- for years, hennessey has been trying to beat bugatti and others to create the world's fastest production car, and now it's claiming the venom f5 will get it there.
- built around a u.k.-built carbon-fiber tub weighing only 192 pounds and a mid-mounted turbo v-8 named "fury," the venom f5 is claimed to have a zero-to-62-mph time of 2.6 seconds and a top speed above 311 mph.
- john hennessey told c/d that although the company will produce one or two more cars after this, the f5 is meant to remain the brand's top performer.
this is the car that is set to make the koenigsegg one:1 seem slow and the bugatti chiron positively leisurely. the production hennessey venom f5 is a u.s. hypercar that—if it delivers on its maker's bold claims—will be the fastest production car in the world.
hennessey has long been known as a tuner—one with a reputation for extravagant claims in the past—but the venom f5 marks its effective debut as a manufacturer in its own right. (the ultra-limited venom gt that preceded it used a lotus tub.) it's named after the highest rating on the fujita scale of hurricane strength, and just 24 cars will be built, each priced at $2.1 million.
the f5 will be constructed in a new facility in sealy, texas, but the first finished car was completed in the u.k., where the carbon-fiber monocoque is manufactured by ks composites. and that explains why our first sight of it was at a former royal air force air base in the english midlands.
the headline figures are some way beyond spectacular. based on hennessey's numbers, the f5's mid-mounted 90-degree turbocharged 6.6-liter v-8—dubbed "fury" by the company—is set to be the most powerful engine ever fitted to a production car. this is a pushrod unit, a configuration well known to hennessey's tuning operations, chosen for its compact dimensions and lower center of gravity. the company claims a peak of 1817 horsepower at 8000 rpm—the engine revs out at 8200 rpm—accompanied by a 1193-pound-foot torque peak at 5500 rpm.
the engine uses a cast-iron block and aluminum cylinder heads plus titanium intake valves and inconel exhaust valves. connecting rods and pistons are forged, and both crankshaft and camshaft are made from billet steel. two ball-bearing turbochargers have 76-mm-diameter compressor wheels and 3d-printed titanium housings, delivering up to 23 psi of boost. drive reaches the rear wheels through a seven-speed cima single-clutch automated transmission and limited-slip differential, with gearbox ratios chosen to help the f5 achieve its targeted acceleration and top speed numbers.
and top speed claims are even more outlandish. hennessey, using only km/h measurements, says that the f5 will be capable of a 2.6-second zero-to-62-mph time, a 4.7-second zero-to-124-mph time, an 8.4-second zero-to-186-mph time, and 15.5 seconds from zero to 248 mph. top speed is targeted to be in excess of 311 mph. if delivered, that would make the f5 faster even than the 304-mph bugatti chiron. the f5’s ultratall seventh gear means the engine won’t run out of revs until 334 mph, according to hennessey's claims.
the monstrous engine will be working against a minimum of mass. the f5’s carbon tub is claimed to weigh just 190 pounds in its naked state. most of the bodywork is carbon fiber, with the exception of an aluminum roof, with front and rear aluminum subframes. mechanical complication is minimal: the f5 has a control-arm suspension at each corner, coil springs and separate reservoir dampers that can be adjusted for bump and rebound. hennessey claims a curb weight of 3053 pounds, making the f5 barely heavier than the koenigsegg one:1, but with 35 percent more power.
the obvious changes between the finished f5 and the original design proposal, which was shown at sema in 2017 and then at the geneva auto show the following year, have been made to improve aerodynamic performance. the production car has lost the concept's raised rear wing and gained a substantially larger rear diffuser. there are no active aerodynamic elements—unusual in this part of the market—with the f5 claimed to be able to alter downforce levels by varying ride height to adjust the angle of airflow relative to its body. the concept’s targeted 0.33 drag coefficient hasn’t been realized, but a cd figure of 0.39 can still be considered slippery. a "track pack" that includes a separate rear wing and higher downforce will be optional, although specifying this will drop the f5's top speed.
looking at the f5 up close
the standard of fit and finish of the car we saw in the u.k. seemed impressively high. the f5's engineering team is very proud of the single-piece rear panel, which is claimed to be the largest piece of machined carbon fiber used on any road car (each of the vent holes have been individually milled). the quad exhaust tailpipes have been treated with cerakote to help with heat dissipation; the rear lights also incorporate small vents. unlike most competitors, the hennessey has placed the car's main radiators at the front, with the side vents behind the doors channeling air to gearbox and oil coolers.
the f5's cabin is accessed through butterfly-opening doors and over a narrower sill than the hypercar norm. space feels respectable for a car in this segment, with reasonable elbow room between driver and passenger and enough head clearance for taller drivers, although luggage space is limited to a small area behind the seats and a compartment integrated into the passenger footwell.
clearly designed around function rather than luxury, the f5's interior is trimmed in leather and carbon fiber. the central screen is for an alpine infotainment system, and hennessey has gone to the trouble and expense of creating bespoke switchgear for the controls that aren't integrated into the surface of the steering wheel. the wheel has a cut-off yoke design inspired by fighter jets, with knobs and buttons for wipers, lights, volume and turn signals. a rotary switch will move between the f5's dynamic modes: sport, wet, drag, track, and f5 v.max, with that last one bringing the full power output. lacking airbags, the f5 won't have full federal homologation. john hennessey said the car will be sold under the "show and display" exemption.
the f5's chassis development is being led by john heinricy, former director of gm's performance division. hennessey says that his mission has been to create a car that will be able to deliver more than just a headline top speed. but the company is also determined to prove the f5's potency by doing just that, with john hennessey confirming to car and driver that he thinks the car will be capable of an independently verified two-way 500 km/h (311 mph). the plan is to try for an initial record on nasa's 3.2-mile-long kennedy space center runway next year, and then potentially to switch to a closed public highway if this proves insufficiently long.
hennessey also told c/d that between 12 and 14 of the 24 f5 slated to be built have already been sold, and that his company is planning to follow it with other models, likely using a version of the same core architecture. "the f5 is the first, but at some point over the next several years you'll potentially see another one or two vehicles," he said. "but we have no desire, plan, or intention of building a car with a greater level of power to weight or absolute performance than the f5."