What defines a supercar from an equally fast and priced performance car? Well first off, a simple blip of the gas should be enough to panic an elderly lady into dropping her shopping bags. Second, their blueprints should look as though they took inspiration from Picasso, a cubist nightmare of wild angles and sharp edges. It must look angry and poised, ready to kill, just as it should appear sleek and capable of avoiding radar detection.
On starting its engine there should be a moment of trepidation and fear as though waking a sleeping dragon, followed by pure exultation as you pull away. Ultimately, it should strain your smiling muscles whilst simultaneously straining the neck muscles of pedestrians as they turn to gawp, either in surprise, curiosity, jealousy/hatred, but hopefully in admiration of a design/mechanical masterpiece.
Take the latest Porsche 911 Turbo, for instance, and line it up against a similarly priced Lamborghini Gallardo – whilst the Porsche would most likely win on a track, to a passerby the Porsche looks like any other Porsche, whilst a Lamborghini is loud and garish, a West End musical on wheels.
Listed below are the top 10 CURRENT supercars that fulfill all the criteria needed to earn the title “Supercar”.
I’ll start off with a car that clearly meets all the requirements to be called a supercar. Just look at the picture; it looks poisonous, as though simply touching it would have the same affect as running your finger down the back of a poisonous frog. Although sleek, this German creation is ugly in a good way; it’s a 641-bhp mean and angry machine with a power to weight ratio of a silly 551-bhp per ton. Scary to look at, even scarier to drive.
Ferrari 458 Italia
This stallion earns its title from its blend of technology and style. The driver’s driver will appreciate its perfect balance, sharp steering and hard acceleration, whilst anyone else who pushes its limits will feel safe thanks to some of its gadgetry. Ferrari have installed their soul in the 458, from the sweet engine note to those gorgeous lines running from front wheel arch to rear.
Some of you may wonder why a Nissan has made the list, even if it is the almighty GT-R. Whilst it’s not as expensive as most supercars, it still costs a few quid, and it leaves most of the pack behind in a cloud of smoke. The GT-R is a constantly evolving machine, analyzed by clever Japanese engineers until honed to driving perfection. Affectionately referred to as “Godzilla” by the tuning community, the GT-R is a complex mix of mind-bending and G-force creating technology. As I said in the intro, track times don’t necessarily gain the “supercar” tag, but take a look at this monster. It’s extremely aggressive, it’s sleek, and its rear end is something to behold.
Mercedes SLS AMG GT
As they say: “A picture speaks a thousand works”. The AMG GT backs up its supercar reputation complimenting its beautiful and elegant looks with a ridiculous amount of power – 583-bhp! If its looks don’t attract attention, it will announce its presence in the form of an almighty 6.3L V8 thunderclap.
For £97,000, Jaguar offered a car with as much power as their legendary XJ220, an impressive 542-bhp. Jaguar took the standard XKR and threw stiffer springs at it, added wider tyres and lighter wheels. Its new active exhaust is loud and crisp, this big cat’s roar heard from miles around. Like all the new era Jags, the XKR is a stunning looking car, but with the bigger wheels and aggressive aerodynamic enhancements, the S looks like it really means business.
It’s low, it’s wide, its rear meshed cooling louvres and carbon fibre wing make it look as though this 625-bhp rocket belongs on a racetrack. And maybe it should; there is no soundproofing to mute its V8 heart and no air conditioning, a fire extinguisher and FIA approved roll cage taking their place. The coolest thing about this car is the fact you can hit 60-mph in under 3 seconds legally on the road.
Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera
The picture pretty much sums up Lamborghini’s raging bull. In fact, any car with the Lamborghini badge automatically gains the supercar honours just from looks alone. Ever since the supercar godfather Countach rolled off the production line, boys were plastering posters of it on their bedroom walls, loving a car that looked as though it had mated with a Star Wars Kom’rk-class fighter. This Gallardo not only looks like it could break the sound barrier, it makes the sound of a sonic boom from its massive 5.2L V10.
This is Sweden’s offering, another low, wide and sleek car that looks as slippery as an eel. It’s carbon fibre and Kevlar body makes it light, and its contours means its drag coefficient is a tiny 0.30. Combine this ultra light and slippery body with a twin-turbo engine capable of boosting to 17.5-psi and you end up with an 806-bhp bullet capable of hitting 200-kph in 9.8 seconds. People may only witness this car as a blur, but they’ll hear the blur long after it’s out of sight.
Pagani Zonda F
I consider the Zonda as the queen of supercars because, aside from its giant 7.0L AMG V12, it’s simply beautiful. If it took human form it would have the face of Eva Mendes, the torso of Maria Sharapova and the rear of Jennifer Lopez. Its engine’s vocal range begins with a heavy guttural rumble to an all out open-throat bellow, rising to a 7000-rpm manic howl. This certainly is the queen of supercars, the Queen Elizabeth I of the auto world, “Off with his head!”
Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
We’ve seen the queen; now it’s time to meet the king. Since 2005 Bugatti’s extraordinary feat of technology has been the star of the show. The Veyron is brought to life by an 8.0L W16 quad-turbocharged heart beating out 1200-bhp. It requires 10 radiators to prevent it from over heating. It’s low drag co efficiency of 0.36 combined with a power to weight ratio of 440-bhp per ton put it in the Guinness Book Of Records for breaking the speed record (269.80-mph), setting the benchmark for further attempts. Whilst this record has been broken by the Hennessy Venom GT, the Veyron has always been the car to beat, not just in top speed but also in build quality. The Veyron is a heavy contender, but despite this, it still performs, and travelling at 250-mph is a solid affair thanks to its German engineering. The King ticks all the “supercar” boxes, a monster of a machine, which exudes elegance and grace.
Whilst “Top 10s” are always subjective, I understand some may cry out in despair as they see I’ve left cars out. If it were a Top 20, I’d have added the rest of the best, but for this Top 10, the cars needed to combine both head-turning looks with staggering power. The McLaren P1, the Audi R8 and the various Aston Martins are supercars in their own right, but they aren’t outrageous in appearance. The Venom GT would’ve made the top 15, but it’s over shadowed by the Veyron’s formidable 8-year presence. There’s the Ford GT-40, but that’s been around for a while now, and then there’s the line where “super” meets “hyper”, but that’s for another time.