What Makes a vehicle a Supercar?

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A supercar is a luxury, high-performance sports car or grand tourer. It's a term these days that's so casually used it seems that nobody really knows what the true meaning is anymore.

There aren’t just a few brands making insanely high-performance, high-design vehicles anymore.

It is also important to know that the term supercar refers to factory-built, usually unmodified, street-legal cars. Heavily modified and potentially street – illegal vehicles do not fall into the supercar category. Supercars are not muscle cars or tuned up sports cars. And there is no such thing as a cut price supercar. A supercar is a car that combines speed, handling, unique design and represents the pinnacle of the automaker’s art. Supercar is the car equivalent of a supermodel or a race horse. There are, off course, some basic criteria for measuring whether a car should be considered a supercar or not. Things to consider: design, acceleration, top speed, handling, power-to-weight ratio, style, rarity, price – all of these has to be super in a supercar.

Supercar vs Hypercar

Hundreds of horsepower, million-dollar price tags, lap times that make most race cars blush — these are supercars. They’re the top range of today’s performance cars, and the specs they boast outshine the best of previous year’s race cars. The term “supercar” is a catch-all first used in the London newspaper The Times back in 1920 to help describe the incredible 6.7-liter Ensign 6. Today, the term is used to describe cars with the best performance, technology and design that the automotive industry has to offer. Then there is the term “hypercar”, coined to qualify the top one percent of supercars. All hypercars are supercars, but not all supercars are hypercars, and while the qualifiers that allow a car to be elevated out of supercar territory and into the hypercar pantheon aren’t obvious, it’s clear with a few examples.

As a personal preference, we don’t really use the term “hypercar” while we prefer supercar as a catchall term to describe ultra-exotic high-performance cars. Nevertheless, many exotic car fanatics insist that there should be a distinction between the two and continue using the two terms when they deem it appropriate. We know the basic definition of a hypercar as defined and accepted by most car guys, but first let’s start with the meaning of what is a supercar. We would consider the definition of a supercar to be an eye catching factory stock car which accelerates faster and is more expensive than at least 98% of the other cars manufactured in the same year. Although this supercar definition is what we believe to be acceptable, it is subjective and therefore widely disputed among performance car enthusiasts.

Differentiating the type of experiences sports cars, supercars, and hypercars offer is completely subjective. For me, sports cars are delicate driving machines, capable of providing great, approachable fun in entry level offerings, with more expensive cars being set up for optimum handling balance; supercars are usually more powerful, and therefore can be more keen to drift in professional hands; while hypercars push the boundaries of what’s possible, and therefore can be rather intimidating, requiring the taming input of an expert.