Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 (© General Motors)

A crusty old speed junkie once told us that horsepower is a lot like money; you can never have too much. And while that is not a very fiscally or environmentally responsible point of view — the more powerful your car is, the more gas it will burn and the more emissions it will likely spew — it is one that we to subscribe to, as well. Powerful rides are just more fun to drive. They appeal to your primal instincts in a way that weak econoboxes and hybrids simply can't. With that in mind, we scoured the spec charts to find the most powerful production cars on the market to appeal to your inner animal.

Read:  Power Players: The More Affordable Route

2011 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport

The grand master of all supercars is the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport, offered only as a convertible, because the coupe is sold out. The Veyron's 8.0-liter W 16 engine uses four turbochargers to make 1,001 horses. The performance numbers are staggering: The Veyron can rocket from zero to 60 mph in less than 2.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 253 mph. Even if you had the megabucks it takes to buy a Veyron, we don't recommend testing the car's limits anywhere, not even on a racetrack. Within the next two years, the Veyron may get a legitimate competitor in the Koeniggsegg Agera R. It will feature a 5.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine making 1,115 horsepower and 1,200 lb-ft of torque.

Engine: 8.0-liter quad-turbocharged W16 | Horsepower: 1,001 | Torque: 1,106 lb-ft | Price: $1.65 million
Dollars per horse: $1,651

View Slideshow:  Built for Speed

2012 Ferrari FF

The two main supercar manufacturers, Ferrari and Lamborghini, have both V8 and V12 lineups. At Ferrari, the V12 range usually includes a super sports car and one or more relaxed grand tourers. The latest Ferrari GT car is the FF. Featuring all-wheel drive that helps put the power to the pavement, the FF is supremely capable. It sprints from zero to 60 mph in less than 3.7 seconds and tops out at 208 mph. Not bad for a 4-passenger 4,145-pound car. By all accounts, the FF is an engineering triumph, with a driving character to match its performance numbers. MSN Autos' Dan Trent says, "The FF delivers all the driving thrills you could ever wish for, while bringing a sense of practicality and an all-weather, all-conditions capability no Ferrari has ever offered before."

Engine: 6.3-liter V12 | Horsepower: 651 | Torque: 504 lb-ft | Price: $295,000
Dollars per horse: $453

Watch Video:  Ferrari FF

2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4

Lamborghini has really pushed the engineering envelope with its latest V12-powered supercar, the 2012 Aventador LP700-4. At 700 horsepower, the all-new 6.5-liter V12 engine produces 39 more ponies than the 6.5-liter V12 in the Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce it replaces. It also accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds, 0.4 second quicker than the Murcielago, and tops out at 217 mph, 8 mph higher than the old bull. The Aventador turns and stops better, too, thanks to a Lamborghini-first all-carbon-fiber body construction, a 3-inch-lower center of gravity for the engine and a Formula One-type suspension design. Ferrari lacks a V12 super sports car, and the Aventador is going to be hard to match.

Engine: 6.5-liter V12 | Horsepower: 700 | Torque: 509 lb-ft | Price: $387,000
Dollars per horse: $552

View Pictures:  Lamborghini Aventador

2012 Mercedes-Benz CL65

The twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 engine in the CL65 feels more like a jet engine than an internal-combustion engine. With a zero-to-60-mph time of 4.2 seconds, the CL65 is plenty quick, but it's not loud or jumpy off the line. Instead, it is smooth and relentless, sinking you into your seat and pinning you there until you finally let off the gas. And it does so all the way up to the electronically limited 186 mph. Those aren't supercar numbers, but they're awfully impressive for a 5,000-pound car.

Engine: 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V12 | Horsepower: 621 | Torque: 738 lb-ft | Price: $211,000
Dollars per horse: $339

See: New Coupes With More Than 400 Horsepower

2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

The Chevrolet Corvette has always been an icon of American performance. Throughout its almost 60-year run, the Corvette has been fast, powerful and one of the best-handling American cars. The ZR1, introduced for the 2010 model year, has put the Corvette into a whole new stratosphere. The ZR1 achieves performance numbers befitting cars that cost more than twice as much. It sears the pavement for a zero-to-60-mph run of 3.5 seconds, blasts through the quarter-mile in 11.5 seconds and tops out at 205 mph. Those are Ferrari numbers and they come from an old-school, overhead-valve V8 engine, not some high-tech dual-overhead-cam V12 wonder.

Engine: 6.2-liter supercharged V8 | Horsepower: 638 | Torque: 604 lb-ft | Price: $111,525
Dollars per horse: $175

View Slideshow:  Manly Machines

Kirk Bell has served as the associate publisher for Consumer Guide Automotive and editor of Scale Auto Enthusiast magazine. A Midwest native, Bell brings 18 years of automotive journalism experience to MSN, and currently contributes to JDPower.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

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