Supercars, Hypercars, Megacars...
I think there’s a lot of misuse of the terms “supercar”, “hypercar” and “megacar”. Some people are calling hypercars megacars, others are calling supercars hypercars and some are calling sports cars or GTs supercars. So I’ll define what I consider each of these terms to be, plus a few others.
In general, a modern supercar has between 550 and 750 horsepower and weighs between 1000 and 1700kg. Lighter cars can get away with less power - a 911 GT3 RS has 500hp but is pretty light. They also have handling to match - a Hellcat is not a supercar! In most supercars, you’d expect bits of carbon fibre here and there - some higher-end ones (or anything coming from McLaren) will have a full carbon tub. Top speed is usually around 200mph; 0-60 is around 3 seconds.
Now, two things that I feel disqualifies a car from supercardom:
- Incomplete body or interior. An Ariel Atom is not a supercar - it’s a track car.
- Four full seats. A 2+2 is fine, but something with four full seats is a GT.
Examples of supercars (in my opinion, not an exhaustive list):
- McLaren 540C/570S/570GT/650S/675LT
- Porsche 911 Turbo/Turbo S/GT3 RS/R
- Ferrari 488GTB/F12berlinetta/F12tdf
- Lamborghini Huracan/Aventador (any trim, even the SV)
- Audi R8 V10/V10 Plus
- Mercedes AMG GT
- Honda/Acura NSX
- Dodge Viper
- Ford GT
- Aston Martin Vantage
Now, there are two cars whose place is heavily debated - the Nissan GTR R35 and the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Some say that they’re too common or accessible to be classified as supercars. Personally I’d include them, but it’s up to you. But a 911 Carrera is NOT a supercar - it’s a sports car (albeit a pretty darn good one). The line needs to be drawn somewhere.
The BMW i8 is also sometimes classed as a supercar - while it has many hallmarks of one (2+2 layout, mid-engined, expensive, lots of engineering), it simply isn’t fast enough in my opinion. Remember that it’ll get beaten on the 0-60mph run by an M3.
These tend to have 800+ horsepower, a 0-60 time well under 3 seconds and a top speed ranging anywhere from 215mph (for track-focused cars) to 270mph (for top speed focused cars). Many of them are hybrid, but this isn’t necessarily the case. They are pretty much exclusively 2-seaters. The vast majority of hypercars are limited-production - this limit tends to range anywhere from a few to 1000.
Examples of hypercars:
- Pagani Huayra
- McLaren P1
- Ferrari LaFerrari
- Porsche 918 Spyder
- Koenigsegg Agera (all trims apart from the One:1)
- Bugatti Veyron (all trims)
- Hennessey Venom
- Lamborghini Veneno/Centenario
- Rimac Concept One
I’ve seen the Aventador (even the base LP 700-4) often classed as a hypercar. While it may be able to compete on lap-times, it isn’t really exclusive or rare enough.
Luckily the definition of this is easy - it’s a car with more than 1 megawatt (1340hp) of power. Examples:
- Koenigsegg One:1
- Koenigsegg Regera
- Bugatti Chiron
- Rimac Concept S
- Nio EP9
Some other definitions
Grand Tourer / GT
These tend to be tamer than supercars, bridging the gap between them and the luxury segment. Usually they’re 2+2 seat, front engined coupes, but they can vary. They are luxurious inside and driveable for long periods of time.
- Almost the entirety of the Aston Martin range (of course, not the Vulcan)
- Ferrari FF/GTC4Lusso
- Ferrari California/California T
- Bentley Continental GT
These are non-road-legal (or so barely legal you wouldn’t want to drive them on the road) versions of supercars or hypercars. They’re usually stripped-down inside and therefore far lighter than their road-going versions. Examples:
- Ferrari FXX K
- McLaren P1 GTR
- Aston Martin Vulcan
- Lamborghini Sesto Elemento
Note again that these are based on hypercars. A Caterham 620R is simply a track car.
The term “hypercar” is rarely applied to the fastest cars of old - it tends to be simply supercar. This is often down to judgement - generally anything that pushed the bounds of what was believed possible at the time it was made is a supercar. Just use some discretion - don’t go slapping the supercar name on everything. An R34 is a great car, but it isn’t a supercar!
This content was originally posted by a Car Throttle user on our Community platform and was not commissioned or created by the CT editorial team.