Is 200 mph the high-performance blue chip it used to be? In the late 1980s, you had to get behind the wheel of an uber-exclusive, no-frills supercar to go 200 mph, and even then you’d barely tick the mark. Today, you can slide into the well-padded driver’s seat of a big-ass sedan, turn up your favorite song by One Direction, and hit 200 mph before the song is over. Naturally we’re not suggesting you try this unless you’re a trained professional on a closed course. (We’re also not suggesting you listen to One Direction.)
Over the past 25 years, 200 mph has become much easier and far less expensive to reach. The performance gap between performance cars and exotics is quickly filling up with high-performance variants of commodity-type cars. And as lightweight materials, active aerodynamics, and infinitely tunable forced-induction engines trickle down from top-tier halo cars into not-so-special sedans, more ordinary cars will go faster than 200 mph.
We feel a duty to recognize this moment — a moment when 200 mph is neither phenomenal nor prosaic — by looking at the current state of 200-mph street-legal production cars. Let us recognize the cars that do 200 mph today and then pay tribute to the cars that first set the bar. And we must, of course, consider the imaginative loons who’ve long chased insane speeds, the aftermarket tuners who see “more” at the top of a car’s speedometer.