Wikicars, a place to share your automotive knowledge

Jump to: navigation, search

A supercar is a term used for a sports car, typically an exotic or rare one, whose performance is highly superior to its contemporary sports cars. The proper application of this term is subjective and disputed, especially among enthusiasts. In addition, the use of the term is dependent on the era; a vehicle that is considered to be a supercar at one time may not retain its superiority in the future. Nonetheless, the automotive press frequently calls new exotic cars "supercars". Also see the list of supercars to help understand the term subjectively.


Performance criteria

Supercars have the acceleration and top speed above average sportscars.Usually the speed standard of being a supercar changes by time.Modern supercars must travel 0-60 mph in under 4 seconds in order to be classified as supercar.

Power-to-weight ratio

Most supercars have high engine power and low vehicle weight, for the sake of high acceleration (see Newton's Second Law) and good handling dynamics. For example, the 2004 Porsche Carrera GT carries just five pounds per horsepower (3 kg/kW) — compare this to the Porsche Boxster which hauls nearly 12 lb/hp (7.1 kg/kW). The McLaren F1, introduced in 1991 and widely considered as one of the fastest supercars of the 20th century, produced 627.1 hp (467.6 kW) against a weight of 2513 pounds (1140 kg), translating to 4 lb/hp. Certain vehicles have a high power-to-weight ratio despite having a heavy weight, due to a powerful engine output. For example, the Bugatti Veyron carries 4.3 lb/hp despite weighing 4299 pounds (1950 kg), including fuel[1], due to its 1001 hp (746 kW) engine. The Rimac Concept electric car produces 1088 combined hp (one electric motor at each wheel) carrying 1650 kg (3.34 lb/hp). The Koenigsegg CCR and Koenigsegg CCX have the highest power-to-weight ratio among production supercars, with 806 hp (601 kW) (on California grade 91 octane gasoline) and a weight of just 2601 pounds (1180 kg) the Koenigsegg carries only 3.2 lb/hp. According to the Shelby Super Cars website, the Ultimate Aero TT holds the new production record, carrying a mere 2.33 lbs/hp.


Supercars, by the usual definition, have extremely quick acceleration compared to most vehicles, including ordinary sports cars. Some current expectations are as follows:

  • 0 to 60 mph (96.56 km/h): Under 4 seconds for virtually all supercars today. The Bugatti Veyron Super Sport has a 0 to 60 time of 2.5 seconds, the Hennessey Venom GT, introduced in 2011, has a 0-60 time of 2.5 seconds, matching the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, the McLaren F1 has a 0-60 of 3.2 seconds and the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 has a 0 to 60 time of 3.3 seconds.
  • 0 to 100 mph (160.9 km/h): Under 10 seconds is generally recognized as the minimum, with undisputed supercars being significantly faster. The Ferrari Enzo, introduced in 2002, has a 0 to 100 mph time of approx. 6.5 seconds. A McLaren F1 could achieve the same in 6.3 seconds.
  • 0 to 200 mph (322 km/h): Under 30 seconds. McLaren F1 28 seconds, Saleen S7 23 seconds, Bugatti Veyron Super Sport 22 seconds, Hennessey Venom GT 15.3 seconds.
  • Standing Quarter-Mile (402.3 meters): Under 13 seconds is arguably a requirement, as is a trap or terminal speed of at least 110 mph (177 km/h).
    • The Ferrari Enzo completes the quarter mile from a stop in about 11.1 seconds at 133 mph (214 km/h).
    • The Koenigsegg CCR, introduced in 2004, is officially claimed to run the quarter mile in "9 seconds, end speed 235 km/h (146 mph)" [2]
  • Standing Mile : Trap (terminal) speed of at least 180 mph. eg. Hennessey Venom GT, Saleen S7, Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, Pagani Zonda, Koenigsegg CCR, McLaren F1, Ferrari FXX

Top Speed

Undisputed supercars can generally exceed 200 mph, but must exceed 180mph. The fastest models today have speeds exceeding 250 mph (400 km/h).

  • On March 31, 1998, the McLaren F1 XP5 prototype set the speed record at 386.3 km/h (240.1 mph) at 7800 rpm. The production models are normally limited to 7500 rpm, giving a top speed around 231 mph. The car was driven by Andy Wallace on the 9 km straight at Volkswagen's Ehra test track in Wolfsburg, Germany.
  • On February 28, 2005, the Koenigsegg CCR with 601 kW (806 hp) achieved a top speed of 387.87 km/h (241.01 mph) on default settings. The car was driven on Italy's Nardo Prototipo proving ground, a circular track with a circumference of 12.5 km. This exceeded the McLaren's record.[3]
  • In October, 2005, Car and Driver magazine's editor Csaba Csere test drove the final production version of the Veyron for the November 2005 issue. This test, at Volkswagen's Ehra-Lessien test track, reached a top speed of 407 km/h (253 mph). The Veyron can also do 0-300 km/h (186 mph) in just under 19 seconds[4].
  • In 2011, Hennessey tested the Hennessey Venom GT and achieved a world record top speed of 275 miles per hour, beating the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport's top speed of 268 miles per hour. Using only the engine from a Corvette ZR1 no less...

Stopping ability

An increasingly common measure of overall performance — demanding both good acceleration and good brakes is the 0-100-0 mph test in which the vehicle is accelerated from a standing start to 100 mph and then brought back to a dead stop. Several modern supercars can do this demanding feat in under 10 seconds.


In contrast to a sports car which simply has a more 'sporty' or involving handling than a normal sportscar, a supercar is usually built for maximum cornering and road gripping ability in order to achieve superior racing times. Lateral g-forces during the tightest turns can generally exceed 1 g.

A popular benchmark is a lap time around the Nürburgring of under 8 minutes.

Wrong point of view of supercars

Some people,especially young people,are too obsessed with street racing video games and movies such as Need for Speed and Fast and the Furious.As the result,they think supercars are made for street racing.However,this is not true as street racing is illegal.If the main purpose of selling supercar is for street racing then it should be illegal to sell it.Most supercar owners do not use supercars for street racing.The main purpose of supercar is for excitement,not street racing.


Hypercar is a term of cars in which the price and performance are above average supercars.Known examples are McLaren F1,Ferrari Enzo,Maserati MC12,and Bugatti Veyron.Hypercars are produced in a very limited number of production in order to add exclusitivity to the owner.Most hypercars have the heritage of classic cars,for example the Bugatti Veyron brings the heritage of the classic Bugatti models.

Examples of supercars

Other criteria

In addition to performance, the following criteria are also cited in determining if a particular sports car or exotic car deserves the supercar moniker:

  • Brand — Supercars are often very brandcentric (eg. Ferrari) and a new brand wanting to join the list has to prove itself before its acceptance.
  • Heritage- Most 60's and 70's classic muscle cars that have been brought back and ramped up in performence (ZR1, Z06, GT500, Camaro) are in the "disputed" supercars.
  • Styling — Supercars often feature groundbreaking styling elements. The Formula One-inspired Ferrari Enzo, for example, set a new styling direction for that company.
  • Focused design — Supercars are not designed to be practical transportation devices, with functionality varying widely between different examples. Many car body styles (including 2+2 coupe(Nissan GT-R), station wagon(Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Estate), and pickup truck(Dodge Ram SRT 10)) make inherent tradeoffs of performance potential for utility. By this measure, extreme vehicles like the Dodge Ram SRT 10 are not normally called supercars (in the case of Dodge Ram SRT-10, it is classified as a truck, not car, so the car-based description would not fit anyway). While one undisputed supercar, the McLaren F1, featured seating for three (and had a number of useful storage spaces), performance was not sacrificed, but instead improved by the seating design: the driver's central position lowered the vehicle's polar moment of inertia and increased its turning ability.
  • Price — The cost of acquiring a supercar is a shorthand reflection of its availability and provenance. While non-conformity to supercar conventions such as layout (the McLaren F1 seats more than two) and styling (the Bugatti Veyron lacks the consensus dynamism that characterises other supercars) can be overcome by superior performance, a car must possess exoticism if it is to avoid having its supercar status disputed.
Personal tools