I agree entirely with the train of thought presented in the Supercar article. Except for one thing. I don’t think that Maserati makes a supercar. The GranTurismo is too comfortable, too slow, too practical, has too many luxuries, and has too many seats. If I could have any one car, it would probably be the GranTurismo S, but that’s assuming that I couldn’t have any other car. If I was given the option of two, I’d buy something practical, but relatively fun, and a supercar. Actual supercars after the jump.
I think “supercar” needs definition though. A supercar’s primary focus is performance. Comfort, luxury, and your friends are all secondary concerns. I propose this as a list of supercar criteria:
- It must be midengined. This reduces the moment of inertia of the car, making it easier to turn. This also means it’s unlikely that you can bring more than one friend along for the ride, or fit more than an apple in the trunk.
- The maximum number of seats is two. If there are any more, the car is larger than it needs to be.
- The suspension cannot be very comfortable. If it’s very comfortable, the engineers weren’t single-mindedly pursuing performance.
- The engine should be custom designed for the car. If it’s stolen from a Volkswagen Jetta, something is wrong.
- It should be rare and expensive, and look the part. If it looks like a Volkswagen Jetta, cost as much as one, or is as common as one, it’s out .
- It must be fast. But not just fast, stupidly fast.
- Lastly, it must be beautiful. It must speak to the soul. It should have a personality.
Recently I wrote an article on the Hennessey Corvette ZR1, which looked really fast, and not bad looking to boot. It’s not jaw-droppingly beautiful, but it’s fairly pretty. Hennessy also says that a faster version (1000 hp) is in the works. This is good. The problem is that it is still a Corvette, which means it doesn’t turn well. To make a 90 degree turn at more than 3.1 kph in a ‘vette one has to spin the car 450 degrees. The rear tires just refuse to grip the road in those things. A lot of this is a product of poor weight distribution in Corvettes, but I hoped they had tried to fix that for this one, so I looked it up. 52/48. If it had been 48/52 it might have turned out ok for the beast, but the ZR1 will handle as poorly as any other Corvette. That can be written off.
Next option: the Dodge Viper. It’s made by Chrysler so there’s no way in hell I’m coming close to it.
I have always preferred my vehicles the way I prefer my war villains… fascist. So I’m going to start ignoring the Americans and focus on former Axis nations. First up, Japan.
Japanese auto makers don’t seem to be too interested in the supercar arena. For the most part, they are happy to pump out loads of ultra-reliable four-doors, pull in giant bags of money, and go home richer every day. For the most part, I think of the Nissan GT-R, which goes a respectable 311 kph, and hits 100 kph in 3.2 seconds. It’s not too exciting to look at though, so I think I’ll move on to Italy.
Italy is the land of the supercar, home to Ferrari, Pagani, and Lambourghini. As such, it’s clearly a fun place to be. Ferrari is definitely the most elegant of the three that popped into my head, whereas the other two have different appeals to them. I’ll start with Ferrari. My favourite model is probably the 599. It oozes class, it’s bloody fast, hitting 100 kph in 3.7 seconds and topping out at 330 kph, and it’s a Ferrari, so we know it will turn brilliantly. Next up is the Pagani Zonda, which is a technical masterpiece, but visually just isn’t my cup of tea. If you like it, I won’t hold it against you, but I’m not a fan. Lamborghini, on the other hand (third hand?), has a certain appeal to it. Even though a Lambo is crass and even somewhat offensive in comparison to a Ferrari, the fact that it’s made by a tractor company gone berzerk gives it about a million cool points. This also explains that awful yellow colour they like so much. Bright yellow is a perfectly normal colour for a tractor. Even though the fighter-jet styling of a Lambo is striking, they looks ridiculous on the street, so I’ll stick with the Ferrari.
Now for zee Germans. Porsche has to be mentioned, but most people cannot tell one Porsche from another, so even if you spend three times as much as the next guy, nobody can tell that you have a supercar and he just has a sports car. The McLaren is nice and fast, plus can be had for $45,000 USD, but they also just don’t excite me as much as other supercars.
How about a Bugatti Veyron? It develops 1000 hp, goes 400 kph, does 0-100 kph in 2.7 seconds (not a typo), and needs an air-brake… like a jet. The Veyron has a W16 with quad-turbos and is a roaring slap in Newton’s face. This supercar makes almost all other supercars look like Yugos, and while it isn’t the fastest in the world anymore, it looks better than the SCC Ultimate Aero and is certainly more usable. It’s also the most expensive car ever made, and is inspiring in just about every way. The most amazing thing about it is that, by all acounts, the thing is actually stable at 380 kph. To top it all off though, in the motoring world it’s a legend. More so than a Koenigsegg or an SCC. If I were given the opportunity to own any supercar, it would have to be the most legendary. It would be like owning the death star, but much faster, and less genocidal.