Monterey Car Week, otherwise known as automotive nirvana for gearheads, kicked off last weekend with a slew of activities that included — to absolutely no surprise at all — some very exciting car launches. 

Once a humble road rally and car show in the ‘50s, the California-based event has now ballooned into a week-long extravaganza that brings together every noteworthy vehicle ever made, and then some. Automotive heritage is placed on a pedestal here, and it’ll be one of the rare occasions when you’ll be able to cheer on a classic car race, attend a multi-million dollar auction, and then witness a heart-warming retrospective show of your favourite cars in one location. 

As much as we’re into revisiting the past, the stars of the show (proven by excessive Instagram postings all weekend) are undoubtedly the fast new cars of the future. The big boys ultimately ran the show, as the likes of Bugatti and Lamborghini churned out more ludicrous toys for the insatiable millionaires. Here are some of the fastest cars at Monterey Car Week 2018.

Lamborghini Aventador SVJ

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Left to right: the Aventador SVJ and the SVJ 63 special.

The relentless pursuit of speed, power, and fame continues at Sant’Agata, where within Lamborghini’s storied workshops are caffeine-addled engineers who are hell bent on creating a monster out of the already-freakish Aventador. As the most extreme version ever created, it’ll carry a 760hp 6.5-litre V12, unadulterated by turbos to produce the sweet, sweet sound only a massive naturally-aspirated powertrain could. 0 to 100kph is in 2.8 seconds, and the speed caps off at 349kph, though that figure might be slightly modest. Did we mention the engineers were inspired by space ships and fighter jets?

The Aventador’s menacing good looks have remained largely untouched, but there are tweaks for improved aerodynamics, the most obvious being the humongous rear wing. Lamborghini’s new version of active aero tech gives this all-wheel drive 40 percent more downforce than the old SV model, while stiffer suspension, retuned steering, and a sharper seven-speed paddleshift gearbox all hint toward even punchier performance — one that made it a Nürburgring-Nordschleife production car record holder.

The limited edition Lamborghini Aventador SVJ 63.

To commemorate Lamborghini’s 1963 founding year, the limited edition SVJ 63 special was unveiled in a white colourway with “rich use of carbon fibre”. Only 63 examples will be available, but if you didn’t want to stand out that much, there will be 837 other regular Aventador SVJs awaiting your garage. 

McLaren 600LT by MSO

The MSO-redesigned McLaren 600LT.

It was only a matter of time before McLaren handed over the blueprint of the 600LT to its McLaren Special Operations team. Spec-ed specifically to make its “track animal loose on the road” even more deadly, the Stealth Grey car comes with a matte black and orange exterior pack that subtly highlights the enhanced aerodynamics of the car. Carbon fibre upgrades include an F1 Longtail-inspired air intake scoop on the roof for more downforce, alongside the front splitter, diffuser and engine cover. And surely the glossy black 10-spoke wheels are the icing on this Batmobile-approved cake. 

The McLaren 600LT by MSO will borrow carbon fibre seats from the Senna — with matching orange stitching — and an upgraded Bowers & Wilkins sound system for extra oomph on the road.

Bugatti Divo

The Bugatti Divo.

If you thought the Bugatti team high-fived one another, called it a day and packed up for a mass sun-soaked vacation at Capri after unveiling the Chiron Sport, you couldn’t more wrong. Barely five months later, it’s managed to one up its scarlet devil with the Bugatti Divo, the latest road-going hypercar in its stable. Named after two-time Targa Florio winner Albert Divo, the car was specifically designed to be a “driver’s car” that’s “made for corners”. These buzzwords are especially reassuring when you’re at the wheel of a 1,479hp car.

The Divo uses the same 8.0-litre W16 engine as the Chiron, but it’s now 35kg lighter and has 90kg more downforce. Dynamic tweaks like the roof that’s designed to create an air duct, a wider rear spoiler, and a more pronounced rear diffuser help with the apex domination Bugatti’s been bragging about. Top speed, however, is limited to a lower 380kph compared to the Chiron’s 420kph, for the self-preserving purpose of keeping the tyres intact throughout your run.

All 40 of the Bugatti Divo were sold out at launch — hardly surprising with that stunning ‘Divo Racing Blue’ and ‘Divo Grey’ colourway. 

Porsche 911 Turbo ‘Project Gold’

The Porsche 911 Turbo ‘Project Gold’.

The 993 — the last air-cooled 911 — ended an era two decades ago at Porsche when the 996 Series and its water-cooled engine took over. Considered to be one of the best amongst Porschephiles for getting the formula of modern technology and air-cooled heritage just right, it was notably the one of the best 911s ever created. Luckily, Porsche has managed to find enough parts of this old boy lying around, creating a gilded track-only, one-off that will be auctioned to a very lucky millionaire. 

Named “Project Gold” — in line with 70th anniversary celebrations — the Golden Yellow Metallic car features the same colourway as the limited edition 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series, as do the alloy wheels and interior stitching. Underneath, Porsche replicated the 993 Turbo S of yore to a tee, outfitting a 450hp twin-turbo 3.6-litre flat-six with manual transmission to the all-wheel drive system. 

For a firm that’s about to begin a new chapter with the all-electric Taycan, it’s nice to know that Porsche is still passionate about tradition. 

Shatricia Nair
Senior Writer
Shatricia Nair is a motoring, watches, and wellness writer who is perpetually knee-deep in the world of V8s, tourbillons, and the latest fitness trends. She is fuelled by peanut butter and three cups of coffee a day.