What's the difference between a car or a sports car and supercars? Beyond the price tag, which for supercars usually involves at least one comma, the gulf between the two categories could hardly be more considerable. Today, supercars are wildly powerful and heavy on performance features that make them as quick as full-bore race cars from just a few years ago. They are loud, flashy, and expensive to the degree that makes them unobtainable for most people.
Supercars can be considered a step up from a traditional sports car, such as a roadster from Jaguar, a great grand tourer from Bentley, a super-sedan from Maserati, or a weekend racer from Honda or even BMW. Of course, they all take cues from motorsport, but supercars dial everything up to 11 and are typically wilder in every way.
That's all without even touching on the subject of hypercars, where cars such as the Bugatti Chiron, Pagani Huayra, and Koenigsegg One:1 play with aerodynamics and technology to make production cars that bend the world's perception of what's possible from a car. Hardcore hypercars like the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, and Aston Martin Valkyrie take the performance car formula to another level, but that's a subject for a whole post on its own.
The number of supercars has exploded in recent years, and they're all getting better all the time. We've picked 10 of our favorites here.
1. McLaren 720S
McLaren's brutally scientific approach to building supercars is on full display in the 720S. The car's twin-turbo V8 produces 710 horsepower, 568 pound-feet of torque, and a 0-60 mph time of just 2.8 seconds before it goes on to a 212 mph top speed. That exquisite performance is wrapped in equally impressive bodywork, where flowing lines incorporate scoops and vents in all the right places.
Like many cars on this list, McLaren has nearly mastered the art of making a supercar that is drivable and comfortable in everyday driving situations. As a result, the 720S gets ultra-premium materials in its cabin and several available luxuries such as Bowers & Wilkins 12-speaker audio. McLaren also offers a track data system that can be had with exterior cameras to record and analyze lap times and driver performance. With a price tag around $300,000 to start, the McLaren's got every supercar-level number locked down.
2. Acura NSX
As one of the most legendary cars from the 1990s, Acura had big expectations to meet when it brought the NSX back in 2016. The new NSX features a gas-electric hybrid powertrain with all-wheel-drive and neck-snapping performance. Acura uses a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 paired with three electric motors, two of which are mounted at the rear to enable the all-wheel-drive. The system produces a total output of 573 horsepower and 476 pound-feet of torque. Power hits all four wheels through a nine-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Though not as quick as some of its competition, the NSX is still capable of a quick 0-60 mph time of 3.1 seconds. Its top speed also falls a bit short at 191 mph, but there are few opportunities to hit that speed outside of a racetrack's controlled environment.
The NSX doesn't fall short on niceties and comfort, however, as its interior comes packed with neat tech like Apple CarPlay, and the car gets an ELS Studio Premium Audio system with nine speakers and a subwoofer as standard equipment. The NSX isn't just a departure from the rest of the Acura lineup in performance. Its price tag of $157,500 dwarfs everything else in the brand's catalog.
3. Chevrolet Corvette
Yes, you're reading that correctly; we said Corvette. The eighth-generation C8 Corvette arrived for 2020 as the first mid-engine model in the nameplate's storied history. The 6.2-liter V8 produces 490 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque in its standard configuration, which is good enough to propel the car from 0-60 mph in around three seconds.
On top of that, Chevy outfitted the C8 with a luxurious interior finished in premium materials and packed with a generous list of standard tech. Making things even better for Chevy fans is the fact that the 2021 Corvette is, by far, the cheapest car on this list. With most options equipped and the top 3LT trim selected, even the Corvette's more expensive convertible body style lands under $100,000.
4. Audi R8
The R8 has been around for quite a while now, but Audi continues to make it better every year. The latest model comes with up to 602 horsepower from its gutsy V10 engine and a cockpit that would make a fighter jet pilot jealous. The R8 is a compelling and desirable supercar, and if there was any doubt, the Audi comes in with a 3.2-second 0-60 mph time and a screaming exhaust note.
The R8 is also one of the more mild-mannered cars on this list from a styling standpoint. Sure, there are scoops and vents, huge wheels, and big brakes, but the car is relatively subdued compared to the Lamborghini Huracán, Ferrari F8 Tributo, and the Ford GT on this list. Still, there's no mistaking that the Audi means business, and the car's base $142,700 price tag backs that up.
5. Porsche 911 Turbo S
Like the Audi R8, the Porsche 911 Turbo S doesn't have crazy styling compared to other supercars. Save for a few letters on the back, and there isn't a lot to make the car look different from the less potent models in the 911 lineup. But the Turbo S is capable of a 0-60 mph time in the mid-two-second range, making it one of the quickest cars on this list. Its twin-turbocharged, 3.7-liter six-cylinder engine makes 640 horsepower to all four wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch automated transmission.
The 911 has four seatbelts inside, but two are for spaces behind the front seats that could hardly be called rear seats. They're best used as a home for small luggage or small pets. Because it's a rear-engine car, the 911 has decent storage in its front-trunk, or "frunk, making it more practical than most cars in this category. Porsche also offers the cars with a load of available features, including a Burmester audio system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and more. Where the 911 may not be as crazy as other supercars in the styling category, its starting price tag of $203,500 certainly goes toe-to-toe with the world's best.
6. Lamborghini Huracán EVO
While the Porsche and Audi are the understated supercars of this group, the Lamborghini Huracán is the outspoken rowdy kid in class. The Huracán's styling is just as exciting and outrageous as the Lamborghini Countach was in the 1980s and would look just as at home on a bedroom poster. While it's not as ostentatious as the larger and more powerful Aventador, the Huracán packs in plenty of theater for a modern car.
The car's naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V10 makes 602 horsepower or 631 horsepower, depending on whether it's rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. The ferocious engine sends its power out through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. All of that adds up to a 0-60 mph time of around 2.5 seconds and a quarter-mile time in the mid-10s. Lamborghini's interiors are almost as wild as its cars are on the outside, and the Huracán is no exception.
Sharp angles, exotic materials, and the latest technologies are all part of the story here, so the cockpit feels every bit as special as the car does outside. The Huracán's base price is quite remarkable as well, at almost $210,000.
7. Ferrari F8 Tributo
Ferraris are high-strung and exotic in a way that makes them desirable and truly special, no matter the model. The F8 Tributo, though, takes all of that Italian magic to another level, with futuristic and sharp lines, extreme agility and acceleration, and an exhilarating open-air driving experience. The twin-turbo 3.9-liter V8 makes 710 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. The cars are rear-wheel drive and driven by a seven-speed automatic gearbox.
Though it's good for a 0-60 mph time of 2.9 seconds and can hit 100 mph in under six, the Tributo is surprisingly refined and tame in everyday driving scenarios. Its exhaust is also less raw-sounding than other V8-powered cars from the company, but that's a small price to pay for such a quick, beautiful car. And the F8 Tributo's price isn't small at all, landing at $275,000 to start.
8. Ford GT
After success in the 1960s at the 24 Hours of LeMans and other racing events worldwide, the Ford GT name is legendary on its own. The latest GTs are technological marvels, though, and produce ridiculous power from an engine that most would consider small by supercar standards. The car's twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 produces an astonishing 660 horsepower and 550 lb-ft of torque. The powertrain makes enough grunt to push the car from 0-60 mph in three seconds and gives it a top speed of 216 mph.
Some may dismiss it as "just a Ford," but the GT's interior is packed with the latest tech and performance items. Carbon fiber and aluminum are plentiful, as are digital displays and plenty of entertainment features. Though most of Ford's lineup is firmly rooted in mainstream prices, the GT lives in another world altogether. Its starting price lands at around $500,000, heart-stopping in itself. Used models are nonexistent, and the waitlist is still vast, too. But the Ford GT is still distinctive even among this rarified class.
9. Mercedes-AMG GT R
The Mercedes-AMG GT R is a long-hooded monster with a rowdy twin-turbo V8 to back up its supercar street cred. The hot coupe sees 577 horsepower from a set of upgraded turbochargers, which Mercedes-Benz says will drive the car from 0-60 mph in around 3.5 seconds. Some drivers may feel that the car's outrageous power output and rear-drive configuration make it difficult to wrangle.
Still, others will note that the barebones drivetrain setup makes it a true enthusiast's car. No matter how you look at it, the AMG GT R is capable of mind-bending performance, and its price tag reflects that. It starts at $165,600 before any options. The performance justifies that money, though, when you consider that AMG builds engines for some of the world's quickest cars.
10. Nissan GT-R NISMO
Some accuse the GT-R of being too computerized or too assisted, but it's hard to argue with the car's performance numbers. The meticulously-engineered twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 produces 600 horsepower and 481 lb-ft of torque. The GT-R's engine is hand-built and even signed by a member of the factory. All-wheel-drive and a six-speed dual-clutch automated transmission are standard.
Though it's down a few gears compared to most cars on this list, the GT-R NISMO isn't down on performance. It can hit 60 mph from a standstill in 2.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 208 mph. With an MSRP of more than $200,000, Nissan has pushed the GT-R's price tag into supercar territory to match its performance, making it the most expensive car in the storied line to date.