► The best supercars on sale
► From Woking to Maranello
► And yes, we’re waiting for the 992 GT3…
Was the 1954 Mercedes 300 SL ‘Gullwing’ the first supercar? Or the 1965 Shelby Cobra 427? Certainly, it was the 1966 Lamborghini Miura that established the template: traffic-stopping style, a stentorian engine mounted in the middle and a hedonistic disregard for practicality or price. Its ancestors have enthralled enthusiasts, engorged egos and emptied bank balances ever since.
Perhaps searching for a pioneer or archetype misses the point. Styling and aerodynamics constantly evolve, limits of power and performance are pushed, yet any seven-year-old can still identify a supercar on sight. Looking and sounding sensational are as imperative as speed itself. A Ferrari Testarossa might lose a drag race to a Volkswagen Golf R, but only one of them belongs on a bedroom wall.
That drama is amplified from behind the wheel, as countless CAR adventure stories can attest. Perhaps the most famous is Convoy!, the February 1977 cover feature by then-editor Mel Nichols. His account of a 1,000-mile road-trip from Modena to London, driving three Lamborghinis – Countach, Silhouette and Urraco – captures the sense of occasion perfectly, and has become part of motoring folklore.
‘It had the unreal quality of a dream’, said Nichols of a 160mph blast along French autoroutes, ‘the incredible feeling of stability, the amazing precision of a car that has no other purpose in life other than to spear on down the road, as fast and as far as possible’. The supercar may have changed since then, but its raison d’être has not. We should all be grateful for that.
Aston Martin DBS Superleggera
Ferrari F8 Tributo
Ferrari 488 Pista
Lamborghini Huracan Evo
Ferrari 812 Superfast
Best supercars 2020: a buying guide
Buying a supercar isn’t a rational decision, so the usual ‘buying guide’ tips don’t apply. CarPlay and cupholders be damned: if you ache to own it, go forth and live the dream. The cars we’ve chosen range from the track-oriented McLaren 600LT to the brawny Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, but all are capable of recreating that Mel Nichols magic.
It’s best to see the price of a supercar as merely the starting point. We’ve never tested the urban myth that Ferrari refuses to sell a ‘standard’ car – let us know if you have – but you should probably budget well into five figures for extras. The McLaren 600LT Spider we tested had £26,860-worth of exterior carbon fibre alone, and that’s before you get into the endless options for personalisation. Be careful your ‘taste’ doesn’t torpedo the resale value.
Speaking of values, you can buy a supercar and make money. Some automotive influencers repeatedly do just that. The key is to choose low-volume or limited-edition models, ideally with a long waiting list – a Porsche 911 GT3 RS or Ferrari F12 tdf, for example. However, assuming you have the cash upfront, the biggest hurdle will be pushing to the front of the queue. Unless you’re a loyal customer, you may be politely ignored.
And why no Porsche 911 GT3? That’s simple. This a list of best supercars you can currently buy, and that means we’ll have to revisit this list when Porsche reveals the 992 GT3.
Read on for our selection of the best supercars on sale, then follow the links for full reviews of each one. Whether you’re a dreamer or a driver, there’s much to enjoy.
Best supercars 2019
Following in the Trofeo-tracks of the 675LT can’t have been easy, but the 600LT lives up to the Long Tail legacy. A track-focused version of the 570S, its elongated rear deck houses two truncated tailpipes, which spit flames at a fixed – and heat-treated – rear wing. It gains 30hp and sheds up to 100kg over its more civilised sibling, while forged aluminium suspension and carbon-ceramic brakes are borrowed from the 720S. Air conditioning and infotainment are both no-cost options, and you can pay extra for Senna-spec carbon seats.
The 600LT will blast to 62mph in 2.9 seconds and 204mph flat-out, yet its laser-focused chassis is what impresses most. Aggressive turn-in and Velcro grip are complemented by superb hydraulic steering (remember that?) and benign balance at the limit. Ride comfort and road noise suffer versus the 570S, though, making it harder work as a daily-driver. Does that matter? Probably not. The Spider version is even more visceral and exciting, too.
Read our McLaren 600LT review
Aston Martin DBS Superleggera
Aston Martin labels it a ‘super GT’. Company boss Andy Palmer says it’s a ‘brute in a suit’. Whatever you call this top-tier DB11, it’s unquestionably one of the most decadent, awe-inspiring supercars on sale. The styling blends a classic post-DB7 silhouette with details such as curlicues and ‘open stirrups’ in the front wings, inspired by the Vulcan and Vantage GTE racer. It simply oozes mechanical malice. The four-seat cabin is more familiar, although you can spice things up with options from Aston’s archly-named ‘Q’ division. Sadly, the old-tech Mercedes media system stays put.
Not that you’ll care when the 715bhp 5.2-litre V12 awakens. With a dry weight of 1,693kg, the Superleggera is hardly ‘super light’, yet a knockout 664lb ft of torque means 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds and a 211mph top speed. To drive, it feels like a force of nature, its thunderous thrust ripping a hole in the horizon. Adaptive damping, a mechanical limited-slip diff and handling tuned by former Lotus guru Matt Becker mean it corners with real composure, too. Future mid-engined Astons may go even quicker, but they won’t be so brimful of effusive charm.
Read our Aston Martin DBS Superleggera review
Ferrari F8 Tributo
When Lamborghini updated the Huracan with a Performante engine, it created the Huracan Evo. When Ferrari fitted a Pista engine to the 488 GTB, it created… an entirely new car. Perhaps we’re being facetious, as much has changed in the transition to F8 Tributo. On-track, the F8 feels even pointier and more playful than its predecessor, the Dynamic Enhancer making light work of showboating slides. On the road, it’s zingy, athletic and ferociously fast, yet mild-mannered enough for everyday driving.
Its cabin is also plusher than a Pista, yet resolutely driver-oriented. Long paddles activate the dual-clutch ’box, while the now-familiar manettino – with Race mode front-and-centre – nestles by your right thumb. Named in ‘tribute’ to Ferrari’s multi-award-winning V8, the Tributo makes 710bhp at a frenetic 8,000rpm: good for 62mph in 2.9sec and 213mph. Nestled beneath an F40-style louvred Lexan rear window, it’s one of the great road car engines.
Read our Ferrari F8 Tributo review
Ferrari 488 Pista
The 488 GTB sleeps with the fishes, but the Pista lives on. Not that you actually can buy one. Well, not unless you already own several Ferraris, convert to Catholicism and christen your first-born ‘Enzo’. As one of Maranello’s hallowed ‘special series’ cars, the Pista’s bloodline includes the 458 Speciale, 430 Scuderia and 360 Stradale. That it matches – and arguably surpasses – its forebears for dynamic acuity and explosive exuberance makes it special indeed.
The key ingredients are more power (up 50bhp to 710bhp), less weight (down 90kg to 1,385kg) and enhanced aero, including a plunging ‘S-duct’ in the nose and rear diffuser based on the 488 GTE racer. Its V8 sounds like a bandsaw slicing through granite, constantly goading you into wringing out more revs. Yet swift steering and a benign chassis shouldn’t make you an unwitting star of Wreckedexotics.com. Awesome on the road and transcendental on-track, the Pista is a triple espresso for the soul.
Read our Ferrari 488 Pista review
Lamborghini Huracan Evo
Frankly, you could squeeze a 631bhp naturally aspirated V10 into anything, even a Dacia Sandero, and we’d still want to drive it. OK, make that especially a Dacia Sandero. This 8,000rpm screamer exists on borrowed time, but the Evo is a fitting swansong – and more than a mere facelift for a car first launched in 2014. Rear-wheel steering, vastly more downforce and a new ‘Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata’ (LDVI) system have transformed how the Huracan drives.
While the original car defaulted to understeer, LDVI makes the Evo far more malleable. Corsa (track) mode delivers apex-slicing focus, but switch to Sport and it slides with gleeful abandon. Its dynamic disadvantage versus the Ferrari F8 Tributo and McLaren 720S has narrowed, if not vanished outright. That V10 remains Lamborghini’s USP, however, feeling worth the £206,000 price of entry alone. Light the fuse and it explodes to 62mph in 2.9 seconds and onwards to 202mph, eliciting expletives with every pull of the paddle.
One more thing. It’s very possible the new RWD-only Huracan may blow this one out the water.
Read our Lamborghini Huracan Evo review
Back in 2013, the McLaren P1 was an era-defining hybrid hypercar. For £866,000, it could reach 124mph in 6.8sec and blitz a standing quarter-mile in 9.8sec. Yet within five years, Woking launched a series-production supercar for a quarter of the price that was scarcely slower (7.8sec and 10.3sec). The 720S was the moment McLaren Automotive finally came of age, vanquishing the Italians with its peerless breadth of ability. It looked the part, too: evolving the by-numbers styling of the 12C and 650S into something hollow-eyed and almost extra-terrestrial.
McLaren’s 710bhp V8 doesn’t hit the high notes like a Lamborghini V10 – its gasps and swooshes are less operatic, more industrial – but it gives away nothing in sheer speed. As the twin-scroll turbos start to spool, an omnipotent hand scoops you up and hurls you into the middle-distance. Other highlights include lucid steering, mighty brakes and Drift Control to tweak your angles of attack. However, it’s the everyday usability of the 720S that truly sets it apart. On British roads, its hydraulic suspension feels deft and loose-limbed where rivals are stiff and skittish, plus it has excellent visibility and a surprisingly big boot. Until a new 911 Turbo comes along, it’s the closest you’ll get to a sensible supercar.
Read our McLaren 720S review
Ferrari 812 Superfast
Don’t be fooled by the front-mounted engine, coupe silhouette or lack of aero appendages. It may look like a muscle car in an Armani suit, but this is the most high-functioning, head-spinning machine here. The 812’s naturally aspirated 6.5-litre V12 revs to 8,900rpm and feels utterly unhinged. It yelps and howls like Robert Plant on Whole Lotta Love. And it blasts the aptly-named Superfast to 62mph in 2.9sec and 211mph. We need a lie down just thinking about it.
On the road, an E-Diff, F1-Trac stability control and rear-wheel steering help muzzle the salivating maniac out-front. On a track, you can flick the manettino to ‘CT Off’ and shred rubber like Ken Block. Either way, corralling 789 prancing horses tends to focus the mind. The 812 has a luxurious interior and up to 500 litres of luggage space, yet it’s arguably too intense to be a long-legged GT. The DBS Superleggera better fulfils that brief. On the right road, though – preferably a very long and empty one – the Ferrari is transcendent.
Read our Ferrari 812 Superfast review
We’ll be updating this page regularly, so keep checking back for our latest thoughts on the best supercars.