The term supercar is sometimes used interchangeably with exotic car, but the definition is ultimately subjective. Some may say a supercar is distinct due to limited availability, while others will key in on acceleration and top speed. Autocar cites numerous definitions, but ultimately leans into the subjectivity of the query, writing that “defining whether a car is a supercar comes down, as it always did, to blind prejudice. A supercar isn’t about stats; it’s about a mindset. Does it make you go a bit tingly? Yes? It’s probably a supercar.”
The obvious answer is speed, both in terms of top speed and acceleration. In a hierarchy that begins with sports cars and ends with hypercars, supercars are the high-performance middle, featuring vehicles that are more than capable of tearing up the track and leaving common sports cars in the dust.
There are no broadly agreed demarcations on the term supercar, though. Some have cited a mid-engine requirement, but that would leave several high-performing front-engined models — such as the Ferrari F12berlinetta — out of the mix in a way that doesn’t make sense. Analyzing the feel behind the wheel and the use of unique technologies to enhance the driving experience could also play a role, as could other aspects of the vehicles such as power-to-weight ratio. Price and scarcity may also be relevant — but these things are often subjective.
Perhaps what matters to many is the nameplate of the vehicle itself. In that regard, brands like Ferrari are synonymous with both supercars and hypercars.
Supercars as a category are special, but a Ferrari is doubly so. Every Ferrari is made in Maranello, Italy in a facility that combines pinpoint automation with the careful touch of experienced, passionate individuals. All Ferraris are limited production vehicles. This facility produces between 8,000 and 10,000 cars each year because the craftsmanship of a Ferrari can take a year or more to produce. Ferrari has an in-house foundry used to cast each vehicle’s engine parts, which are then delivered to the assembly line, where around 150 Ferrari engines are assembled by hand each day. The rest of the process proceeds in a similar manner, with highly specialized machines handling some tasks and human hands doing the finer work. The end result is a world-class piece of machinery that was lovingly shepherded by human hands and assisted by capable machines — much like driving a Ferrari represents a fusion of driver and automobile.
What classifies a supercar as something more than a garden-variety sports car is often going to be a question of degree. Common sports cars are often graceful, high-performing vehicles, but when questioning the difference between supercars and sports cars, the supercar will always win out. How fast is the vehicle and what level of aerodynamic engineering is at play? Even things like price and availability may be factors.
No, Ferraris are a class above sports cars — every Ferrari is either a supercar or hypercar, designed to push the limits of what is possible for a vehicle on the road and the track. A simple sports car offers relatively common levels of performance, and a proper supercar like a Ferrari will dominate lesser sports cars like a Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Corvette in every conceivable metric when compared side-by-side, from speed to aerodynamics to pure craftsmanship. There’s a reason that Ford Mustangs are common sights in America and Ferraris are not, and it’s not just because of pricing.
Once upon a time, American muscle cars were considered supercars in some quarters, but nowadays, nobody is going to confuse a comparatively humble Ford Mustang with a Ferrari F8 Tributo. Similarly, a Porsche 911 is significantly more common than a Ferrari Portofino M, which will lead some to call the 911 a sports car and the Portofino M a supercar due to limited production numbers. What’s under the hood also plays a role, of course — but the point, again, is that there is subjectivity in the term.
It’s fair to call nearly every vehicle in the Ferrari lineup a supercar — save for those that transcend boundaries and warrant the label of hypercar. Modern Prancing Horse standouts include:
This, of course, is a small sample of the many supercars that have borne the Prancing Horse logo over the years.
As subjective as it may be, perhaps the best definition of a supercar is this: you’ll know it when you drive it. And once you understand what a supercar is, you’ll want to buy a Ferrari of your own. It’s not just a matter of enjoying your time on the highways around Indianapolis or Milwaukee — owning a Ferrari can also give you a chance to experience the thrill of the track, including in special events like the Ferrari Challenge.
If you’re ready to take the next step, contact Continental AutoSports Ferrari — we help facilitate purchases for auto enthusiasts throughout the United States from our home in the Chicago area.
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