Supercar

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Supercar may also refer to the 1960's television series Supercar, or the Italian title of Knight Rider, another TV-show

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A supercar is type of exotic high-performance automobile. The proper application of this term is disputed, especially among enthusiasts. Yet the automotive press frequently calls new exotic cars "supercars". Also see the list of supercars to help understand the term subjectively.

General criteria

The following criteria are often cited in determining if a particular sports car or exotic car deserves the supercar moniker:

  • High performance — Most supercars are capable of extremely quick acceleration and have an especially high top speed compared to other cars of the time. To achieve this, most supercars have a high power to weight ratio — that is, high power and low weight. For example, the Porsche Carrera GT carries just five pounds per horsepower (3 kg/kW or 438 hp/ton) — compare this to the Porsche Boxster which hauls nearly 12 pounds per horsepower (7.1 kg/kW or 193 bhp/ton).
  • Styling — Supercars often feature groundbreaking styling elements. The Formula One-inspired Enzo Ferrari, 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, station wagon, and pickup truck) make inherent tradeoffs of performance potential for utility. By this measure, extreme vehicles like the Dodge Ram SRT-10 are not normally called supercars. Note however that one undisputed supercar, the McLaren F1, featured seating for three and had a number of useful storage spaces.
  • Technology — All supercars feature cutting edge contemporary racing car technology. This has included the use of carbon fibre and ceramics, ground effects and wings, and novel layouts like mid-engine. The use of turbochargers has fallen out of favor in many recent supercars, though the Bugatti Veyron will use four. All wheel drive is also used in most modern supercars, reflecting the success of the Audi Quattro rally car.
  • Production — Most commentators would not include one-off concept cars or self-built kit cars under this category. Although no objective metric has been agreed on, homologation often makes the case for a supercar. Similarly, the term is never applied to a pure racing car — supercars must be legal for use on the street. Although their makers often promise to produce dozens of examples, some supercars never reach these production targets. For example, while 400 Enzos were built, just two Mosler Photons have been sold.
  • Spirit — An extremely difficult aspect to objectively discuss is the "spirit" or "soul" many supercar buyers search for. This is often more a reflection of the manufacturer's reputation, especially on the race track, than the absolute qualities of the vehicle in question. This factor is often cited in disqualifying cars like the Honda/Acura NSX and Dodge/Chrysler Viper and including even the lesser V12-powered Ferraris.

See also

ja:スーパーカー

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