Have We Hit Peak Supercar?

Have We Hit Peak Supercar?

(Bloomberg) — At the Frankfurt Auto Show next month, Lamborghini will unveil a hybrid version of the Aventador.

The Bologna, Italy-based brand will make 63 of them, all already spoken for.

That is the rumor, at least. Lamborghini has declined to comment on any plans to debut an electric-motor supercar, though it has hinted at it publicly in recent months and described in past detail how such special projects form an integral part of the business. 

“The Reventon prompted the big discussion about the dimensions of this segment,” Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborgini’s chief engineer, told Bloomberg Pursuits during an interview in his office at company headquarters, noting that Lamborghini “started” the segment with its Lamborghini Reventon in 2007. “We were the first to do it like this. As we scouted more and more during that time, we started to see how, in this market, you can stretch in terms of price and in terms of demand. The Reventon coupe was $3 million; the [Reventon] roadster was $3.2 million; the Centenario was $2 million. So in this segment, we know there is a marvelous market.”

The mid-engine V12, all-wheel-drive Reventon famously hit 220mph on a test in Dubai, an astounding figure for a production car at that time. Only 20 were made, plus one marked for the Lamborghini museum. 

Should it happen, the new hybrid will join a burgeoning field of extremely limited-edition hybrid and electric supercars from such luxury powerhouses as Aston Martin, Ferrari, Koenigsegg, Lotus, Mercedes-Benz, and Pininfarina. They have been flaunted recently in dazzling hues on golf courses and during private parties at seaside villas, heralded on Instagram fanboy accounts and Rodeo Drive parades orchestrated for YouTube.

Where it used to be that a company would have only one ever, or at most, one per year, now it seems they’re whipping them up as fast as possible. In the past year, Aston Martin alone has debuted and promised supercars in spades: the super-lightweight 1,160-horsepower Valkyrie and the 986 hp Valhalla hybrids, plus a Vanquish Vision concept and Valkyrie AMR Pro concept, not to mention the electric offerings from its Lagonda department. They follow the precedent from the One-77 and Vulcan supercars that came in the years before. It’s quite a different mood for what used to be a staid, small automaker tucked into the verdant hills of England’s Cotswolds region.

Many supercars, such as the $2.72 million Mercedes-AMG Project One limited-to-275 hybrid supercar based on Mercedes’s Formula 1 car, are sold as concepts, or very rough prototypes, and require six- or seven-figure deposits years in advance to ensure delivery. Others are sold with even less—a few sketches, a rendering, a foam-filled shell at an auto show. That’s if you can even get on the list to buy one. The official party line for most, like the Lambo, is that they have sold out before they’re even seen.

Some collectors are starting to find the rigmarole rather tedious.

“We need an awakening and cleansing soon to get everyone back into reality,” says Dan Kang, the well-known car collector based in Southern California, who owns a McLaren Senna, a Guntherwerks Porsche 911, and Lamborghini Centenario in similar carbon fiber livery, among other supercars. “It’s not even the new companies, but the current heritage brands as well, who feel they can demand the new price points without much substance. They need to support what they have already sold—not what [car] they can shovel up next.”

When manufacturers are unveiling cars that can’t be driven for years to come, and the very people able to afford them are over the hype anyway, it raises the question: Have we reached peak supercar?

Supermodels in Car World 

Modern supercars, and their higher-end cousins, hypercars—both relative terms defined largely by whom you ask—are latecomers to the thread of automotive history. First, there were the rockets of their time, such as the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows of the 1930s and 300SL Gullwings of the 1950s. In the 1960s, the Ferrari 250 GTOs dominated countless races and reached automotive immortality as the ultimate auction house blue-chip buys. But the supercar as we know it really came into its own in the late 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, when hedonism reigned supreme. Such early examples as the Lamborghini Countach and Ferrari F40 set major precedents for design and performance. They were like space ships, compared the mundane and affordable metal boxes of the day. Everyone has a favorite; just ask the guys down at the weekend coffee klatch about the Vector, the Ferrari Enzo, or the Porsche Carrera GT. You’ll get a reaction.

Story continues

They were duly expensive. A Countach sold for $72,000 at the time, or the equivalent of $375,000 today; the F40 cost $400,000, or the equivalent of $884,000 today.

Supercars tend to age well if you have the patience, luck, and financing to get your hands on one: On Aug. 16 in…

Original Article Source

To view the original article and author, click on the link above. Thanks!

Close Menu
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!