazy CCX sound? The CCXR's 4.8-liter, dual-supercharged V8 runs on biofuel, E85 ethanol. And here's the really good news: it's more powerful than its regular gas-burning sibling (which already develops 806 hp). Because of the cooling properties of ethanol in the cylinder chamber, higher boost settings can be employed. Plus, the fuel has an octane rating of 113. Result? An astounding 1,018 hp. The petrol-powered CCX does zero to 62 mph in 3.2 seconds, with a claimed top speed in excess of 245 mph, and despite it having more power, aerodynamics probably won't allow anything much faster than that for the R.
Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano
It says something when a name synonymous with power-a name associated throughout the world with motorsport and fast, exotic machinery-only just nudges into a roster of 600-plus-hp cars. The Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, Modena's grand tourer, makes 612 hp from its 6.0-liter V12. However, zero to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of over 205 mph just ain't enough for some people.
Lamborghini Murcilago LP640
It certainly looks like it should be capable of escape velocity. This combination of outrageous styling and ridiculous muscle is cause for celebration, for giving thanks that someone is in the business of constructing it. A 6.5-liter V12 kicks out 632 hp at a screaming 8000 rpm, going to an all-wheel-drive system with an electronic transmission. Launch control sends it whizzing to 62 mph in 3.3 seconds and the LP640, the ultimate Murcilago, won't stop accelerating until it hits 219 mph.
Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series
It's always nice to feature some fresh meat. The successor to the Mercedes-McLaren SLR is a fixed-roof version of the latest generation of Benz's well-known and well-loved SL. A straight-ahead AMG version is pleasant enough, but when the magic words "Black Series" are invoked, a different beast emerges. One that's lighter, with a body consisting mainly of carbon fiber and an engine (a twin-turbo, 6.0-liter V12) that makes it the most powerful production car to come from the three-pointed star: 670 hp.
Bristol Fighter T
That thing in the introduction about reassuring engineering? Maybe not so much in this case. Trouble is, it's hard to tell because Bristol is highly secretive about its manufacturing process. For all we know, the Fighter T could have been assembled by a handful of retired librarians in an old aircraft facility (Bristol used to make planes). And it doesn't seem like many people outside of the company has driven one. But since it has a twin-turbo 8.0-liter V10 making 1,012 hp and 1,036 lb-ft of torque, with a six-speed manual transmission claimed to be geared for 225 mph at 4200 rpm, that's a whole lot of fun much of the world is missing out on. But then, much of the world can't afford 351,931 (plus taxes).