That is a great question. What is a supercar? I was pondering that very question this morning watching about one of Shmee150 video. Tim (Shmee) was driving a Audi TT-RS spider, or whatever it is they call their convertible / drop top variant. It accelerates 0-62 mph in 3.9 seconds. The TT-RS coupe dispatches that same sprint in an unbelievable 3.7 seconds. But are these two Audi’s supercars?
What makes a supercar, super?
Another great question. What makes a supercar, super? Is it speed? Is it power? Is it engine placement? Mid engine, front engine, etc? Is it material used to build the car? Is it overall performance as displayed on a race track? Is it price or exclusivity? Is it where its made? Are supercars only built in Italy? What about McLaren then? They are made in England. With so many different types of cars now offering very similar performance, the question become much more complex.
Not talking about the hey day of the American muscle car, the 1960’s.. its well known that those often did not handle corners very well, but were set up for straight line performance. Super Gran Turismo’s if you like. Able to cross States with comfort and ese, but not gas stations. Only a few could match a same era Ferrari for top end speed as well. The current or modern era of American muscle car is certainly track capable. Yes, even the heavy Dodge Challenger in the wide body, Red Eye, Hellcat specification. Both the Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang are available in variations up to and including very capable track weapons. What about the 840 horsepower Dodge Demon? The only production car in the world that can lift its front wheels off the ground at launch. Pretty epic stuff. The Grand Tour episode on this car was fun to watch. Yet somehow, these are not considered supercars. Why is that? Is it because they are American made?
Lotus, The Lightweight Choice
Ah! Here we go. Mid engine supercar that is still somewhat affordable to anyone who sets their mind to it. Good performance numbers. Good in that a small lightweight car can go very well with a Toyota supplied engine. Wait, what? Ok, a work horse of a motor, supplied by Toyota. Ask most people on this planet and they will agree that Toyota makes the most reliable cars, period. That should mean then, that you could boost those engines, trading some reliability for performance; and still have a supercar twice as reliable as its competitors. Yet… why does there seem to be a lack of ‘want’?! Does a supercar have to be notoriously unreliable and expensive to maintain to qualify for ‘want’? Let face it, in todays world, with modern engineering; there isn’t much left that is unreliable. Science has certainly advanced the cause of the automobile. Not just with power and efficiency, but with reliability in a huge way. Not to mention fit and finish.
Lamborghini, The Originator
Its widely accepted that Lamborghini built the worlds first proper supercar in the 1960’s. The Miura was a mid engine marvel of engineering and design. Of course it was designed and built in Italy, which by that time, already had a lock hold on sports car race results. Why though was that particular car called the first supercar? Did Ford build any GT40’s for the street during their dominance at Le Mans in the mid 1960’s? Anyway, I am starting to go off on a rabbit trail here. My point being it seems like the defining thing that makes a supercar super, is the mid engine lay out. Do you agree?
Supercar vs Hypercar
Have you noticed also in the last few years that supercar is no longer the top? An entirely new phrase was coined to make something already very special, more special. Enter, the hypercar. Who first said this? This comparison will take some more thought