#23: 2016 Ferrari F12TDF
Up next on our list is a Ferrari befit a supervillain. Its scowling, long snout broods in front of its muscly quarter panels thanks to a front mid-engine design. It’s the 2016 Ferrari F12TDF. Building off the F12 Berlinetta, the TDF’s 6.3L V12 cranks up power to 769 horses and 524 torques screaming up to a higher 8,900 RPM. 80% of torque is available at just 2,500 RPM, allowing the tires to break loose in practically any gear.
Upshifts are 30% faster and downshifts, 60%. Null to 60 takes just 2.9 seconds while its flat, mountainous torque curve and lightning shifts keep it in the powerband efficiently enough to make 0 to 124 MPH in just 7.9 seconds. Ferrari clocked its top speed at 211 MPH, though engineers say the car is easily capable of more.
Amazingly, the TDF manages to up its power and reduce weight, glancing the scales at just 3,119 lbs. Of course, that’s all thanks to loads of carbon fiber. But for its weight and power, it manages some serious traction. At 124 MPH the TDF’s longer and larger wing and diffusers push the rear end down with over 500 pounds of downforce, a 30% increase compared to the Berlinetta.
Such downforce is necessary with a torque curve as high as the TDF’s, but to ensure the car wouldn’t kill its more gentlemanly drivers, Ferrari built in an intelligent traction control system called Virtual Short Wheelbase. The VSW system is mated to an active rear axle which allows the car to work out optimal steering angles based on driver input, controlling the rear wheels on a vertical axis. Yes, that means the TDF’s rear wheels turn on their own, controlled by what is essentially a model-based artificial intelligence. It’s a stunning piece of technology not seen in hardly any production cars, making it a unique entrant on our list.
#22: 2018 BMW M5
We found it an unlikely occurrence that a proper gentleman’s saloon car made our list – let alone beating out one of Ferrari’s most brutish players. Nonetheless, the 2018 BMW M5 is a proper tire-shredder, making zero to sixty in just 2.8 seconds. Size up the latest M car from Bimmer as nothing more than a bloviating, leather-clad latte taxi with some extra torque, and you’d be dead wrong.
No, the new M5 is a true road-legal track monster, packaged in a relatively tame shell. But peel away the bonnet and you’ll find 600 horses hiding underneath, packaged inside a twin-turbo, 4.4L V8 mated to a proper four-wheel drive chassis. What’s more, it makes over 550 torques from 1,800 to 5,600 RPM. Coupled with an impossibly efficient eight-speed gearbox, too much power is on tap not to respect the M5 – it’ll surely kill you otherwise.
Of course, the M5 is still intended to be a saloon car that looks inconspicuous when parked at your nearest Starbucks. Without stability control and all the other computer safety measures disabled or firmed up, the M5 acts like any other 5-series BMW. Unlike other cars on our list, you get to decide how monstrous (or composed) you want your M5 to be. There are modes for everything: Take your pick between road 4WD, sport 4WD, rear-wheel-drive biased, or conventional rear-wheel-drive only. You can even select three levels of throttle response and – if you hadn’t guessed by now – there are three levels of steering response.
Perhaps so many levels of adjustment might be considered pedantic in any other car, but the M5 appeals to a broad audience. Turning off all the safety nets means you’ll be driving a car that can lap the Nürburgring in 7:38, faster than a Ferrari 430 Scuderia. Keeping them on means quietly making it to your 3:00 o’ clock meeting without crisping your pressed suit and tie.