Supercars are neither economical nor practical. The insurance costs alone ($4,000 a month for some) would likely bankrupt most people. And where would you feel safe parking one in a city? But the well-heeled feel compelled for some reason to buy them, and we at least get to look at them. After all, the great majority of them are very attractive.
The supercar-makers also employ top-notch engineers to get as much speed and luxury into such attractive packages as possible. What mechanical engineer wouldn’t want to work at Ferrari, Porsche, or one of the other supercar manufacturers? Plus, all the technology and expertise they develop eventually filters down to the rest of us if it proves useful or necessary.
It’s also interesting that the first four of these cars are hybrids. So even supercar makers and buyers are making the move toward a cleaner environment, right?
2015 Ferrari LaFerrari
Ferrari LaFerrari, a product of Italy’s famous sports car company, is one of a handful of hybrid supercars. The two-door vehicle is the first hybrid from Ferrari, and it gets about 14 mpg—a 40% drop in fuel consumption over other Ferraris, according to the company. It has a 6.3-liter V12 and a 120-kW motor sending power through a 7-speed dual clutch transmission, giving it a total of about 950 hp. LaFerrari’s top speed is 220 mph, and it can go from 0 to 60 mph in less than 2.5 sec. Only 209 of the cars will be built; 200 to be sold for about $1.4 million, and nine reserved for distribution to a select few on the firm’s 70th anniversary. The car’s name means “the Ferrari,” as in the definitive Ferrari.
2014 McLaren P1
The McLaren P1 was a limited production vehicle. Only 375 of the plug-in hybrids were sold at about $848,000. The car went on sale in October of 2013 and they were sold out by November of that same year. The car gets a top speed of 211 mph from its 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 and its McLaren-built 131 kW motor, giving it a total of 903 hp and a 0-to-60 mph time of 2.7 sec. For the battery, the P1 relies on a 324-cell lithium-ion high-density battery pack. The car’s all-electric range is 6.2 miles, and it takes two hours to fully charge the battery pack.
2015 Porsche 918 Spyder
The Porsche 918 Spyder—another plug-in hybrid—came in roadster and coupe models, and 918 were sold. The car is powered by a 4.6-liter V8, which generated 608 hp, and a pair of motors, a 115 kW motor for the rear axle and a 92 KW motor for the front. Overall, the sports car, which carries an $848,000 sticker price, boasts 887 hp. It can get up to 93 mph and travel up for 12 miles on all-electric power, but the true top speed is 211 mph, and it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 2.6 sec. In 2013, a 918 Spyder, one with the optional Weissach Package (which makes it 90 lb. lighter than the standard 918), set a record on the N12.8-mile Nȕrburgring course: 6:57. This made it the first street-legal car to complete the circuit under seven minutes.
2016 Koenigsegg Regera
The Regera (which means “to reign”), from Swedish carmaker Koenigsegg, is probably the most expensive plug-in hybrid around, with a base price of $1.89 million. It’s also probably the most complex. It has a 5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that cranks out 1,100 hp, most of it a high rpm. To provide power at lower rpms, the car’s three electric motors kick in. Two of them, each with 180 kW (241 hp), drive the rear wheels and provide torque vectoring. The third motor, with 160 kW (215 hp), acts as a starter/generator and supplies toque (torque fill) at low rpms. All the power gets fed to the rear wheels through a Direct Drive System; there is no conventional transmission. Instead, the crankshaft of the gas engine directly feeds into a single-speed fixed-gear gearbox with a 2.73 reduction ratio. And at speeds below 30 mph and in reverse, the rear-wheel motors handle much of the load. The motors get power from a 4.5-KWh, 800-V liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack that weighs 165 lb., making it the first 800-v production car. The car has a top speed of 255 mph, and 0-to-60 mph times of 2.7 sec. Only 80 of these exotic hybrids will be built.
Aston Martin DB11
The DB11, one of the few supercars with a backseat (though it’s rumored to be quite small), clocks in as one of the more affordable cars in this category with a base price of “just” $214,820. That gets you a twin turbocharged, 5.2-liter V12 and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The 600-hp engine gives the rear-wheel drive coupe a top speed of 200 mph and a 0 to 60 mph time of 3.9 sec. Aston Martin also released a V8-powered DB 11. It cut a little over 250 lb. from the car’s weight and lowered the horsepower to 503 hp. This version has a top speed of 186 mph and goes from 0 to 60 in 4 sec.
2017 Bugatti Chiron
If money is no object, the Bugatti Chiron and its $2.7 million price tag might appeal to you. It comes with an 8-liter W16 (which is two V8s side by side) with four turbochargers. The powerplant puts out 1,500 hp through a seven-speed dual clutch transmission, which gives it a top speed (electronically limited) of 261 mph and a 0-t-to-60 mph time of 2.5 sec. The all-wheel-drive car has a carbon-fiber body. The car is named after Louis Chiron, a highly successful racecar driver who drove for Bugatti before going to Alfa Romeo.
2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Here’s the bargain in this list of supercars, the 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Its base price is a “mere” $175,900. (You could get 15 of these cars for the price of the previous one.) It comes equipped with a 4-liter naturally-aspirated flat six that creates 500 hp. Top speed is 193 mph and 0-to-60 mph time s 3.2 sec.
2017 Hennessey Venom GT
Engineers at Hennessey Performance Engineering in Texas souped up a Lotus Exige and transformed it into the Venom GT, the car that set the Guinness World Record for fastest production car from 0 to 186 mph (or 300 km/hr). It took 13.63 sec. Getting to 60 mph from a standing start takes only 2.8 sec. The car would also grab the Guinness record for fastest production car if 30 of them get sold (the lowest number of sales to qualify as a production car). Its top speed is at least 270 mph. This $1.2 million car’s get-up-and-go comes from a 7-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 generating 1,244 hp. The team is now working on a Venom F5. It will have larger turbochargers and intercoolers and a new body with less drag. They’re hoping for 1,500 hp and a top speed of 290 mph.
2015 McLaren 650s
The McLaren 650S, an upgrade of the car company’s MP4-12C, carries the same McLaren 3.8-liter twin turbocharged V8, but the ante’s been upped. It now has 641 hp and 500 ft.-lb. of torque. The $269,200 car can go from 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 sec. and has a top speed of 207 mph. The car is built around a carbon-fiber reinforced polymer chassis. There’s also a convertible version of this two-door coupe, the 650S Spyder. It weighs 88 lb. more but has similar performance numbers; top speed is 204 mph and it goes from 0 to 60 mph in 3 sec.
Aston Martin One-77
The Aston Martin One-77, a $1.4 million coupe, has a top speed of 220 mph and goes from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, thanks to its naturally aspirated 750-hp, 7.3-liter V12. The car has a beautifully sculpted aluminum body mounted on a carbon-fiber monocoque chassis. There were 77 of these beauties built, hence the name.