Saturday, June 7, 2008

Is a Super Car a super car?

The term "Super Car" probably was coined in the 80ies. Lamborhini Miura, Ferrari Daytona and BB, Porsche Turbo and others really defined the benchmark of what was possible. And we had fairly empty streets, much less speed limits and the regular car for most people was a VW Golf, Open Kadett or Renault R5, barely able to go beyond 160 km/h. So Supercars really were super. But how is it today? What can you really do with cars producing 600+ HP and going faster than 300 km/h? Where do we want to leverage these impressive performance figures and the ecquisit handling? Any Golf GTI does 200 km/h, even a family estate car like the BMW 330i produces 272 HP, which is substantially more than a Ferrari 308 GTB in the 80ies. So wouldn't it be time for Engineers to do something better than adding more power and more weight to the so called Supercar? Ferrari announced that they want to change the direction and produce lighter and smaller cars in the future, however the new Ferrari California with a heavy top construction is not a good evolution in this sense. Maybe the Artega GT is a more modern Super Car? Maybe, at least it's less heavy than most others. In my eyes the next generation Super Car should have the following characteristics:
  • Effective both on the track and on regular roads
  • Great looks
  • Impressive sound (specifically towards the driver)
  • Doing at least 250 km/h and 0-100 in less than 6 seconds while still consuming less gasoline than most family cars
There's not much to choose from today, Lotus had a good grip on this, but even the Elise almost added 300 kg over the last 10 years. I remember that my own Elise Mk1 with alluminium disk brakes was moving less than 700 kg of weight, while the latest versions are closer to 925 kg.

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