Semantics: Sports/Super/Hypercars

Lamborghini_MiuraWhen CAR Magazine Editor LJK Setright claimed to coin the term “supercar” in the mid-1960’s, he was referring to the Lamborghini Miura. At the time, a supercar was defined as a car that was mid-engined, outlandishly expensive, rare, and supremely quick.

Today, cars like the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano and the Nissan GT-R blur the lines. For starters, both are front-engined and only the Ferrari is outlandishly expensive and rare. And yet, few would deny them access to the supercar “club”.

But if you start letting in $90,000 cars in the supercar club, that doesn’t make it quite exclusive enough, now, does it?

So let’s delve into the sea of semantics and try to rectify some of the confusion surrounding sportscars, supercars, and the more recently coined hypercars.

This isn’t going to be really cut and dry because there are always outliers, so we’ll just have to do the best we can.

Sportscars: Automobiles with above-average performance, have compromised utility for the sake of performance, and an attainable price of entry. Eg. Nissan 370Z, Porsche Cayman, Corvette, BMW M3, Ford Mustang.

Supercars: Automobiles with license-shredding performance, relative rarity, and a high cost of entry. Eg. Ferrari 458 Italia, Porsche GT2, Gallardo LP550-2, Audi R8, Mercedes SLS AMG.

Hypercars: Automobiles that are extremely rare, painfully expensive, and hugely powerful. Eg. Ferrari 599, Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SV, Pagani Zonda R, Bugatti Veyron, McLaren F1.

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