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What is a Hypercar?

Bugatti La Voiture Noire

Sports cars, luxury cars, supercars, and hypercars? What happened to cars just being “cars”? Well, when you learn more about hypercars, you realize that these don’t look, act, or sound like any car you’ve ever heard. We’ll tell you all about them – just make sure you’re prepared to drool as you read on.

What is a Hypercar?

Let’s start with a definition – what is a hypercar? It’s an incredible performance vehicle. It’s like comparing a tricycle to a racing motorcycle. Yes, it’s that dramatic.

A hypercar is when a car manufacturer gives an engineer a briefcase full of money and then turns the other way until the car is built. The result is a high-performance, high-speed, high-brow vehicle. If you take a supercar and inject it with steroids, you’re left with a hypercar.

The early rumor was that the “hyper” prefix was actually a shortened version of “high per”, referring to the high performance of these unique beasts. Whether or not it’s true, it’s a fun story.

How did it all start?

The Blurry History of Hypercars

There are three major starting points that people cite when you look at the history of hypercars. You’ll quickly pick up on the trend here: no one really knows what’s going on when it comes to hypercars. All we can do is guess and use a little logic. Here are the three cars that people talk about:

1966: Lamborghini Miura

Lamborghini Miura

If you’re a Lamborghini fan, you might know more about this history than you realize. Many people cite the release of the Lambo Miura as the first recorded hypercar. That would mean this blurry history started around ’66 or ’67.

It was a mid-engine two-seater that was unlike anything on the market at that time. Less than 800 were built during its 7-year production run, and each one had a stupidly-big V12 under the hood, cranking out up to 380 hp.

1978: Lamborghini Countach LP400 S

Lamborghini Countach LP400

A lot of other people argue that it was actually the replacement of the Miura that counts as the first hypercar. That would make the year 1978, and the car in question is the Lambo Countach LP400 S.

This little devil was manufactured for 16 years, but they only cranked out about 2,000 of them. The recipe is very similar to the Miura, with a few key differences:

It had an insanely hot body style. To this day, it’s one of the most fun cars to look at. It also featured scissor doors – the first production car to ever use these. That’s probably why they’re called Lambo doors now, huh?

The Countach also had a massive V12 under the hood, just like the Miura, but this one would produce up to 434 horsepower – a whole 54 more horses. With all that juice, the Countach could get up to a top speed of 179mph, also known as the fastest car in the world on the year that it was tested (1974).

The reason why this might be a better inception of the hypercar is because it takes everything hypercar-y about the Miura and cranks it up another notch. The designers, engineers, and brains behind the Countach were looking to create a knock-out blow, and they did.

2005: Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4

Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4

The third camp happens to be where we personally sit. We believe that the Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 is the true birthplace of the hypercar.

Under the hood, you won’t even recognize what you’re looking at. To this day, Bugatti is the only one to use this 8.0-liter, quad-turbocharged, W16 engine. Kind of like two V8’s glued together. This beast cranks out 987 hp, goes up to 253.81 mph, and gets cooled by three separate radiators.

The acceleration is unreal, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It has a level of engineering and design that we’ve never seen before. The rear wing is hydraulic and has a mind of its own, ebbing and flowing as you take corners or accelerate. When you hit around 140 mph, the entire car drops down another 2.3 inches until it’s just 2.6 inches off the ground.

The brakes are also proprietary to this Bugatti. It uses “radially vented carbon-fiber-reinforced silicon carbide” with eight titanium pistons for the calipers.

Everything about this car is “hyper”. It was a feat by Bugatti to prove what the limitations of a commercial vehicle really are. The car sold for $1.3 million in 2005, and the rumor was that Bugatti actually lost millions of dollars with every sale. That’s the price to pay if you want to jumpstart the world of hypercars.

What Makes a Car a Hypercar?

The truth is that the definition all depends on who you ask. The general definition is that only the top of the top cars on the market can be considered hypercars.

There isn’t an official headcount when it comes to how many of these exist, and that’s mostly because people can’t agree on what makes a car a hypercar. The actual count can vary from a handful to around 30 makes and models.

The same problem happened back in the day when the term “supercar” started getting used. People would wrongly call a muscle car a supercar since there were so few examples to go by. You can expect in the next decade or so, more truth will come to the world of hypercars.

In the meantime, let’s talk about what you can look for.

McLaren P1

Characteristics of a Hypercar

Despite the general lack of consensus, there are certain characteristics you can look for. Here’s a quick list:

The Looks

If you look at a car and your pants start to feel uncomfortable, that’s a hypercar. The styling is truly unique thanks to incredible designers and near-limitless budgets. You’ll see wings, scoops, sharp lines, and plenty of aero across the board. Every option features a ton of ways to help air get into the engine to cool the car down.

Any hypercar can be printed on a massive poster board and can justifiably be hung up at the MoMA without any issues.

The Price

Without fail, hypercars are hyper-expensive. We’re talking upwards of a million dollars for a vast majority of the cars on the market. Since these cars feature such advanced designs and engineering, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Low-Run Production

Most hypercar manufacturers will produce a few dozen cars and that’s it. As we mentioned earlier, Bugatti loses a ton of money with each production, so it doesn’t make sense to run a large-scale production run.

On top of that, how many billionaire car enthusiasts are there out there, anyway?

Unbelievable Power

Comparing the horsepower between a hypercar and a standard car just doesn’t make sense. Like comparing the size of the sun and a golf ball.

A little gem made by Lotus cranks out 1,973 horsepower. Exactly – unbelievable power.

Acceleration and Speed

Like Uncle Ben always said, with great power comes great acceleration and speed. You’ll find top speeds up to 331mph and 0-60 times as low as 1.85 seconds. If you want to drive from point A to point B before the microwave beeps, you need a hypercar.

Unique and Novel Additions

Any time you’re talking about “first-of-its-kind” additions to a really nice car, it probably turns into a hypercar. Just like when Bugatti put a first-ever engine, radiator system, wing, suspension, and brake system into their design.

Superior Build Quality

With such a massive price tag, you expect a nice build quality. This is actually a defining characteristic of a hypercar. It can’t feel like it’s going to fall apart when the speedometer hits 100mph. Only high-quality materials, well-designed, and perfectly engineered cars can fit into this category.

Commercially Available

You can’t call an F1 car a rally car since it isn’t commercially available. It’s only a hypercar if you can give a car manufacturer a massive pile of money and they let you drive off their car lot with your new hypercar.

Performance

All of these characteristics play into the final performance of the car. Hypercars are built around the idea of providing the highest performance on the market. This means going around a track really fast.

(Tentative) List of Hypercars in 2021

This list will probably upset some hypercar fanatics out there, so we’ll throw in a little preface: this is a tentative list of hypercars. Some people don’t consider some of these options viable, but this list is mostly complete (thanks to SuperCars.net). We’ll tell you the car’s name, price, power, 0-60 time, and the top speed.

2021 Gordon Murray T.50

Gordon Murray T.50

Base price: $2,600,000

Power: 654 bhp

0-60 mph: TBD

Top Speed: TBD

2021 Pagani Huayra

Pagani Huayra

Base Price: $2,000,000

Power: 720 bhp

0-60 mph: 2.8 seconds

Top Speed: 238 mph

2021 Lamborghini Sián

LAMBORGHINI SIAN FKP 37

Base Price: $3,600,000

Power: 808 hp

0-60 mph: 2.8 seconds

Top Speed: 217+ mph

Ferrari Monza SP1 & SP2

Ferrari Monza SP2 Speedster

Base price: $1,000,000

Power: 810 bhp

0-60 mph: < 3 sec (est)

Top Speed: 186 mph

2021 Ferrari SF90 Stradale

Ferrari SF90

Base price: $625,000

Power: 989 bhp

0-60 mph: 2.5 sec

Top Speed: TBD

2021 Hennessey Venom F5

Hennessey Venom F5

Base price: $1,600,000

Power: 1,817 bhp

0-60 mph: 1.9 s

Top Speed: 300mph+

2021 Pininfarina Battista

Pininfarina Battista

Base price: $2,500,000

Power: 1,900 bhp

0-60 mph: < 2.0 s

Top Speed: 217 mph

2021 SSC Tuatara

SSC Tuatara

Base price: $1,600,000

Power: 1,750 bhp

0-60 mph: 2.4 s

Top Speed: 331mph

2021 Rimac C_Two

Rimac C Two

Base price: $2,000,000

Power: 1,914 bhp

0-60 mph: 1.85 s

Top Speed: 258 mph

2021 Aston Martin Valkyrie

Aston Martin Valkyrie

Base price: $3,000,000 (est.)

Power: 1,160 bhp

0-60 mph: 2.5 s

Top Speed: 250 mph

Mercedes-AMG Project One

Mercedes-AMG Project One

Base price: TBD

Power: >1,000 bhp

0-60 mph: TBD

Top Speed: 217+ mph

2021 Lotus Evija

Lotus Evija

Base price: $2,100,000

Power: 1,973 bhp

0-60 mph: < 3 s

Top Speed: 200 mph

2021 Koenigsegg Jesko

Koenigsegg Jesko

Base price: $2,800,000

Power: 1280 bhp (standard) or 1600 bhp (biofuel)

0-60 mph: 2.5 s

Top Speed: 250 mph

2021 Koenigsegg Gemera

Koenigsegg Gemera

Base price: $2,000,000

Power: 1700 bhp

0-60 mph: 1.9 s

Top Speed: 250+ mph

2021 Koenigsegg One:1

Koenigsegg One:1

Base price: $7,200,000

Power: 1341 bhp

0-60 mph: 2.1 s

Top Speed: 280 mph

2021 Bugatti Chiron

Bugatti Chiron

Base price: $3,000,000

Power: 1500 bhp

0-60 mph: 2.4 s

Top Speed: 261 mph

2021 McLaren Senna

McLaren Senna

Base price: $960,000

Power: 789 bhp

0-60 mph: 2.8 sec

Top Speed: 211 mph

2021 McLaren Speedtail

McLaren Speedtail

Base price: $2.2 million

Power: 1036 bhp

0-60 mph: 2.9 sec

Top Speed: 250+ mph

2021 McLaren Elva

McLaren Elva

Base price: $1.8 million

Power: 804 bhp

0-60 mph: 2.9 sec

Top Speed: TBD

2021 McLaren P1

McLaren P1

Base price: $3.4 million

Power: 903 bhp

0-60 mph: 2.8 sec

Top Speed: 217 mph

2021 Ferrari LaFerrari

Ferrari LaFerrari

Base price: $1.4 million

Power: 950 bhp

0-60 mph: <3 sec

Top Speed: 220 mph

2020 Porsche 918 Spyder

Porsche 918 Spyder

Base price: $1.7 million

Power: 875 bhp

0-60 mph: 2.2 sec

Top Speed: 218 mph

2021 Lamborghini Centenario

Lamborghini Centenario LP770-4

Base price: $1.9 million

Power: 770 bhp

0-60 mph: 2.5 sec

Top Speed: 217 mph

The Original Four Hypercars

When Bugatti first unveiled their hypercar, it wasn’t too long until other manufacturers threw their hats in the ring. For a long time, there were only four cars in this category:

  • Porsche 918
  • Ferrari LaFerrari
  • McLaren P1
  • Bugatti Veyron

Conclusion

As a car lover, nothing’s better than talking about hypercars. They combine beauty, performance, and never-before-seen engineering and put it inside a beautiful package. If you ever win the lottery, your first purchase better be one of these beautiful beasts.

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