Six-Figure Stickers Aren't Just For Imports AnymoreRemember when Chevy introduced the last Corvette ZR1 back in 2008? It carried a sticker price in excess of $100,000, and people balked at the idea of an American car with a six-figure sticker price. Sure, the ZR1 may have been capable of dicing it with imports twice as expensive. And there had been other American sports cars (like the Ford GT and Dodge Viper) that also crested the $100k mark. But the Corvette was always supposed to be something to which the average guy could aspire, and the ZR1 put it out of the common man's reach.
Fast forward eight years till today and it's not uncommon anymore to see new cars made right here in America nudging up against or even exceeding the six-figure mark. The interesting thing is that some of the most expensive among them, though built in the United States, are not made by American automakers. Call them imports or domestic, they're seriously pricey machinery. And what's more is that homegrown American automakers have been coming out with high-priced wheels as well, capable of keeping up with the imports... and carrying hefty stickers of their own.
Unthinkable? Maybe a decade or two ago, but not any more. Scroll through to see some of the most expensive cars sold, and made, here in the United States.
Hennessey Venom GT
Far and away, the most expensive car made in the United States is the Hennessey Venom GT. That is, if you only go by final assembly, because the Venom is based closely on the Lotus Exige that's made in Hethel, England. From there, however, Hennessey transforms it at its facility near Houston, TX, from a nimble little sports car into a fire-breathing monster capable of dicing it with the best from Bugatti and Koenigsegg. That includes rebuilding the rear half of the car to accommodate a massive 7.0-liter twin-turbo V8 producing over 1,200 horsepower. By the time the Texans are done with it, the finished Venom GT costs $1.1 million – or $1.2m in Spyder form.
The original Acura NSX was a Japanese take on a typically Italian form. But the new one is made right here in America. To handle assembly of the tech-intensive supercar, Honda built the new Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, OH – adjacent to the facilities where it makes the Accord, Acura ILX and TLX, and several of its larger motorcycles. Packing a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 hybrid powertrain and a nine-speed dual-clutch transmission, the new NSX is the very state of the art – and it's sticker price reflects that. Pricing starts at $157,800 (delivered), but check enough option boxes and you'll be cresting the $200k mark in the blink of an eye.
Dodge Viper ACR
You can get into a new Dodge Viper for about $90k, which already makes it the most expensive model made in America by an American automaker. But that's just the point of entry. Go for the top ACR model in all its unbridled mania and you'd better be prepared to spend over $118k, or nearly $150k with all the bells and whistles. The Viper is made at FCA's Conner Avenue Assembly Plant right in the heart of Detroit. It won't be produced at all for much longer, but as with the demise of the previous version, we hope a new Viper will follow in due course. Just don't expect it to come in any cheaper if and when it does.
Mercedes are made in Germany... right? Only that's not always the case. Especially when it comes to its SUVs. Never mind the G-Class that's made in Austria, and the R-Class that's incongruously made by AM General in Indiana solely for export to China: both the GLE and GLS are made at Daimler's assembly plant in Tuscaloosa, AL. But don't let their sweet-home-Alabama roots fool you: the big Benz crossovers can be mighty expensive, especially once you get into AMG territory. The GLE63 starts just under $100k, and the GLS63 cracks $125k. Select enough option boxes and it'll run over $140k.
BMW X6 M
Daimler isn't the only German automaker producing its crossovers in the American South. So too does BMW, building both the X5 and X6 in Spartanburg, SC. And like its rivals, the Bavarian-Americans can run into big bucks. The top-spec X5 M starts at just under $100k, and its slant-backed counterpart the X6 M starts just over that line. Go for the fully loaded model and you'll be looking at over $120k for a vehicle made in the Palmetto State.
Tesla Model S and X
Ever since the debut Roadster hit the scene in 2010 with a $109k price tag, getting behind the wheel of a Tesla has never been a cheap affair. The forthcoming Model 3 aims to democratize the prospect considerably, but until it does, the Model S and Model X (built at the former GM/Toyota plant in Freemont, CA) are about as pricey as an American car can get. You can get a new Model S 60 for less than $53k (after all incentives are applied), but the top-spec P90D sedan will set you back a princely $96,400, with the crossover topping out over $100k.
Cadillac has always stood for American luxury, its vehicles carrying suitably large price tags to go with the name. Today you can get into a new ATS sedan (made in Michigan) for under $35k, but from there things only get pricier. The current flagship is the CTS-V performance sedan (made at the same plant in Lansing), which starts out at $85k and tops out north of $100k. The Escalade sport-ute isn't far behind either. Built alongside the Chevy Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon in Arlington, TX, it starts at under $74k, but tops out over $100k, fully loaded in ESV Platinum trim with all the options.
Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Chevy didn't directly replace the ZR1 when it rolled out the current C7-generation Corvette, but that doesn't mean that it took the prospect of the $100k Vette off the table. Built in Bowling Green, KY, the Z06 that edge northwards to take its place starts at a hair over $80k. Go for the Z07 performance package, the build-your-own-engine experience, and the C7.R edition (pictured), and before you know it, you're looking once again at a $100k Corvette.
What about the new Ford GT?
With a price tag expected to hover around $450,000, the new Ford GT is slated to become the most expensive car ever offered by a major American automaker. Unlike the NSX, though, it won't be built in the United States. Dearborn's new supercar is being built on its behalf by Multimatic at its facility in the Canadian province of Ontario. That's a very different strategy from the previous model, which was put together at a variety of facilities across the United States: initial assembly was undertaken by Mayflower Vehicle Systems in Norwalk, OH, with the remaining steps completed in Michigan: painting by Saleen in Troy, engine assembly in Romeo, and final assembly in Wixom. The latter is the same location that built the MkIV GT40 back in the '60s, the previous three versions having been put together in the UK.