Ride of your life: 10 best supercar brands
First open the door. It may be carbon fiber. Perhaps it is rising rather than flourishing. Then slip – always far – into a sumptuous racing-style leather seat. The raw appeal of the supercar holds a special place in any tanker’s dream garage.
From old stagers like Ferrari to screaming V12 machines from Gordon Murray, the choice is as wide as your pockets will need to be deep. We’ve rounded up ten top supercar brands for your viewing pleasure. Their products may cost the equivalent of a suburban house, but then what house can travel steadily at 240 km/h?
The best supercar brands of all time
Legend has it that Ferruccio Lamborghini, then a tractor builder, ordered his first supercar because of Ferrari’s indifferent service. This low-level feud produced definitive supercars such as the Lamborghini Miura, perhaps the first of its kind, and the Countach, resident of so many teenage walls. Now owned by Audi, every Lambo remains an attention-grabbing statement of intent, whether it’s a V10 Huracán or a screaming V12 Aventador.
Horacio Pagani compares himself more to a bespoke tailor than to a car manufacturer. Its supercars lack nothing in detail – or even drama, the extravagant hand-stitched interiors as much a signature as the squared-off rear quad exhaust and the irresistible V12 engine note. The Zonda has become a celebrity favorite, while its successor, the Huayra, is still available in an even messier-than-usual R form, a track-only monster.
The venerable Italian manufacturer is in for yet another revival with the MC20, “world-class – fast, thrilling, engaging” in the words of Autocar. Behind the famous trident emblem is the Modenese company’s first carbon fiber monocoque clad in sculptural bodywork with an all-new mid-mounted twin-turbo V6 to do the “thrilling”. It’s part of a supercar’s business to look the part and there’s no doubt that – this time around – Maserati pulled it off.
When Bugatti unveiled the Veyron, the first car of a new era owned by VW, there was an inspiration among petrolheads everywhere that was almost audible by the roar of the Veyron’s W16 engine, capable of propelling her to speeds of over 250 mph. . The first Bugattis were the most successful sports/racing cars of the 1920s and 1930s. Their 21st century descendants are beautifully appointed, handcrafted land rockets. The Veyron’s successor, the Chiron, is still available to order.
Gordon Murray’s McLaren F1 was so lacking in compromise that gold leaf covered the engine bay because it’s the best at deflecting heat. In a similar vein, Gordon Murray Automotive’s two new hand-built supercars – the T.33 and T.50 – are each powered by a unique V12 designed by Formula 1 serial champions Cosworth. The design reflects classic 1960s sports car styling. Sophisticated aerodynamics mean there’s no need for unsightly fenders. GMA says they are the last of the breed. If so, one last triumphant hurray.
The multiple Formula 1 world champions established themselves as supercar builders in a very short time, starting in 2011. Choose from their special editions – such as the windshieldless Elva roadster or the sleek Speedtail – or opt for for the more everyday appeal of a 720S or Artura. The base is a bespoke carbon fiber shell and the idea is that these are really machines designed for both a quick shopping spree at the supermarket and a very quick run to your seaside home in Cannes. Woking is the best.
Lotus founder Colin Chapman liked to tell his designers to “simplify, then add lightness”. The 2,000hp all-electric Evija, which should soon reach its first enthusiastic customers, is as complex as any supercar produced today and yet as forward-looking as Chapman has always liked to be. Pioneering aerodynamics channel air through giant ducts. There’s an electric motor for each wheel, and Lotus says the car will hit 185 mph in under nine seconds. Which is fast. Which the demanding Chapman would surely have approved.
Yes Audi. Best known for its high-end daily drivers – some would say smug. The company’s R8 is a very different animal, however, an exotic beast that has captured the hearts of automotive journalists and avid drivers. There’s Audi’s quattro four-wheel-drive system, a choice of V8 or V10 engines, a beautifully finished cabin and all the reliability of Ingolstadt’s more common showroom models. 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Jackie Ickx calls the R8 “the best-handling road car today” and who are we to argue? Think of it as a daily driver of up to 200 mph and you’re there.
Almost all Ferraris – with the possible exception of the company’s future SUV – are considered supercars, making Ferrari one of the best supercar brands of all time. But if you want to take it a step further, what about Ferrari’s Icona series of even more exclusive supercars? And specifically, can we humbly suggest the Daytona SP3? There’s a V12 right behind the Alcantara-covered molded racing seats – fitted with racing harnesses – and a targa roof so you can enjoy the open-air drive and howl of this remarkable engine. Gullwing doors complete the ultimate Ferrari supercar image.
You might think that Aston Martin produces grand touring cars for gentlemen, in the spirit of James Bond’s DB5. That remains true today – and then there’s the unbalanced Valkyrie. A collaboration with Red Bull Advanced Technologies and design input from resident Formula 1 guru Adrian Newey ensure that the goal of a Formula 1 car for the road will be achieved. A V12 and frankly stunning looks help. Q would like that.
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