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The most expensive cars in the world, part one

Automotive excess or engineering pinnacles?
PHOTO: TopGear.com

Okay, we’re going to try to get through this article without mentioning the gilded age, the 1%, being rich as Croesus, or anything like that. Each time we fail, we’re going to put 20 bucks in a jar. We would have put more, but, unfortunately, we weren’t born with a silver spoon up our...ah, dammit, we’ve failed already. Fine, 20 bucks.

Let’s start again. What we’re dealing with today are the most expensive cars in the world. Now, this can be a bit tricky, because for the really special, one-off pieces, it tends to be ‘if you have to ask...’ But ask we did, finding out from the very best in the business what it costs for the chance to own the priciest cars in the entire world. And definitely not talk about the reality that these cars are likely ones you’ll never see, let alone own.

And so, in no particular order—because who needs to quibble over a million here or there—here are 25 of the priciest modern automobiles that 16 metric shedloads of cash can buy.

1) Mercedes-AMG One

Price: £2.5 million (P157.9 million)
A Formula 1 car on the road. Hmm, feels like we’ve rocketed down this particular road before, but we’ll play along. And, much like the Ferrari F50, the One is based on a winning F1 car, not a backmarker. We feel that this could be slightly on the unnecessary side of things, given that any modern F1 car will figuratively demolish anything else on the road without even trying. It will also literally demolish anything on the road if it’s piloted by Pastor Maldonado. #neverforget #crashtor

But what should we expect from the Merc-AMG One? Well, Lewis Hamilton’s 2015 F1 car, modified and massaged into something that can be driven on public roads without causing deafness or a sudden and irretrievable interface with a telegraph pole.

2) Rolls-Royce Sweptail

Price: $12.8 million (P643 million)
So, we didn’t get all that far into the list before we got to the one-offs. But if you’re going to do it, it’s best to start as you mean to go on, no? Leave all that finish with a flourish stuff to...well, Rolls-Royce, it seems. Because the Sweptail’s backside belongs in the Museum of Modern Art, not some rich bloke’s garage. And, before we cost ourselves a pound with any observations about said man or how he made his millions, let’s just take a breath, look at the perfectly nautical proportions, and promise ourselves not to feature many more one-offs. Because then we’d be here all year.

3) McLaren Speedtail

Price: £1.75 million (P110.5 million)

Getting your money’s worth is a difficult metric to scale up into hypercars. It’s kind of like asking if the Apollo missions were worth it. They cost about as much as anything ever has—more than £150 billion (P9.54 trillion) in inflation-adjusted money—and really only took a few people with crew cuts out to a place that is about as inhospitable as places get.

But, apart from missing the impact and scope of the Apollo program entirely, that’s exactly the point. When amounts get as large and inconceivable as £1.75 million, value for money becomes less about what you get for the money as opposed to what you’ve achieved. The Apollo program got to the moon before those pesky Soviets, and it also inspired generations and proved to humanity that earth was our home, not our prison, and blah, blah, uplifting metaphors continue overleaf.

The Speedtail, on the other hand, proves that speed and hyper performance isn’t inextricably linked to vulgarity and wings that’d outdo the Wright Flyer. It also helpfully sends a very precise ‘up yours’ to everyone who accused the Senna of just those crimes.

4) Aspark Owl

Price: €2.9 million (P164.5 million)
It stands less than a meter tall. It’s named after a nocturnal carnivorous bird. It looks like a cross between an art deco speed-record car and one of the quote-unquote road cars based on a Group C racer.

And it, at least according to Aspark, has 1,984hp and can do 0–60mph (97kph) in 1.69sec, which makes it the fastest-accelerating road car in the world. At least this week. We’ve done 0-60 runs that took twice as long and still felt about as violent as American Psycho, so the concept of a 1.69sec thrash to the B-road legal limit is kind of like a teenager in a tattoo parlor—equal parts curiosity and outright fear.

5) Aston Martin Valkyrie

Price: £2.5 million (P157.9 million)
If you’ve been reading about Aston Martin’s fortunes of late, you’ll know it’s a company that has spent a lifetime doing much the same thing—big plans, bailout, bombastic comeback.

And things don’t get a lot more bombastic than a mid-engined Aston designed by Adrian Newey and packing a Cosworth V12 with more power than the G7. Oh, and in case you need a benchmark for the kind of performance the Valkyrie offers, Newey himself has said that the McLaren P1, LaFerrari, and the Porsche 918 were “big, clumsy and heavy.”

6) Brabham BT62

Price: £1.15 million (P72.6 million)
Remember Brabham? Of course you don’t—you’re young enough to know how to use the Internet. So, for a quick recap, Jack Brabham was a very quick F1 driver back in the ’50s and ’60s, but also one hell of a talented engineer. Consider him like the Australian version of Bruce McLaren and you’re not far off.

Brabham set up his own team (which the observant among you will notice he named after himself) and went on to win the 1966 F1 championship in his own car. No one has ever managed that feat besides him.

After he retired to Australia (well, retired is a strong word, considering he kept up with motorsport as an engine builder and much more besides), the Brabham team fell into the hands of Bernie Ecclestone. And we all know how that turned out: fan car, Piquet, Gordon Murray, much Machiavellian maneuvering, and the end of Brabham. And the beginning of Bernie, head of F1.

But now it’s back in the hands of an actual Brabham again, and things are looking good. They’re also looking very much like a race car with number plates. Which, of course, the BT62 absolutely is. But the fact that it uses the same naming scheme as the BT52—one of our favorite F1 cars ever—tells you all you need to know in that regard. And it sounds less clunky than when McLaren tried with the MP4-12C. Sorry, Ron Dennis.

7) Lamborghini Centenario Roadster

Price: £2 million (P126.3 million)
Never mind the piffling £1.7 million (P107.4 million) needed for a Centenario coupe; the Centenario Roadster attracts a nice round figure of £2 million. Or rather, attracted. Yes, like so many cars on this list, they’re unavailable to the bulk of humanity not just due to their colossal prices, but also because of their limited (and generally pre-sold) availability. The Centenario Roadster is no different, with all 20 sold out by the time those not on a first-name basis with the muckety-mucks at Lambo had even found out about its existence. So it goes.

So what does the Centenario mean to Lamborghini? Well, for any strangers to Romance languages, it means centenary. But you could probably guess that part. You could also guess that it’s a centenary of Lambo being in business. You’d be off the mark there, unfortunately, as Lambo’s only been a concern for about half that time. That is, unless you’re reading this in 2063. And if so, hello! Sorry for breaking the planet.

The centenary in question is that of Lambo’s founder, Ferrucio Lamborghini, who would have been 100 in 2016.

8) Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300

Price: £4.2 million (P265.2 million)
Well, here it is, folks, the first road car that does 300mph (483kph) out of the box. And yes, any number of other manufacturers claim the same, but say they’re limited by opportunities/tires/access to enough road to cover 134 meters every second. Bugatti, on the other hand, has access to all of these things. And an R&D budget that’d rival Batman’s.

And please don’t make us get the clicking-fingers or football-field metaphors out—134 meters per second is 134 meters, covered in the amount of time helpfully and metrically measured in one second. But that’s a very joyless way of looking at things. And, as Germany’s autobahns have helpfully allowed us to discover firsthand, traveling at speed can be exceptionally entertaining. Will any Chiron Super Sport 300 owners actually hit their car’s Vmax? Probably not. Will they give even a fraction of a toss? That’s pretty unlikely too.

9) Aston Martin DBZ Centenary Edition

Price: £6 million (P378.9 million)
Of late, there’s been some properly pricey metal coming from Gaydon. That in itself isn’t entirely surprising to anyone with any experience of the name ‘Aston Martin’ and how it relates to those peculiar mechanical apparatuses that people get in and take around the place.

But most of the massive-money Astons (as opposed to just your everyday turn-out-your-pockets variety) have been very much...motorsport-ish. In any case, they’ve been brutish track devourers like the Vulcan, or featherweight, mid-engined solipsism mobiles (getting dangerously close to another 20 bucks in the jar there) designed and powered by F1 greats.

The DBZ Centenary edition is a little different. It’s also £6 million. Well, technically, the Centenary Edition is two cars, which clearly makes that price a comparative bargain. Also, one of these cars is a continuation of one of the best and most beautiful collaborations in history, so questions of money go straight out the window. Either you have the money and you buy, or you don’t and you write about it for a car website instead.

10) Bugatti Divo

Price: €5 million (P283.6 million)
As well our pledge to not say anything about the hyper-minted, for fear of a dreaded 20 bucks in the jar, we’re going to try as hard as humanly possible not to draw any allusions between an obscenely fast, track-focused Bugatti and a band from the ’70s that wore silly hats and implored us to whip it good.

So, the Divo’s top speed is down from the Chiron’s 420kph to a frankly paltry 380kph, or basically walking speed. Are we not men? Er, sorry. For the Divo, weight is down, spring rates are up, and the whole thing is set up to contort your face like Jim Carrey’s when you pile through a corner at a decent chunk of the speed of sound. While the thought of such contortions aren’t our cup of tea, we’re all for the freedom of choice. Dammit. Sorry again.

11) Pagani Huayra BC Roadster

Price: £3.7 million (P233.7 million)
It might look just like the Huayras that have come before it—although, as the eagle-eyed among you may have noticed, it is sans roof—but the BC Roadster is a huge change from the old guard. The 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 is now made by Mercedes exclusively for Pagani, after Mercedes stopped using V12s. The fact that Merc still makes amazing V12s but doesn’t use them is, we feel, both heartening and disheartening at the same time. But that’s a discussion for another time.

The Pagani-only V12 makes a very suitable amount of power, too—in the high 700s. And when we say ‘suitable,’ we mean ‘just the right side of complete madness, considering the damn thing weighs 1,250kg.’ And now you see where your money goes.

12) Ferrari Monza SP1

Price: £1.6 million (P101 million)
Ferrari’s a bit of a tricky one. Let’s say you want a brand-spanking one-off from the Special Projects department and you’re flush with cash. Well, it’s not just as easy as placing a call to Maranello. You’ve got to be on very good terms with the right people. And it certainly helps to have bought...ooh, let’s say a stable’s worth of Ferraris in the past. Yeah, we know. We’ll see ourselves out.

And so, you’ll be entirely unsurprised to find that the Monza SP1 is sold out. But let’s not kid ourselves; neither you nor we penniless keyboard warriors were really in with a shot, even if build slots were still open. Be sure to blame your dad for not being a Rockefeller when next you see him. Or, y’know, don’t.

What you can do, if you only have a four-bedder in Notting Hill as opposed to a six-bedder in Holland Park is to buy a ‘standard’ Ferrari 812, which is one of the prettiest Ferrari GTs in recent memory. And relish the fact that you’ve saved yourself £1.4 million (P88.4 million). And also the prospect of hyper-headbutting a wren at 241kph.

NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.

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PHOTO: TopGear.com
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