When shopping for a car, most of us want the best but often settle for less. The reason is simple: price. So we end up driving off the lot as the subdued, dejected owners of cars that do the job but fail to excite.
There is, however, a clientele for whom price is no object and a top-of-the-line purchase is standard. For members of that highly select group, carmakers have designed the ne plus ultra of high-end vehicles: the supercar.
A supercar is typically a limited-edition sports car that goes fast and costs a fortune. So if you have a car in your garage that can exceed 200 mph and that set you back at least $1 million, congratulations. You're a supercar owner.
Karl Brauer, a senior director at the car valuation and analysis company Kelley Blue Book, provided CNBC.com with his list of 10 incredible supercars.
So click on to ogle CNBC.com's list of ridiculously expensive supercars. Though it's unlikely that any of them will ever grace your driveway, we can all dream, can't we?
—By CNBC's Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 10 Dec. 2013
Tune in to the new season of "The Car Chasers" on CNBC Prime.
If Lamborghini is known for anything, it's sports cars with outrageous style. Its latest creation, the Veneno Roadster, is no exception. Its 750 horsepower engine lets it reach a top speed of 220 mph.
"The car looks like a low-flying fighter jet, with the performance to match," Brauer said. Lamborghini must have had that in mind, as the $4.5 million car was unveiled on an aircraft carrier docked in Abu Dhabi, according to the New York Daily News.
Bugatti made its name producing supercars with few equals. The Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse is no exception. Its 16 cylinder, 1,200 horsepower engine propels it from zero to 60 mph in 2.46 seconds and can reach a maximum speed of 254 mph.
The company, which introduced the World Record Car at the Shanghai Motor Show in April, produced just eight of the Veyron. Those who simply must have one can pay $2.7 million for the pleasure, according to the Bugatti website.
A hybrid like no other, the McLaren P1 can reach a top speed of 217.5 mph, according to Brauer.
"A 3.8 liter, twin-turbocharged V8 engine works in conjunction with an electric motor to create 903 horsepower," he said. "This drivetrain powers the McLaren P1 from zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds."
According to the Chicago Tribune, only 375 have been built, and the sticker price is $1.15 million.
In June 2013, the Straits Times reported that the Koenigsegg Agera S was purchased by someone named Angela Tan for $5.3 million. The publication referred to it as "the most expensive car in Singapore," as well as the fastest.
"The Swedish automaker Koenigsegg has assembled 100 examples of its Agera supercar, with the latest Agera S featuring a 1,030 horsepower V8 engine wrapped in a full carbon fiber body," Brauer said. "It shoots from zero to 60 in 3.0 seconds and offers a top speed of 240-plus mph."
The first production car of SSC North America (formerly known as Shelby SuperCars) is about to be unleashed on an unsuspecting world. According to Brauer, some of the technical details of the vehicle, the Tuatara, are the subject of rumor and conjecture, but car enthusiasts are creating a feverish buzz anyway.
"Powered by a twin-turbo V8 that will reportedly make 1,350 horsepower, the Tuatara is supposed to be capable of hitting zero to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds and a top speed in excess of 250 mph," he said. The automobile news and reviews website TopSpeed.com quoted SSC Chief Administrative Officer Alan Leverett as saying that the car will retail at $1.3 million.
According to Karl Brauer, the Pagani Huayra is a supercar with a "wide stance." Named after the Andean god of wind, it sells for $1.4 million, according to the tech publication CNET UK.
But can it live up to its name, pedigree and price tag?
"The sleek lines of the Pagani Huayra encompass a V-12 Mercedes-Benz engine making 720 horsepower," Brauer said. "It catapults the Huayra to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, and it tops out at 230 mph."
Ferrari made only 499 of the LaFerrari, which sells for $1.7 million, according to the automotive information website Edmunds.com. A hefty price tag, but at least you know you're not paying for costs involved in coming up with the name.
"The legendary Italian automaker has released its most capable street machine yet," Brauer said. "With 950 horsepower, a carbon fiber body, a zero to 60 time under 3 seconds and a top speed approaching 220 mph, the car is a fitting successor to the brand's last top dog, the Enzo."
Highly advanced production techniques resulted in the GTA Spano's carbon fiber, Kevlar and titanium hybrid chassis. According to Spania, it will make only 99, on a made-to-order basis.
"Carbon fiber makes up the bodywork and keeps its curb weight below 3,000 pounds," Brauer said. "That helps the 900 horsepower, 8.4 liter V10 engine rocket the GTA Spano from zero to 60 mph in under 3 seconds. The top speed is 217 mph, while the price tops out above $1 million."
The paparazzi spied legendary Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler driving to a Los Angeles charity event in March in a Venom GT, which the New York Daily News said cost $1.1 million.
"Starting with a Lotus Exige, Hennessey Performance Engineering modifies the chassis to create the Venom GT," Brauer said. "A midengine V8, producing 1,200 horsepower, motivates the 2,800-pound car from zero to 60 in 2.7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 265 mph."
A supercar costing over $1 million may not be the ride for everyone. So Brauer suggested that those on tight budgets look at the 750 horsepower version—a mere $600,000.
If you simply can't do without a supercar but also can't stomach the idea of paying the freight, consider the 918 Spyder. Only $845,000, its price is a pittance compared with others on this list. And Porsche achieved it without cutting corners.
"The 918 Spyder combines a 4.6 liter V8 engine with three electric motors to offer a total of 887 horsepower," Brauer said. "That gets the low-slung Porsche to 60 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds, while its top speed is 211 mph. Given the performance and technology you're getting for a starting price of $845,000, one might accurately describe the 918 as a bargain."
Jeff Allen and Perry Barndt are gamblers—their game being classic and exotic cars. They travel the country looking to buy and sell them. Whether it's a rare Shelby Mustang or a vintage hot rod, the key is buy low and sell high, something that doesn't always happen.
Selling cars is a dangerous business, but perhaps there's no greater risk than negotiating with your own father. Tom Souter, Jeff's dad, runs a classic car dealership around the corner from Jeff's shop in Lubbock, Texas. They are not just regular trading partners but hell-bent on one-upmanship.
Tom said doing a deal with his son is like being locked in a closet with a porcupine: "It's gonna hurt, but you know it won't kill you."
Tune in to the new season of "The Car Chasers" on CNBC Prime, all new episodes Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.