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May 01, 2023

10 Mind

Whether it's their insane power or featherlight weight and cornering

Whether it's their insane power or featherlight weight and cornering capabilities, these 10 modern sports cars will blow anyone away.

High-performance cars have been a key part of the automotive industry since the very beginning. While the term "sports cars" only came to light after World War I, manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz and Bugatti had already put efforts into building fast cars before that.

Sports cars have evolved tremendously over the past couple of decades. From having tiny engines with little-to-no focus on track use to pushing almost 500 horsepower and packing track-focused aero—they have definitely come a long way!

Related: 10 Classic Sports Cars That Are Truly Timeless

Let us take a look at 10 mind-blowing sports cars that have gained legendary status in the automotive books:

The Dodge Viper is truly a one-of-a-kind car, and the ACR turns the knobs past eleven. Why, you ask? The ACR (short for American Club Racing) packs a fire-breathing 8.4-liter V10 engine under its iconically long hood and produces 645 full-blooded American horsepower. The powertrain responds surprisingly well to mods, too, as there have been Vipers that have pushed three times the stock horsepower without breaking a sweat! And that isn't even all that the Viper ACR has going for it.

Dodge and SRT left no stone unturned when it came to performance and equipped the ACR with huge, track-ready carbon ceramic discs developed by Brembo just for this Viper. The Kumho Ecsta V720 ACR tires were specially made for the ACR, too. It also featured an adjustable suspension setup made by Bilstein with ten settings for compression and rebound.

Related: This Is The Best Feature Of The Dodge Viper ACR Extreme

And then for what is the most evident upgrade seen in the ACR: aerodynamics. The Extreme Aero Package helped the car generate a mind-blowing 2,000 lbs of downforce and eventually helped the Viper ACR set a blisteringly quick Nurburgring lap time of 7:01.67 (unofficial), making it one of the fastest sports cars in the world.

The Acura NSX needs no introduction and has gone down as one of the most iconic sports cars in history. While the modern NSX didn't quite gain the same level of cult-like popularity as the original, it is one of the best modern sports cars you can buy. The Type S is part of the last hurrah for this generation model, and with only 300 NSXs allotted for the US, it is quite a rare car.

Related: 8 Reasons Why We Love The Acura NSX

Not only does the Type S look more aggressive than the previous iterations of the modern NSX, but it also has more power and better aero. The 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 hybrid engine produces 600 horsepower and 492 lb-ft of torque. It is mated to a 9-speed dual-clutch transmission, which helps the car go from 0 to 60 in 2.9 seconds! The turbochargers are also lifted straight from the GT3 racecar. Other upgrades for the Type S include carbon ceramic brakes, a re-tuned suspension, forged wheels, and a spattering of carbon fiber throughout the car.

The 911 GT2 RS is a very, very fast car as is. So fast, in fact, that even in stock guise, it lapped the Nürburgring in 6:47—the same as a Pagani Zonda R, a track-only V12 monster. Manthey-Racing somehow made this already fast car even faster. Unfathomably faster.

With special aero, suspension, wheel, and tire improvements, the 911 GT2 RS MR lapped the 'ring in 6:38.835 – nearly ten seconds quicker! To put that into perspective, the only road-legal production car that is faster around the historic track is the Mercedes-AMG ONE, a $3 million hypercar.

The Ford Mustang is an iconic American muscle car. This might confuse you, as muscle cars are usually not known for their performance on the racetrack. But Ford managed to do something special with the Mustang GT350R. The 526-hp naturally aspirated 5.1-liter V8 sounds amazing while thundering down the track. And the clever aero, suspension, and braking systems also mean that the GT350R can put all of its horsepower on the track without spinning into a cloud of smoke.

Related: 10 Reasons Why We Love The Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R

Being a Mustang, it is also quite spacious and has tremendous modding potential. While the stock engine produces 526 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque, forced induction upgrades can up the numbers by 50% without much trouble to the internals! What's better is that the powerhouse of an engine is paired with a manual gearbox—heaven for most petrolheads!

For those wondering, yes, the X-Bow RR is made by KTM, the same brand behind some of the wildest motorcycles. It packs a 2-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 360 hp and 420 Nm of torque and is mated to a six-speed manual transmission sourced from Audi. Now, this might sound rather pedestrian, especially for a sports car, but here's the kicker: the X-Bow RR weighs just 810 kg or 1,786 lbs. That's nearly 1,400 lbs lighter than a 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS!

The result is a power-to-weight ratio that's better than a Ferrari 458 Speciale and not too far off a Porsche 918 Spyder. And as you'd expect, this translates into mind-bending track performance. What's more is that the X-Bow RR produces all 360 of its horsepower from just 3,200 rpm—most sports cars produce peak torque much, much later in the rev range! This makes the X-Bow very agile and usable on the track. As an added bonus, the car looks like something straight out of the movie Transformers!

Related: 10 Reasons Why We Love The KTM X-Bow

The 2012 C63 AMG Black Series is essentially a DTM race car for the streets. The way AMG has put this sports car together is unbelievable. For starters, with 510 hp, the eleven-year-old Black Series still produced more power when stock than the outgoing C63 with a turbocharged V8! And let's not forget the sonorous soundtrack of the 6.2-liter naturally-aspirated AMG V8.

Now, the "regular" C63 AMG is a legendary car, to begin with, but as with all their other Black Series projects, they really upped the ante with the C63 Black. Just about 800 were ever built and only 100 came to America, with even fewer still on US roads.

The Maserati GranTurismo is easily one of the most beautiful cars to have ever been made. It's hard to imagine that this timeless Italian design is nearly seventeen years old! And while the GranTurismo lineup was initially meant to be a comfortable tourer, the MC Stradale made it a track-focused, high-performance beast of a sports car.

Look underneath the long, aerodynamically designed hood, and you will be greeted by the Ferrari-developed 4.7-liter V8 that produces 454 horsepower. This raucous V8 is paired with the same gearbox that's used in the Ferrari F430.

Related: Here's What We Love About The Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale

This is quite possibly the wildest car to have ever come out of Affalterbach. It's powered by a 6-liter twin-turbo V12 that produces 660 hp and 740 lb-ft of torque! The performance, as you would expect, is monumental. It even managed to terrify Jeremy Clarkson!

Despite being unfathomably fast, the SL65 AMG Black Series came with most creature comforts you would expect out of an early 2010s sports car. For instance, you had climate control, satellite navigation, and Bluetooth connectivity.

Related: Here's Why The SL 65 AMG Black Series Is One Of The Best Mercedes Sports Cars Ever

Ever since its first appearance at the Paris Auto Show in 2006, the Audi R8 has become a cult classic. While the R8 was originally launched with a V8, it was not long before Audi plopped the mighty V10 engine in this sports car. And yes, this is the same iconic 5.2-liter V10 used in the Lamborghini Huracán (and Gallardo), except Audi offered it with a proper gated 6-speed manual gearbox.

The end result was something that many still consider as being the ultimate driver's car—525 hp, 329 lb-ft of torque, a three-pedal layout, and the glorious V10 symphony!

Related: Here's Where Robert Downey Jr.'s Audi R8 From Iron Man Is Today

The C7 Corvette ZR1 is the most-powerful front-engined Corvette ever produced. Much like the Dodge Viper ACR, the Corvette ZR1 is also built to be a phenomenal track car. The C7 Corvette was already a very potent sports car, but the ZR1 takes things a level higher.

Related: 15 Facts About The Chevrolet Corvette C7 ZR1 You’ll Want To Read Right Away

This 'Vette is powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V8, producing an eye-watering 755 horsepower! It also features large carbon ceramic disc rotors that help the car stop on a dime. The American sports car also features tons of aerodynamic improvements, including an optional wing that can offer up to 950 lbs of additional downforce!

With over seven years of experience in the automotive space, Krunal has lived and breathed cars since before he could talk. He has worked with several automotive and tech publications and has even worked on campaigns directly with supercar brands as a marketing and PR consultant. When he isn't writing or driving cars, he is planning his next travel adventure. Outside of cars and motorsports, he is a finance educator and is passionate about brands and business.