Courtesy Covnini Engineering
This post originally appeared at Departures.Start thinking about supercars, and iconic brands like Bugatti, Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini spring quickly to mind. Thanks to a number of new names in the field, though, today’s supercar lineup is getting as crowded as the starting grid of a Formula One race.
While unfamiliar to many American drivers, many of these new manufacturers boast substantial pedigrees in auto racing or behind-the-scenes car design. Among the most storied names is McLaren, a British company with a long history of Formula One racing. Like many of its fabled cars, which have been fixtures on the international-racing circuit (the 1970s’ M23, the 1980s’ MP4/4 and MP4/5), McLaren’s newly released MP4-12C is a showstopper, with a flashy gull-wing design and a 3.8-liter, mid-mounted-twin-turbo V8 engine that tops out at 205 mph.
Other new supercars, however, are equally bold. The Italian-made Covini C3A, for example, has superior handling that it attributes to a six-wheel design. The Bertone Nuccio, a low-slung concept car, has glowing bars instead of headlights and taillights, and a TV screen mounted where a rear windshield would be. And the Tuatara, the latest offering from American brand SSC (formerly known as Shelby Supercars), has a near-rocket-powered engine that goes from zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds.
What’s especially unusual about some of these models, though, is their relative user-friendliness. The McLaren MP4-12C, for all its high-performance features, doesn’t require the skills of a Formula One racer to drive. Those snazzy gull-wing doors make the interior feel roomy, and even fold upwards to minimize the potential for unwanted contact with garage roofs. It gets great gas mileage too (15 mpg in the city/22 on the highway). All of this is reassuring, because, although the chances for actually getting to drive one of these new supercars is slim (most are only being made in very limited editions), at least you can still dream about it.
Here’s our lineup of dream-worthy, new supercars.
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This story was originally published by Departures.
The MP4-12C more than proves its mettle on the track: Its 3.8-liter, mid-mounted-twin-turbo V8 engine tops out at 205 mph, and thanks to a bit of Formula One sorcery called brake steer (subsequently banned), understeer is corrected through corners by applying braking to the inside rear wheel to keep the car in line. But the model is road-worthy too. In normal driving mode (sport, winter and track are the other options), you can shift gears manually, but the transmission will revert to automatic if left to itself for seven seconds. The extremely efficient engine delivers 80 per cent of its torque below 2,000 rpm--which means you don't have to floor it to get great performance. And yes, there's room for luggage under the front hood. The price tag: $229,000.mclaren.com.
A supercar from Poland? You bet--even though the name sounds Italian and the car designer (Lee Noble) is an Englishman. With a 650-hp V8 engine that reaches 211 mph--and does zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds--the Arrinera is a real speed demon. It's also got a nicely appointed black-and-orange interior, plus a safety-tech thermal vision camera that detects the heat signature of man and beast (so what's on the road ahead is visible even in the darkest night). Best of all, at $160,000, it's a relative bargain for a supercar.arrinera.com
If the Bertone Nuccio induces a flashback to the 1970s, then you probably remember the wedge-shaped Lancia Stratos Zero or the Lamborghini Countach from that era. But as the light bars that replace standard headlights and taillights shows, this 480-hp V8 concept car isn't some kind of design throwback. The bright-orange roof is a tensile structure more often associated with stadium canopies. And while many cars have rear views supplied by cameras, the Nuccio displays those images on a 26-inch LCD television screen, mounted where the rear window would be. Bertone may not be a household name in the U.S., but the Italian car-design company celebrates its centennial this year.bertone.it
For $1 million, you should get six wheels, right? Yes, it's true: The C3A, which hails from Italy, has four of its six wheels up front, the better to increase traction, improve cornering and increase braking. The improved handling may come in handy, given that the car will whisk you from zero to 60 in 3.4 seconds, and top out at 185 mph. The model uses an Audi V8 engine and a six-speed manual transmission; only 20 will be made per year. coviniengineering.com
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