Automotive

State of the Game: Supercars

State of the Game: Supercars
The state of supercars: where are they at and where are they headed?
The state of supercars: where are they at and where are they headed?
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At around 600-hp, the all-new Ford GT may fall a bit short of "supercar" these days, but its racing pedigree, advanced carbon fiber design, and EcoBoost engine make it intriguing enough to include here
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At around 600-hp, the all-new Ford GT may fall a bit short of "supercar" these days, but its racing pedigree, advanced carbon fiber design, and EcoBoost engine make it intriguing enough to include here
We were going to include a mention of the 1,075-hp NanoFlowcell Quant F in the article, but its flow cell technology is just too unproven to have a concrete impact on the real-life state of the supercar. Stay tuned ...
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We were going to include a mention of the 1,075-hp NanoFlowcell Quant F in the article, but its flow cell technology is just too unproven to have a concrete impact on the real-life state of the supercar. Stay tuned ...
After years of e-tron concepts, Audi reveals the production R8 e-tron at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show
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After years of e-tron concepts, Audi reveals the production R8 e-tron at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show
Koenigsegg has reimagined the hybrid powertrain with its Direct Drive technology
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Koenigsegg has reimagined the hybrid powertrain with its Direct Drive technology
The Koenigsegg Regera promises to be a technological masterpiece
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The Koenigsegg Regera promises to be a technological masterpiece
The 1,500-hp Regera powertrain includes a V8 engine and three electric motors
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The 1,500-hp Regera powertrain includes a V8 engine and three electric motors
The Regera promises astounding performance, including 0-249 mph (400 km/h) in under 20 seconds
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The Regera promises astounding performance, including 0-249 mph (400 km/h) in under 20 seconds
Koenigsegg reveals the Regera at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show
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Koenigsegg reveals the Regera at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show
Unlike more track-oriented Koenigeggs, the Regera offers a comfortable GT interior
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Unlike more track-oriented Koenigeggs, the Regera offers a comfortable GT interior
Like the Ford GT, the new Acura NSX revives an old supercar model
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Like the Ford GT, the new Acura NSX revives an old supercar model
Bugatti shows the Veyron chassis 001 as part of its Veyron finale at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show
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Bugatti shows the Veyron chassis 001 as part of its Veyron finale at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show
The Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse La Finale
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The Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse La Finale
The 925-hp Spania GTA Spano supercar has a unique graphene/titanium/carbon monocoque
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The 925-hp Spania GTA Spano supercar has a unique graphene/titanium/carbon monocoque
No discussion of modern supercars is complete without a mention of the Pagani Huayra
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No discussion of modern supercars is complete without a mention of the Pagani Huayra
The high-tech McLaren P1 has a 727-hp mid-mounted V8 twin-turbo and a 176-hp electric motor
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The high-tech McLaren P1 has a 727-hp mid-mounted V8 twin-turbo and a 176-hp electric motor
Inside the McLaren P1
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Inside the McLaren P1
The McLaren P1's specifications sheet includes 2.8-second 0-62 mph, 6.8-second 0-124 mph, and a 217-mph limited top speed
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The McLaren P1's specifications sheet includes 2.8-second 0-62 mph, 6.8-second 0-124 mph, and a 217-mph limited top speed
The McLaren P1 at McLaren's Melbourne, Australia dealership in 2014
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The McLaren P1 at McLaren's Melbourne, Australia dealership in 2014
The LaFerrari debuts at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show
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The LaFerrari debuts at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show
Ferrari plans to build 499 LaFerrari models
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Ferrari plans to build 499 LaFerrari models
Ferrari says the LaFerrari has the "most extreme performance ever achieved by a Ferrari production car"
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Ferrari says the LaFerrari has the "most extreme performance ever achieved by a Ferrari production car"
The LaFerrari features a 949-hp V12/HY-KERS hybrid powertrain
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The LaFerrari features a 949-hp V12/HY-KERS hybrid powertrain
A suitable successor to one of the world's fastest cars, the 1,400-hp Hennessey Venom F5
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A suitable successor to one of the world's fastest cars, the 1,400-hp Hennessey Venom F5
Hennessy thinks the F5 has a shot at 290 mph
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Hennessy thinks the F5 has a shot at 290 mph
The SSC Tuatara at the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
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The SSC Tuatara at the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
According to the spec list on SSC's website, the Tuatara should be able to speed to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds long before topping out at 276 mph
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According to the spec list on SSC's website, the Tuatara should be able to speed to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds long before topping out at 276 mph
The Tuatara looked raring to go when it was revealed in 2011, but four years later, its status is questionable
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The Tuatara looked raring to go when it was revealed in 2011, but four years later, its status is questionable
Rimac plans eight Concept One models
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Rimac plans eight Concept One models
The Concept One is one of the world's most impressive electric supercars
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The Concept One is one of the world's most impressive electric supercars
On paper, the Concept One boasts a 190-mph top speed and a 2.8-second 0-62
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On paper, the Concept One boasts a 190-mph top speed and a 2.8-second 0-62
The Rimac is powered by a 1,088-hp, four-motor system with a 92-kWh battery
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The Rimac is powered by a 1,088-hp, four-motor system with a 92-kWh battery
Rimac's All Wheel Torque Vectoring System adjusts the torque to each wheel and can be set by the driver for understeer, oversteer or neutral
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Rimac's All Wheel Torque Vectoring System adjusts the torque to each wheel and can be set by the driver for understeer, oversteer or neutral
Lamborghini hasn't joined competitors like Ferrari and McLaren in the hybrid hypercar market, but it did show the Asterion LPI 910-4 concept car at the 2014 Paris Motor Show
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Lamborghini hasn't joined competitors like Ferrari and McLaren in the hybrid hypercar market, but it did show the Asterion LPI 910-4 concept car at the 2014 Paris Motor Show
The Volkswagen XL1 doesn't have anywhere near the performance of a supercar, but Volkswagen approached the design of the ultra-efficient 261-mpg, 1,750-lb with much the same high-tech, no expenses spared approach. Pictured here, the XL Sport at the 2014 Paris Motor Show
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The Volkswagen XL1 doesn't have anywhere near the performance of a supercar, but Volkswagen approached the design of the ultra-efficient 261-mpg, 1,750-lb with much the same high-tech, no expenses spared approach. Pictured here, the XL Sport at the 2014 Paris Motor Show
If the new 600+ hp Ford GT doesn't sound powerful enough, perhaps you'd prefer the 1,024-hp Galpin GTR1
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If the new 600+ hp Ford GT doesn't sound powerful enough, perhaps you'd prefer the 1,024-hp Galpin GTR1
Morocco's Laraki Motors shows the 1,750-hp Epitome Concept at the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
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Morocco's Laraki Motors shows the 1,750-hp Epitome Concept at the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
Based on the Rimac Concept One, the Volar-e was designed by Spanish design and engineering company Applus+ Idiada in 2013
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Based on the Rimac Concept One, the Volar-e was designed by Spanish design and engineering company Applus+ Idiada in 2013
Koenigsegg reveals the One:1 at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
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Koenigsegg reveals the One:1 at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
One of the distinguishing technological features of the One:1 is what Koenigsegg calls the world's first top-mounted active rear wing
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One of the distinguishing technological features of the One:1 is what Koenigsegg calls the world's first top-mounted active rear wing
The radical One:1 became Koenigsegg's first megacar, with 1 megawatt (1,000 kW/1,341 hp) of output
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The radical One:1 became Koenigsegg's first megacar, with 1 megawatt (1,000 kW/1,341 hp) of output
The Renovo Coupe is an interesting neo-retro supercar project that equips an official Shelby body with a 500-hp electric powertrain and a state-of-the-art infotainment system
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The Renovo Coupe is an interesting neo-retro supercar project that equips an official Shelby body with a 500-hp electric powertrain and a state-of-the-art infotainment system
The 1,160-hp Koenigsegg Agera RS debuts at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show
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The 1,160-hp Koenigsegg Agera RS debuts at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show
The spartan interior of the new Ultima Evolution, which debuted earlier in 2015
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The spartan interior of the new Ultima Evolution, which debuted earlier in 2015
The Ultima Evolution may not be the prettiest supercar, but it's plenty fierce on the track: 0-60 mph in 2.3 seconds, 9.2-second standing quarter mile and 240+ mph top speed
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The Ultima Evolution may not be the prettiest supercar, but it's plenty fierce on the track: 0-60 mph in 2.3 seconds, 9.2-second standing quarter mile and 240+ mph top speed
Like Koenigsegg's One:1, the Toroidion 1MW concept car is one of the world's few "megacars"
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Like Koenigsegg's One:1, the Toroidion 1MW concept car is one of the world's few "megacars"
Toroidion revealed the 1MW at the 2015 Top Marques Monaco Show in April
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Toroidion revealed the 1MW at the 2015 Top Marques Monaco Show in April
Designed with racing in mind, the all-electric 1MW from Finland features a hot-swappable battery system designed to be changed in the pit lane or garage
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Designed with racing in mind, the all-electric 1MW from Finland features a hot-swappable battery system designed to be changed in the pit lane or garage
The promising 1MW is still under development, so it remains to be seen if this becomes the next great all-electric supercar
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The promising 1MW is still under development, so it remains to be seen if this becomes the next great all-electric supercar
A lesser known hyper hybrid, the 950-hp Icona Vulcano debuts at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show
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A lesser known hyper hybrid, the 950-hp Icona Vulcano debuts at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show
The Lamborghini Urus debuts at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show
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The Lamborghini Urus debuts at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show
In May, Lamborghini announced its intention to produce an SUV/crossover model
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In May, Lamborghini announced its intention to produce an SUV/crossover model
The 1,104-hp Zenvo ST1 was pretty radical when it first debuted in 2008 and it's still pretty radical here at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
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The 1,104-hp Zenvo ST1 was pretty radical when it first debuted in 2008 and it's still pretty radical here at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
Not only did the Bugatti Veyron set the production car speed record, the Grand Sport Vitesse set the convertible speed record
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Not only did the Bugatti Veyron set the production car speed record, the Grand Sport Vitesse set the convertible speed record
In 2013, the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse clocked in at 254.04 mph (408.84 km/h)
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In 2013, the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse clocked in at 254.04 mph (408.84 km/h)
The Bugatti Veyron Super Sport set a world production car speed record of 267.8 mph (431 km/h)
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The Bugatti Veyron Super Sport set a world production car speed record of 267.8 mph (431 km/h)
BMW introduced the Vision EfficientDynamics, which eventually became the i8, at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show
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BMW introduced the Vision EfficientDynamics, which eventually became the i8, at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show
The Jaguar C-X75 concept car used a 780-bhp four-motor powertrain with a pair of gas-fueled micro turbines as range extenders
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The Jaguar C-X75 concept car used a 780-bhp four-motor powertrain with a pair of gas-fueled micro turbines as range extenders
After introducing the C-X75 at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, Jaguar began development of a production version but later cancelled it
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After introducing the C-X75 at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, Jaguar began development of a production version but later cancelled it
Not quite a "supercar," but a groundbreaking hybrid sports car, nonetheless, the BMW i8 debuts at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show
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Not quite a "supercar," but a groundbreaking hybrid sports car, nonetheless, the BMW i8 debuts at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show
The latest all-electric car with Rimac technology tackled the 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June
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The latest all-electric car with Rimac technology tackled the 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June
Revealed in 2010, the Mercedes SLS AMG E-Cell prototype laid way for the limited production Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive
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Revealed in 2010, the Mercedes SLS AMG E-Cell prototype laid way for the limited production Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive
The fastest electric car of its day, the 740-bhp SLS AMG Electric Drive set an EV record on Nurburgring
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The fastest electric car of its day, the 740-bhp SLS AMG Electric Drive set an EV record on Nurburgring
A peek inside the Porsche 918 Spyder
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A peek inside the Porsche 918 Spyder
The Porsche 918 at the 2013 LA Auto Show
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The Porsche 918 at the 2013 LA Auto Show
The Porsche 918 makes its production debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show
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The Porsche 918 makes its production debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show
Dating back to 2010 as a concept car, the 887-bhp Porsche 918 can be credited as the first hyper hybrid that eventually made production
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Dating back to 2010 as a concept car, the 887-bhp Porsche 918 can be credited as the first hyper hybrid that eventually made production
The Porsche 918 has a claim to the Nurburgring record for production cars, though Radical has a faster time
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The Porsche 918 has a claim to the Nurburgring record for production cars, though Radical has a faster time
The 2011 Kubang concept previews a Maserati SUV
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The 2011 Kubang concept previews a Maserati SUV
Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
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Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
The McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 are two of the defining supercars of modern times
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The McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 are two of the defining supercars of modern times
SCG003 road car at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show
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SCG003 road car at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show
Lamborghini Aventador at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
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Lamborghini Aventador at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
Lamborghini Aventador at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
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Lamborghini Aventador at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
The Bugatti EB 118 was the first of three concepts that the revived Bugatti brand prepared under newly established VW ownership
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The Bugatti EB 118 was the first of three concepts that the revived Bugatti brand prepared under newly established VW ownership
Clockwise from bottom right: Bugatti Veyron, 18/3 Chiron concept car, EB 218 touring sedan concept and EB 118 concept
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Clockwise from bottom right: Bugatti Veyron, 18/3 Chiron concept car, EB 218 touring sedan concept and EB 118 concept
The Veyron emerged from several concept car designs
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The Veyron emerged from several concept car designs
The Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept One at Pikes Peak
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The Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept One at Pikes Peak
Hennessey set an unofficial speed record last year, but could not complete the mandatory return run to make it official
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Hennessey set an unofficial speed record last year, but could not complete the mandatory return run to make it official
Debuted at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the Radical RXC Turbo 500 will attempt to beat Radical's own Nurburgring record of 6:48
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Debuted at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the Radical RXC Turbo 500 will attempt to beat Radical's own Nurburgring record of 6:48
Mazzanti Evantra at Top Marques Monaco 2015
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Mazzanti Evantra at Top Marques Monaco 2015
Aston Martin has confirmed its intention to build a GT crossover
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Aston Martin has confirmed its intention to build a GT crossover
The DBX concept featured an in-wheel electric powertrain
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The DBX concept featured an in-wheel electric powertrain
The Aston Martin DBX debuts at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show
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The Aston Martin DBX debuts at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show
Aston Martin makes a surprise DBX debut
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Aston Martin makes a surprise DBX debut
The 1,700-hp Lyons LM2 Streamliner is still in development, so it's a little early to take it seriously as a world record contender, but the American company claims a 290-mph top speed
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The 1,700-hp Lyons LM2 Streamliner is still in development, so it's a little early to take it seriously as a world record contender, but the American company claims a 290-mph top speed
The Arabian W Motors Lykan HyperSport debuted in 2013 with a $3.4 million price tag
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The Arabian W Motors Lykan HyperSport debuted in 2013 with a $3.4 million price tag
The definition of a supercar: The Koenigsegg Regera
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The definition of a supercar: The Koenigsegg Regera
The state of supercars: where are they at and where are they headed?
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The state of supercars: where are they at and where are they headed?
View gallery - 88 images

Supercar, hypercar, megacar ... whatever you want to call today's fastest, most powerful, most technologically advanced cars, they're in the midst of a very exciting evolution. New technologies and performance benchmarks are making these super-toys of the few and wealthy techier, faster and more fun to drive. Join us as we delve into the state of the modern supercar.

End of an Era

A supercar like no other, the Bugatti Veyron absolutely defined the supercar market for the past decade, serving as the measuring stick for the entire segment. And that's exactly what it was designed to do. Volkswagen obtained the rights to the dormant French marque in 1998, and it immediately set out to design a supercar like the world had never seen before.

Clockwise from bottom right: Bugatti Veyron, 18/3 Chiron concept car, EB 218 touring sedan concept and EB 118 concept
Clockwise from bottom right: Bugatti Veyron, 18/3 Chiron concept car, EB 218 touring sedan concept and EB 118 concept

Volkswagen experimented with several different Bugatti-badged concept cars, including coupe and sedan models, before settling in on the Veyron design and launching it in 2005. The Veyron 16.4's 987-hp 8.0-liter quad-turbo W16 engine was rather insane compared to other supercars of the era, but it actually represented a cylinder downsizing from the W18 engines on the concept cars, extending back to the 555-hp Italdesign Giugiaro-penned 1998 EB 118.

The Veyron was the world's unofficial and official fastest production car for much of its time in production, trading places with a few other elite supercars, like the SSC Ultimate Aero TT. It also held accolades like the world's quickest-accelerating production car and world's fastest production convertible. Its world-record top speed needled in at 267.8 mph (431 km/h) in 2010 (in 1,183-hp Super Sport trim), and its 0-62 mph (100 km/h) accelaration time has long penned in at a blistering 2.5 seconds.

The Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse La Finale
The Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse La Finale

Bugatti released the very last Bugatti Veyron earlier this year, a special-edition Grand Sport Vitesse "La Finale" designed to commemorate the retirement of perhaps the greatest supercar of all time. Bugatti has not yet revealed the Veyron's successor, but it's expected to do so next year.

Rumor has long suggested the new Bugatti model will be called the Chiron, and the latest reports show that it could be a hybrid with close to 1,500 hp on tap. It looks like it will keep an 8.0-liter W16 configuration and may feature electric turbochargers and an electric motor. The world should find out for sure when the highly anticipated car debuts sometime in 2016, likely at a major European auto show like Geneva or Paris.

The Need for Speed Continues

Like the Veyron before it, the Bugatti Chiron is expected to hit the market with potential to blow the world speed record away. Its spec sheet may very well include a 288 mph (463.5 km/h) top speed, along with a 0-62 mph time in the low 2s. That's pushing 20 mph (32 km/h) over the current unofficial world speed record, which Hennessey notched at 270.49 mph (435.31 km/h) in February 2014, after an ultimately unsuccessful attempt at beating Bugatti by sneaking through the back door.

The Chiron should be an immediate contender for negating any Hennessey claim on the record and taking the official record over from the Veyron Super Sport, especially since Volkswagen has the Ehra-Lessien track real estate to set the scene. It's not the only upcoming supercar with an estimated top speed above 270 mph (435 km/h), though. Last August, Hennessey preempted any potential world's fastest claims by the Veyron successor when it previewed the successor to the Venom GT, the 1,400-hp Venom F5.

Hennessy thinks the F5 has a shot at 290 mph
Hennessy thinks the F5 has a shot at 290 mph

The new super-suped little Lotus from Texas isn't only more powerful than its predecessor; it's also more aerodynamic, with drag coefficient dropping from 0.44 to below 0.40. And while it's gained a bit of weight over the GT, it pulls away with a ever-so-slightly higher power-weight ratio. The "290 mph is within reach" scrawled atop Hennessey's Venom F5 press release sets up a rather nice potential head-to-head with the 288-mph Chiron. The Venom F5 is supposed to make its official debut this year.

For now, the world record race appears to be between Bugatti and Hennessey, but there are a couple of dark horses with the pedigree and paper estimates to make a run. The Agera R and One:1 have the power and predicted speed (273 mph/439 km/h) to bring the world record back to Koenigsegg, but Koenigsegg hasn't really made a move and has expressed issues with finding an appropriate piece of straight, empty road (Volkswagen doesn't let the competition use Ehra-Lessein). For now, Koenigsegg seems pretty content setting acceleration/deceleration records and releasing awesome new models, special editions and concept cars at the annual Geneva Motor Show.

The Tuatara looked raring to go when it was revealed in 2011, but four years later, its status is questionable
The Tuatara looked raring to go when it was revealed in 2011, but four years later, its status is questionable

Back in 2011, American supercar outfit SSC introduced the Tuatara, an otherworldly 1,350-bhp successor to the Ultimate Aero TT, the 1,183-hp SSC car that held a 256-mph speed record before Bugatti took it away in 2010. The Tuatara appeared to be moving along for a while, and was even engine-tested to 1,700 bhp in 2013. Then things went dark, and the car disappeared from the public eye as quickly as a child star going through an awkward, pimply puberty. It seems the "production" part of the production car speed record is proving more a problem than the "speed" part, as the car never showed up in 2013 or 2014, as originally scheduled.

SSC's website and social media have been silent since 2013, save for a few fairly urgent Facebook/Twitter job postings last November. The company did not respond to our email requesting up-to-date information about the status of its Tuatara plans. It's looking like we may never get to see if the Tuatara is up to the task of world-record speed, and if we do, it may just prove too little, too late.

Supercars Electrified

Hybrid Bugatti or not, the age of the hybrid supercar is well underway. The partial and full electrification of supercars is no longer a bleeding edge phenomenon and traces back more than half a decade to the rapid surge of concept cars like the Audi e-tron, the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics, the Porsche 918 Spyder, the Jaguar C-X75 and the Mercedes SLS AMG E-Cell. And while it was the European luxury brands that started an all-out hybrid/electric supercar arms race, it was American start-up Tesla that first demonstrated just how fun and sporty an all-electric car could be way back in 2006.

All of those concept cars, save for the C-X75, ended up in at least limited production, with the Audi R8 e-tron being the latest to hit the scene. Not every one had the power or performance to be ranked a supercar, but each one helped to prove the performance potential of electric power. In turn, they paved the way for an extreme breed of electrified supercar.

The Hybrids

Looking back, 2013 was a HUGE year for the hyper hybrid. Both the LaFerrari and McLaren P1 debuted at the Geneva Motor Show that year, and the production Porsche 918 Spyder debuted at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. Each of those hybrid exotics features a unique gas-electric layout, but they all utilize electric power toward delivering some of the world's most powerful, quick performance on straightaways and curves.

At 887-hp, the Porsche 918 Spyder is the least powerful of the Big 3, but so far, it's been the most impressive on the asphalt. At the same time it was making its world debut in 2013, the young 918 joined the very elite sub-7-minute club when it lapped the Nürburgring in 6:57. Depending upon how your definition of "street-legal production car" applies to the open-top Radical SR8LM (a radical car, no matter how you classify it), the 918 can lay claim to being the fastest road car around the track. Either way, it's definitely the Nürburgring sub-7 that we'd most like to cruise the coast with.

Dating back to 2010 as a concept car, the 887-bhp Porsche 918 can be credited as the first hyper hybrid that eventually made production
Dating back to 2010 as a concept car, the 887-bhp Porsche 918 can be credited as the first hyper hybrid that eventually made production

Car & Driver added a big bullet point to the 918's resume last year, declaring the 2015 model the quickest road car in the world after accelerating it to 60 mph in a mere 2.2 seconds. Coupled with the car's Nürburgring prowess, that makes a very impressive combination of acceleration and on-track agility and speed. Sadly for 918 fans and potential buyers, Porsche recently completed production of the nine hundred and eighteen 918 models.

The 903-hp P1 and 949-hp LaFerrari haven't been lagging far behind. The P1 achieved a 2.6-second 0-60 mph time in testing, and the LaFerrari sits right between the 918 and P1 with a verified 2.4.

All three modern hyper hybrids enjoy seats up at the tippity top of world's quickest production cars, and two of them do it while improving the abysmal, world-worst fuel economy ratings that hypercars are notorious for. The Porsche 918 leads the way handily in that regard with a 67 mpg-e estimate from the US EPA. The McLaren P1's 18 mpg-e EPA estimate isn't nearly as impressive, but compare it to old school big-engined supercars like the Veyron (10 mpg) or Aston Martin DB9 (15 mpg), and it looks a bit more respectable. With no full, in-town all-electric drive mode, the LaFerrari stumbles in at 14 mpg.

Together, the 918, LaFerrari and P1 have served as the elite ruling class of ultra-premium hyper hybrids, but their kingdom is about to come under attack from a very powerful force. When Koenigsegg detailed its Regera hybrid at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, we called it the most insane piece of supercar engineering we'd ever covered. Four months later, we're happy to report that we weren't jet-lagged or enamored with Christian von Koenigsegg's Swedish accent (though it is pretty smooth). We reiterate: the Regera is the most insane piece of supercar engineering we've seen on the pages of Gizmag. Whether or not its driving characteristics prove acceptable to those willing to spend seven figures on a hypercar, the Regera's innovation and technology are quite exceptional.

The 1,500-hp Regera powertrain includes a V8 engine and three electric motors
The 1,500-hp Regera powertrain includes a V8 engine and three electric motors

Not only does the Regera pack an insane-by-any-standard 1,500 hp and 1,475 lb-ft of torque, but it manages to distribute it all to the rear wheels without a transmission, the first car we know of without any type of gearbox operating between ICE and wheels. Instead, it relies on the instant torque of the two axle-mounted electric motors to get acceleration started and a third motor working as a starter to get the 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 up to speed. A hydraulic coupling slowly locks as the engine works its way into action, and a surge of 1,100-hp V8 power helps the already quick, virile electric drive in propelling the car forward.

With an estimated top speed just under 255 mph (410 km/h), the Regera won't be the car to bring a world speed record back to Sweden, but it could very well snag some acceleration records, assuming its gas-driven brother the One:1, which already earned itself 0-300-0 km/h bragging rights, doesn't beat it to the punch. Koenigsegg estimates a 0-186 mph (0-300 km/h) time of 12.3 seconds, very close to the 11.9 seconds the One:1 ran in the aforementioned 0-300-0. The 0-249 mph (0-400 km/h) lists at under 20 seconds, a touch quicker than the solid 20-second estimate for the One:1. The Regera's 0-62 mph time lists in at 2.8 seconds.

World records are impressive on paper, but we'd settle for just getting behind the wheel and experiencing what Christian von Koenigsegg describes as the feel of a massive 20-liter engine with the instant torque response of an ultra-powerful electric drive. We can't wait to see how the Regera shakes up the supercar world when Koenigsegg finishes development.

The Electrics

Hyper hybrids have risen to the highest echelon of supercar engineering, but the status of all-electric supercars is a bit murkier. There haven't been that many of them, and no matter how powerful, electric sports cars tend to have electronically limited top speeds that land right around 155 mph (250 km/h), leading to questions right out of the gate about their true status as "supercars," a group that usually exceeds 200 mph (322 km/h).

The 740-bhp Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive was the first car to bring supercar power and performance to the electric vehicle segment, rolling to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds and setting a Nurburgring record for electrics. Since SLS AMG E-Drive production came to an end, there's been a real void in the electric hypercar market. Packing it's new "Ludicrous Mode" update, the Tesla Model S P85D and its 2.8-second 0-60 mph time makes an argument, but a 155-mph sedan just doesn't feel like the all-out electric supercar equivalent of a LaFerrari or McLaren P1.

One electric car that could socialize in elite circles with the McLarens and Koenigseggs of the world is the Rimac Concept One. Revealed by Croatian whiz kid Mate Rimac at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Concept One is the world's fastest, most powerful electric sports car. With 1,088 hp on tap and claims of a 190-mph (306 km/h) top speed, 2.8-second 0-62 mph time and 370-mile (600-km) range, it was the pure, unfettered electric hypercar the world was waiting for. And the following year, when reservations opened, it seemed like it would actually become more than just a cool, vapory concept car.

The Rimac is powered by a 1,088-hp, four-motor system with a 92-kWh battery
The Rimac is powered by a 1,088-hp, four-motor system with a 92-kWh battery

Unfortunately, the Concept One never really materialized in a substantial way. The car kept a high profile throughout 2012 and 2013, making appearances in videos and at shows like Top Marques Monaco, but then it went virtually MIA. Rimac reportedly had some trouble putting financing together, and production got kicked back.

The latest word from the company is that it will build only eight Concept One models, a rather drastic slash from the original 88-model plan. Last October, it announced that it would deliver the second production Concept One sometime in the first half of this year. No word since, and no hands-on third-party testing of the car, no awesome head-to-head videos against cars like the P1 or 918, and no electric world speed records to add to the ones that Rimac earned with its electrified BMW prototype. There has been a stray headline here and there, but it's mostly just regurgitated numbers and information, not much else.

Lately, Rimac has seemed much more focused on racing and supplying electric technologies to third parties. It's been involved with the electrical underpinnings of supercars like the Volar-e and Koenigsegg Regera. On the racing side, the Concept One was used by the race director during the debut season of the FIA Formula E Championship series, which wrapped up last month.

The Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept One at Pikes Peak
The Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept One at Pikes Peak

Rimac also recently reworked the Concept One into the 1.1 MW (1,475-hp) Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept One that racing legend Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima raced up the 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 9:32.4. He came in second behind the all-electric eO PP03 piloted by Rhys Millen, but that time was second overall, not just in the electric division. It was a solid finish, especially considering Tajima pulled it out in spite of a brake failure. The eO PP03 was the first all-electric Pikes winner in history, and the E-Runner Concept One hung in there to make it an all-electric 1-2 punch.

Perhaps a little competition will prompt Rimac into refocusing attention on production. At the 2015 Top Marques Monaco show in April, previously unknown Finnish outfit Toroidion revealed the 1MW Concept, a fully electric hypercar even more powerful than the Concept One.

The promising 1MW is still under development, so it remains to be seen if this becomes the next great all-electric supercar
The promising 1MW is still under development, so it remains to be seen if this becomes the next great all-electric supercar

With a full megawatt (1,341 hp) of power on tap, the 1MW Concept has the potential to keep up with the quickest, most powerful cars in the world. But will it? We've seen the story of the ultra-powerful, world-beating electric concept car time and time again, and save for the Rimac (kind of) and Mercedes, they usually end up little more than historical footnotes or perpetual development projects. Remember the Lightning GT or SSC Ultimate Aero EV?

Bottom line, it may be the heyday of hyper hybrids, but electric supercars, promising as they may be, have a ways to go to earn that same kind of pedigree.

The Dawn of the Super SUV Age

The supercar is about to get much larger and more practical. Saying it a different way, the crossover is about to get much more super. After watching Porsche and other premium brands ride best-selling SUV models to the bank year after year, a number of prestigious sports nameplates are prepared to get in on the action.

Lamborghini became the latest member of the super-crossover game in May, confirming that it will indeed launch an SUV model. Lamborghini isn't exactly new to the sports utility vehicle market, having built the quite memorable LM002 back in the 80s. The new Lamborghini SUV will look nothing like that military-style off-road 4x4 and will instead follow the current market trend of smoother, car-like crossovers, its blood carrying no shortage of Raging Bull sports car DNA.

In May, Lamborghini announced its intention to produce an SUV/crossover model
In May, Lamborghini announced its intention to produce an SUV/crossover model

It's not yet clear exactly how "super" Lamborghini's production SUV will be, but the 2012 Urus concept was powered by a 600-hp V10, so the production version should definitely be a couple steps up the ladder from the average Macan or X5. Lamborghini plans to get it to market by 2018 and is already planning on it being a bestseller.

Lamborghini is not the only maker of pretty, fast coupes currently working to expand its design language into AWD hatchback form. Maserati has been busy preparing the Levante crossover, and Aston Martin quickly confirmed production plans for its DBX luxury GT crossover after a surprise preview at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.

Based on the 2011 Kubang concept and recently published patent drawings, the Levante looks like it will be the typical five-door hatchback, but there's an opportunity for Aston Martin to do something entirely different. The DBX concept it showed in Geneva cracked the ruggedized hatchback mold, wearing a two-door 2+2 body with enough beef and lift to let you know it was designed for more than just road and track. It came across more like a pretty, smoothed over Local Motors Rally Fighter than a gussied up CR-V or Escape.

Aston Martin makes a surprise DBX debut
Aston Martin makes a surprise DBX debut

Hopefully, Aston will heed all the interest it says the DBX show car generated and design a true-to-concept production car, save for the electric powertrain, which seems impractical and unnecessary for this car. If small-volume exotic car makers must get into the crossover game, it'd be nice to see them do something like the DBX.

Onwards and Upwards

It's September, so we're approaching the home stretch of 2015, but that doesn't mean we can't expect at least a few more amazing production and concept supercar debuts. With earlier debuts like the Regera, DBX, 1MW Concept and Ford GT, 2015 has the potential to rival 2013 in terms of high-tech, cutting-edge exotic cars.

While you wait for upcoming events like the Frankfurt Motor Show, take some time to ogle all the genre-defining supercars of modern day in our photo gallery.

More from our State of the Game series:

State of the Game 2: Deep Space Exploration

State of the Game 1: World's Tallest Buildings (now and in 2020)

View gallery - 88 images
9 comments
Catweazle
Scary stuff!
One megawatt amounts to 1,000 amps at 1,000 volts.
As it is highly unlikely that it will run at that voltage, let's make it 250 volts, at which it will be 4,000 amps.
Anyone who has had experience of the extremely tricky nature of electricity at that sort of power level will be extremely wary of sitting in - or even walking past - a device rated at that level.
A catastrophic failure of a power transistor - or even a slightly dirty connection - is going to be really spectacular, you would be better off sitting in a car and letting off a Mills bomb than sharing the cabin with a blown MOSFET or IGBT at 4,000 amps!
hdm
prefer Supra with Big Turbo...as does Mr. Russell.
jerryd
Cat, yet we do it all the time in EV drag, race cars. Just 2 Zilla's and 365volts DC Volts gets you there and do that all the time.
BZD
Very good read. Not sure how Tesla really matters in the context of super cars and the same thing goes for the SUV's. For me a super car is a sports car on steroids and four doors like the Tesla or even worse four doors and jeep like is something else, else the list would need to also include some of the top end luxury barges from Germany. Without having ever driven a super car of neither an older one or one of the new I may not be qualified to speculate, but I have to wonder if the new ones are really more fun. Sure the tech in them is impressive, but to me they don't sound as nice and I also imagine all the tech sort of takes away from the sensation of driving. Then again I imagine for many super car owners it is not actually about the driving, but instead about looking good when parking at club or where ever one chooses to be seen.
PS. On youtube there is a really good piece with the old king of super cars, the F1, and the P1 where they are being compared and I think it is good comment on the whole what is more fun debate.
bhtooefr
Catweazle: The Model S apparently runs at 375 V nominal, and the battery fuse is rated for 1500 amps with the Ludicrous Mode enabled. At the 762 hp of Ludicrous Mode, or 568 kW, that actually pretty much checks out - I'm getting 379 V.
I'd figure the voltage could be pushed more to avoid getting too high on the current, for a megacar. 500 V, 2000 A, maybe?
fb36
"All of those concept cars, save for the C-X75, ended up in at least limited production". I think C-X75 was the one with best tech unfortunately.
ronbros
0-60mph, a local guy in Austin TX has a modded 1967 Mustang ALL electric, few weeks back at a drag track, made a run of 1.94 seconds 0-60mph.
and didnt spend millions to do it! he has the timing slip to show, many runs 2.0/2.3.
he drives it around the streets all the time,i see him driving by the house,going to lunch ETC.
GeraldoEntius
A Supercar that doesnt participate in real GT racing doesn't mean anything besides being a collector's play for the rich.
mona
alas... just have to watch not drive....