Exclusive few join 700 (horsepower) club

According to the EPA, the average amount of power that 2012 model-year cars and trucks pack under their hoods is 222 horsepower. But, like good looks and money, you can never have too much horsepower. So why not own an automobile with more than triple that horsepower? Automobiles in the following group — with at least 666 horsepower each — have as much or more horsepower than a NASCAR Sprint Cup race car.

While it’s almost comical to picture 700 horses pulling a car, ordering the horses to gallop in these cars will have you smiling with delight.

So let’s buckle up and ride with the devilishly fun cars of the 700 club, a group of motor cars whose religion is speed and thrills.

LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR LP 700-4

Horsepower: 700

Price: $387,000

What’s impressive about the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 is its performance: 0 to 62 mph is accomplished in 2.9 seconds. And it can reach 217 mph if you can find a stretch of blacktop long enough. What’s less impressive are some, but not all, of the people who are associated with Lamborghinis, an image that has long shadowed the brand. One such aficionado? Justin Bieber. ’Nuff said.

FERRARI F12 BERLINETTA

Horsepower: 730

Price: $315,888

This pricey prancing horse is among Ferrari’s most expensive rides and its most traditional. Unlike many modern Ferraris, its 6.3-liter V-12 is placed in front of the driver and powers the rear wheels. But this is no exercise in nostalgia, as the power is fed through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, not a traditional manual.

PORSCHE 918 SPYDER

Horsepower: 887

Price: $845,000

If you’re wondering about the future of Porsche’s sports cars, its template can be seen in the 918 Spyder. Unlike the Toyota Prius, this gas-electric hybrid is among the fastest cars available, as 0 to 60 mph takes 2.5 seconds. Top speed is 217 mph. Even in pure electric mode, it reaches 62 mph in 7 seconds, with speeds up to 93 mph.

MCLAREN P1

Horsepower: 903

Price: $1,150,000

How do you generate 903 horsepower from a 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 engine? Simple. Add an electric motor. A 0-to- 62-mph dash takes 2.8 seconds. But what’s most remarkable is the amount of F1 racing technology McLaren has engineered into this car. You may not be a race car driver, but you can own a race car — if you have seven bills.

LAFERRARI

Horsepower: 950

Price: Not announced

The replacement for the Enzo might have a silly name, but it’s the stud of the stable. Not only is it Ferrari’s most powerful model, it’s a hybrid. Ferrari adds two electric motors to the F12 Berlinetta’s 6.3-liter V-12, boosting horsepower to an organ-crushing 950. Reaching 62 mph will take less than 3 seconds. Top speed is 217 mph. Only 499 will be hand-built at Ferrari’s F1 facility.

BUGATTI VEYRON 16.4 GRAND SPORT VITESSE

Horsepower: 1,200

Price: $2,250,000

Let’s skip the niceties and just get to the numbers: 8-liter, turbocharged, 16-cylinder engine; seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox; 0 to 62 mph in 2.6 seconds; and a top speed of 255 mph. If that doesn’t take your breath away, maybe the car’s $2.25 million price will. Since the Veyron is demonically quick, make sure that you also buy a decommissioned private airport so that you can use the runway to experience the speed that you’re paying for.

Larry Printz is automotive editor at The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va. He can be reached at larry.printzpilotonline.com.

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