luxury lessons: what you need to know about supercars

What is a supercar? And how does that differ from a hypercar? Dear reader, we’re glad you asked. In our ongoing Luxury Lessons series, we’ve got the rundown on everything you need to know about supercars. And hypercars. Buckle up.

luxury lessons: what you need to know about supercars

With the Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) not far away, it feels like a good time for a supercar and hypercar primer.

If you’re a dedicated petrol-head, you already know all of this. But if you’re married to, dating, working for, or otherwise obligated to talk to someone who is obsessed with and enthralled by the fastest machines available to the driving public, then consider this roundup your cheat sheet, at least for the next few months.

Like fashion, this segment of the automotive industry regularly sees new model introductions and rumors of wonders still to come. So check back from time to time if you really want to be current.

The Lamborghini Aventador Supercar

Supercars and hypercars: what are they?

First things first: the definition of “supercar.” And “hypercar.”

According to everything we could find on the web, a supercar is a vehicle in “the top range of today’s performance cars.” It’s not a rigid designation, but it is commonly understood to mean a car with vastly superior performance, technology and design. Usually bearing a price tag from the low-six to high-six figures (in US dollars).

The “performance” angle distinguishes a supercar from top-of-the-line luxury marques like Bentley, Maybach and Rolls Royce. They’re expensive and ultra-luxurious – but they’re not supercars.

A hypercar is the top one percent of supercars. Meaning, they have the best performance and design in the world, and their sales price is going to be over seven figures (in US dollars).

Reasonably simple, right? For fashion people, think of this way: supercars are designer ready-to-wear. And hypercars are haute couture.

The McLaren Senna Hypercar

the supercars and hypercars you need to know

Our Automotive Editor tells us that there are 10 marques that even a casual observer should know about in the world of supercars and hypercars. We’ve listed them below, along with their latest – or coming soon – models. One in particular might surprise you.

1. Ferrari

Headquarters: Modena, Italy. Brief history: Founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1929, after he worked for Alfa Romeo for 9 years (he raced Alfa Romeos for 10 years after that). Model Names to Know: The company is over 70 years old, and has too many beloved models to name just one. All you really need to know is that the brand’s symbol is a prancing horse, and its signature color is red (Just like Valentino). Price Range: The entry-level Ferrari Portofino supercar starts at $215,000. The brand’s only hypercar, the LaFerrari, was last produced in 2015. At that time, its list price was $1.5 million.

Celebrity owners? Drake, LeBron James, Nicole Kidman, Kim Kardashian West and Kylie Jenner. Latest news: Just ahead of the 2019 GIMS, Ferrari unveiled the F8 Tributo, the supercar successor to the 488 GTB. According to the automaker, it will reach 62 miles per hour in just 2.9 seconds, continuing on until it reaches its top speed of 211 mph. Reports are that its starting list price will be $250,000.

The new Ferrari F8 Tributo

2. Lamborghini

Headquarters: Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy. Brief History: Manufacturing magnate Ferruccio Lamborghini founded the company in 1963 with the objective of producing a refined grand touring car to compete with established marques like Ferrari. Model Names to Know: While the Gallardo is historically the brand’s best seller (it was on the market from 2003-13), the best known is probably the Diablo. There’s also the special-edition Centenario, a hypercar launched to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founder’s birth. Price Range: The entry-level Huracán sedan starts at $207,000. The new Urus SUV starts at $200,000. The top-of-the-line Aventador starts at $422,000.

Celebrity owners? Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj.  Latest news: The Huracán Evo is an extensively upgraded version of the original. The supercar, which will debut at the GIMS, goes from 0-62 mph in 2.9 seconds. Prices start at £206,000. And rumors abound that Lamborghini will debut a new hybrid V12 hypercar, codenamed LB48H, sometime in the next 24 months.

Lamborghini Aventador S Coupe

3. Automobili Pininfarina

Headquarters: Italy. Brief History: The firm’s founder, Battista Farina, established the company in 1930 after working at his brother’s coach-building shop. The design house works with yacht-builders and other performance car manufacturers. Since 2015, it’s been owned by Indian conglomerate Mahindra. Model names to know: The Battista, the company’s first all-electric hypercar, is named after the company’s founder. It goes from 0-62 mph in less than 2.0 seconds, and has a top speed in excess of 250 mph. It is said to be the fastest all-electric car ever made, and only 150 of them will be built. Price Range: $2-2.5 million.

Celebrity owners? We’ll see. The first one hits the market in 2020. Latest news: With a reported range of at least 280 miles, the Battista will be in contention as the most environmentally efficient hypercar on the market. We’d show you a photo, but the Big Reveal is still a couple of days away.

4. Pagani

Headquarters: San Cesario sul Panaro, near Modena, Italy. Brief History: Founded in 1992 by Horacio Pagani. He had previously been an in-house carbon fiber expert at nearby Lamborghini. Model names to know: The Pagani Zonda took the world by storm in the early 2000’s. But its successor, the Huayra, is the icon. Named after an Andean wind god, there’s a hard-roofed model and also a convertible. These cars are particularly famous for their intricate interiors. Price Range: $1.4 million for the hard-top, and $2.5 million for the roadster.

Celebrity owners? Jay-Z and Lewis Hamilton. Latest news: Pagani is reportedly planning to add two new models to its lineup: a Huayra successor and an all-electric hypercar. And the Zonda is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Pagani Huayra Roadster

5. Bugatti

Headquarters: Molsheim, France, in the heart of Alsace. Brief History:  Founded in 1909 by the Italian-born industrial designer Ettore Bugatti in what was then a region of Germany. The brand is now owned by the Volkswagon Group. Model Names to Know: There are only three models: the Veyron (the fastest production car in the world when it was launched in 2005); the Chiron; and the Divo. Price Range: Starting list prices for Bugatti supercars range from $1.7 – $3.5 million. When it was first introduced, the Divo hypercar sold out in one day, with a price tag of $5.8 million. Only 40 are being produced, with deliveries in late 2019 or early 2020 (a slot for a new Divo was recently listed for sale at an asking price of $7.5 million).

Celebrity owners? Tom Cruise and Sylvester Stallone. Latest news: It’s rumored that Bugatti may bring an $18 million, one-of-a-kind modern take on the iconic Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic from 1936 to the 2019 GIMS. Reports are that it was built for Ferdinand Piëch, the ex-Volkswagen chairman who orchestrated Bugatti’s revival in 1998.

Bugatti Chiron

6. McLaren

Headquarters: Woking, Surrey, England. Brief History: Founded in 1985 by Ron Dennis and named after engineer and race car driver Bruce McLaren. Revived in 2010 after being dormant for over 15 years. Model Names to Know: The brand has three tiers: the Sports Series (the 540, 570 and 600 model lines); the Super Series (the 720S) and the Ultimate series (including the Senna and the no-longer-in-production P1, both of which are hypercars). Price Range: The 570 starts at $191,100; the 720 at $289,000; and the Senna at $837,000.

Celebrity owners? Beyonce, David Beckham and Jay Leno. Latest news: McLaren’s latest hypercar launch is the “Hyper-GT” – the Speedtail, which replaces the P1 model and is a homage to the iconic F1. According to the automotive press, it’s the most aerodynamic car McLaren has ever produced. Topping out at 250 mph (the highest of any McLaren to date), the starting list price is $2.25 million. The Speedtail will be limited to 106 units (and all of them have already been sold). Deliveries will begin in 2020.

The McLaren 720S

7. Koenigsegg

Headquarters: Ängelholm, Sweden. Brief History: Founded in 1994 by Christian von Koenigsegg, then 22, with the goal of building the world’s fastest car. At one time tried to buy Saab, but the deal fell through. Model Names to Know: The CCR (crowned the fastest production car in the world at launch). The One:1 (which the brand says can go from 0 to 250 mph in less than 20 seconds); the Agera RS, and the Regera. Price Range: The Regera starts at $1.9 million. Only 16 One:1 models were made, and they sell in the low-seven figures (in US dollars).

Celebrity owners? Floyd Mayweather and Christiano Ronaldo. Latest news: At the 2019 GIMS, Koenigsegg is expected to announce a much-anticipated successor to the Agera RS (it’s code-named “Ragnarok,” a term from Norse mythology meaning “the apocalypse”). The company is also increasing production and plans to have a new entry-level $1 million price point car on the road by 2022.

Koenigsegg Regera

8. Aston Martin

Headquarters: Gaydon, Warwickshire, England.  Brief History: Founded in 1914 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford. The full name of the company comes from Martin’s last name and a stretch of road in Herfordshire called the Aston Hillclimb. The company holds a Royal Warrant for motorcars from the British Royal Family. Model Names to Know: The Vantage is the entry-level. The Vanquish is its big sibling. The DB11 and DBS Superleggera are the other two names to know. Price Range: The DB11 starts at $204,000 and the DBS Superleggera at $308,000. The DBX SUV at $200,000. The Vantage lists at $152,800 and the Vanquish at $297,700.

Celebrity owners? James Bond, Michael Jordan and Rowan Atkinson. After the Royal Wedding, Prince Harry and Meghan took off in one. Latest news: the Aston Martin Valkyrie—the brainchild of Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing- is expected to be presented at the 2019 GIMS. Available to see as of this posting only in renderings, the $3.2 million hypercar will have a road version and a racetrack-only version. Both are already sold out. There are also rumors of a “Project 003,” a third high-performance, mid-engine car in the Valkyrie line.

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

9. Porsche/Rimac

Headquarters: Stuttgart, Germany. Brief History: Founded by Austrian Ferdinand Porsche, who was previously the chief engineer at Mercedes-Benz. He debuted his first design at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1900 and formed his company in 1931. Porsche now owns 10 percent of Croatian car maker Rimac. Model Names to Know: The supercar 911 Turbo. The hypercars Porsche 918 Spyder (a hybrid which ended production in 2015) and the Rimac C_Two (fully electric). Price Range: The 918 Spyder had a list price of $845,000. The C_Two lists for $2.1 million. The production run of 150 is already sold out, reportedly at an average price of $2.7 million.

Celebrity owner? Gwen Stefani.  Latest news: Porsche is likely to debut a new 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport at the 2019 GIMS. The Porsche Taycan will be the company’s first all-electric car.

Rimac Concept Two

10. Ford GT

Wut??? Yep, you heard that right. Ford.

Headquarters: Dearborn, Michigan. Brief history: Ford came close to buying Ferrari in 1963. But the deal fell apart at the last minute, causing Ford to create its own supercar: the GT40. The model to know: The 2019 Ford GT. Limited to 1,350 units, you have to qualify to be an official Ford brand ambassador in order to buy one. In addition, Ford requires GT purchasers to sign a contract agreeing that they will not sell for at least two years from the date of purchase.  Starting price: $450,000.

Celebrity owner? John Cena. Latest news: To honor the 50th anniversary of the Le Mans winning 1968 Ford GT40, the 2019 Ford GT Heritage version sports the same blue and orange color, and the same number “9” on its doors and hood as the car of 50 years ago. Ford recently sold the first 2019 Ford GT Heritage Edition at Barrett-Jackson’s 2019 Scottsdale auction for $2.5 million.

The Ford GT Heritage Edition 2019

the best of the rest

Alfa Romeo.

The brand announced last year that it will introduce seven new models by 2022. One of them is the 8C coupe supercar. Alfa has not announced a top speed for the 8C yet, but reportedly, the vehicle will do 0 to 60 mph in less than three seconds.


The R8 is Audi’s supercar. It’ll do 0-60 in 2.9 seconds, with a top speed of about 205 mph. Among many others, Lady Gaga drives one.


A 61-year-old small British racing company based in Leeds, England, Ginetta is expected to debut its first supercar at the 2019 GIMS.


This Barcelona-based car company, originally founded in 1904, is debuting an electric supercar called the Carmen this year. It’s based on the Art Deco-style 1938 H6B Dubonnet Xenia and its list price is reportedly $1.8 million.

W Motors.

The Lykan Hypersport is the first car from Lebanon-based W Motors. The top speed is reportedly 245 mph, and it goes from 0-62 mph in less than 2.7 seconds. Only 7 of these cars were made, one of which had a role in Fast and Furious 7.

coming soon

What’s next? Well, Dyson is getting into the supercar game. The vacuum company’s CEO announced a £2 billion ($2.7B) into the project. The supercar will be fully electric. Expect the supercar sometime late in 2019 or early 2020.

And Tesla has been teasing its long-awaited next-generation Roadster. Its the company’s follow-up to its debut vehicle from 2008. The prototype was unveiled in late 2017. Elon Musk says it’ll be the fastest production car ever developed. Word on the street is that manufacturing for the supercar is scheduled to begin in 2020.

That’s our roundup of the supercars and hypercars you should know. Which one is your dream car? Did we miss anything? Let us know – and we’ll see you at the Geneva Motor Show!

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