This is it: the very first 1,750bhp SSC Tuatara | Top Gear
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Monday 11th December

This is it: the very first 1,750bhp SSC Tuatara

300mph+ SSC gets Philly debut. And yes Mr Wayne, it does come in black

Published: 10 Feb 2020

“Not only does the car boast a class-leading 0.279 drag coefficient,” explains SSC designer Jason Castriota, “but also maintains an identical aero balance from 100mph to well over 300mph.”

That’s right, well over 300mph. It won’t be the first hypercar to crack that benchmark – that honour goes to Bugatti – but this is indeed the very first production SSC Tuatara; a car still very much fixed on eclipsing that once impregnable top speed.

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Unveiled at the Philadelphia Auto Show, car number 1 of only 100 Tuataras planned for production is heading to the home of one Larry Caplin. And we can only salute Mr Caplin for his choice of colour, because the SSC looks really rather fetching in this black getup.

You’ll no doubt know about the SSC Tuatara: a carbon-fibre body hiding a carbon fibre monocoque hiding what can only be described as a nuclear weapon. Nestled in the middle sits a SSC-designed 5.9-litre V8 with a pair of turbochargers, a flat-plane crank setup and a “ground-breaking intake system”. One suspects should the SSC deploy all of its horsepowers at precisely the right time, the ground might indeed break.

Because if you run it on E85, the Tuatara kicks out 1,750bhp. There have been less powerful missions to Mars. Probably. Regular 91 Octane delivers 1,350bhp, mind, so if you’ve missed your morning espresso, maybe stick to this.

There’s a seven-speed CIMA gearbox that promises shift times of sub-100 milliseconds, at least in Track mode. Said mode also lowers the car and activates the rear wing. There’s also Sport mode (default), and Front Lift mode that, unsurprisingly, raises the nose to deal with speed bumps, the odd crisp wrapper, and so forth.

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SSC trumpets the fact that humans measuring up to 6ft 5in can fit comfortably inside the cabin, even with a helmet on. There’s a main digital display right in front of the driver, undoubtedly reading out numbers quicker than you can read them, and a large touchscreen nestled in the centre console for your passenger to fiddle with.

“We have created the full package,” explains SSC boss Jerod Shelby, “looks, performance and artwork all rolled into one.”

As mentioned, only 100 of these Tuataras are planned. Reckon it’s got enough firepower to outgun that Bugatti and claim the 'fastest car in the world' crown? Only time will tell…

Before Bugatti went and did 300mph, Top Gear had an exclusive drive of the Tuatara - click here for more info

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