It’s clear to almost anyone that cars like the Lamborghini Gallardo or Ferrari 458 Italia are different than most other cars we see everyday. But is there a difference within the world of luxury cars themselves? Hundreds of terms are thrown around each day to describe the outrageous performance of these cars. In the upper echelons of luxury car performance, things often get unclear; we tend to use terms like “exotic car”, “supercar”, and “hypercar” interchangeably while in practice they tend to be very different types of cars.
Often the most disputed term used, what makes a car classified as an “Exotic”. Is it a a car with over 600 horsepower? Is it a car in a certain price bracket? Is it a car with a limited production level? It’s all of these and none of these – the term “Exotic Car” really gets applied when its fan base owners say it is.
In our eyes, an Exotic Car is a rare car that you do not see very often – they’re not quite in the realm of a Supercar when it comes to price, performance, and availability, but they stand in a category of their own representing hundreds of cars that were predecessors to many of the Supercars & Hypercars we see today.
Hundreds of horsepower, multi-million dollar price tags, and lap times that make most race cars look like toys – welcome to the realm of Supercars. They’re in the top range of today’s cars, and with specifications & features they boast that outperform the best of last years race cars. In the early 1920’s, the term “supercar” helped to describe the new 6.7-liter Ensign 6 – today, the term is used to describe the very best cars with the top performance, technology, and design that the automotive industry makes available.
While Supercars are best defined with having the common characteristics of performance, technology, design, and price – they don’t need to have all four characteristics to qualify. For example, the Corvette C7 Z06 puts out amazing lap times and design but only costs $80,000. Then the McLaren 650S has various design elements shared with the P1, but offers nothing more in the way of cutting-edge technology, and it is also a Supercar. Then there are simple cars like the Ariel Atom V8, with very basic design and low cost, yet it can outrun most Supercars on a track.
To get the status of being a “Hypercar”, a vehicle has to meet all the characteristics of a “Supercar” and push the boundaries of performance, technology, and design – the term “Hypercar” is reserved to qualify the top one percent of Supercars. All Hypercars are Supercars, but not all Supercars are Hypercars – it may be unclear what allows a car to be elevated out of Supercar territory so we’ve provided a few examples.
The McLaren P1, Ferrari La Ferrari, and Porsche 918: all of which are near 1,00 horsepower, include first-class new-age technology, million-dollar price tags, and stunning designs / performance unrivalled by any other car. It becomes clear that almost every aspect of a Hypercar exhibits an advancement in automotive technology and places them high amongst the motoring totem pole.