Plenty of tuners and even the occasional manufacturer like to say their vehicles are “race cars for the street.” Fast, frenetic and filled with go-fast parts, they often prove to be more show than go. Spend any time behind the wheel of a Saleen S7 Twin Turbo, however, and you’ll quickly realize that this car is definitely for real. An updated version of the normally aspirated S7, which in S7R guise has won countless sports and endurance racing championships, this twin-turbocharged iteration takes the S7 to an even higher level of performance.
Pumping out 750 bhp and 700 lb.-ft. of torque via 7.0 liters of displacement and twin turbochargers, this most evolved of S7s boasts power output that not only eclipses the S7R race car, but also most everything else on the road. Yet thanks to its massive rear tires, race-derived suspension and downforce-generating bodywork, this beast is also able to put its power to the ground. Admittedly, 1st and 2nd gears require a subtle touch with the accelerator, but once into 3rd, the body’s downforce helps keep those 345/30ZR-20 rear tires stuck to the asphalt.
The S7 Twin Turbo’s 3.3-second 0–60-mph time is identical to the last S7 we tested, but it stomps it in the quarter mile, gaining 1.2 sec. on its normally aspirated predecessor with a run of 10.6 sec. at 139.8 mph. That’s sport-bike territory and faster than any production car we’ve had the opportunity to point our test gear at.
Away from the track, the Twin Turbo benefits from five years of evolution and thoughtful tuning throughout. Compared with early S7s, this latest example enjoys better interior fit and finish, more positive gear engagement, a better ride and improved high-speed stability. Subtle changes to the cabin have produced a much more upmarket driving environment, where leather and suede bathe the interior in a richness missing from earlier models. Also new is a rearview video camera that displays on the DVD/TV screen in the center of the dash.
Dynamically, the S7 Twin Turbo handles like the race-derived machine it is. Suspension tweaks have improved both ride quality and overall composure, while aerodynamic changes have further optimized the body’s lift-to-drag ratio. Consequently, the car feels slightly less darty on uneven surfaces and more composed at speed. And as has always been the case with the S7, there’s no perceptible pitch or roll when cornering, and the brakes remain rock-solid no matter how hard they’re used.
Is the S7 Twin Turbo a race car for the street? Absolutely. So much so that few of us will ever experience its Le Mans-bred capabilities on public roads. But at the same time, it’s exciting to know where its pavement-shredding performance comes from. Now with even more power under its carbon-fiber hatch, the S7 Twin Turbo leaves little doubt as to who owns the American supercar crown.