There has beenÂ a gradual transition inÂ the meaning of the wordÂ 'supercar' over the past decade. Up until this point, the general notion of a supercar was one that leapt out at you, grabbed you and was an overt image of everything that you wanted to be. TheÂ supercar was an object of desire for many a young boy who wouldÂ blu-tac a picture to his wall and dream ofÂ owning one in the future.Â This relates to the Bugattis, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Detomaso's and Porsches of the time to name but a few. In fact the list goes on, and includes cars whichÂ were only really available toÂ the 'Elite' ofÂ society,Â say, Sheikhs, Barons and Millionaires. The supercar was a clear depiction of wealth and opulence, but not necessarily of taste. All of the above were specifically built with the aim of achieving a shock value, whether thatÂ focuses onÂ the looks of the car or the power, but the manufacturer would always try to encorporate both (some more successfully than others).
Take the Lamborghini Countach. This certainly has the 'wow' factor when it comes to styling, and was also packing a very heavy punch with regards to power; the 1982 LP500S model had aÂ 0-60 mphÂ of 5.6 seconds and topped out at 164 mph. Drive one of these through your local high Street and I guarantee everyone will look in awe.
Moving on toÂ present dayÂ though, and it seems that the transition is present not in the form of even more garish or flashÂ automobile designs, but rather in producing cars that are conservative and purposeful. Now we are surrounded with a plethora ofÂ vehicles that easily match the performance of the Countach (and all of it's rivals for that matter) in the past, but do so in a way which does not scream and shout about it. This point can be proven time and time again just by comparing some modern cars to their predecessors. The new Audi RS6 Avant, which arrived in the UK in August, has a mind boggling 0-60 time of just 4.6 seconds and a limited top speed of 170 mph. This trounces the Lamborghini in every department, oh, and did I mention that it's an estate?! Instead of brutish looks, combining angled louvres and sloppy lines, the Audi appears modern, fresh and dignified. To the untrained eye, it evenÂ looksÂ likeÂ a run-of-the-mill shopping car.Â It does'nt jump out at you andÂ yell 'Look at me!'. For me, this just goes to showÂ how car manufacturers have progressed in leaps and bounds to offer the consumer complete satisfaction without the embarassment.
Though these leaps and bounds have not happened in the car industry without their fair share of trips and falls. The Audi and countless other cars that today oftenÂ have substantially more power ( including the Mercedes CL63Â AMG or BMW M5) thanÂ cars from twentyÂ odd years ago, but it has to be asked; where is the individuality? TheÂ boorish looks and the egotistical nature that should be the most important selling point of the modernÂ performance car has been lost in a sea ofÂ mass productionÂ and market figures replacing passion and ingenuity. Though the idea of a modern supercar such as an Audi or Mercedes in a 4 door guiseÂ with a huge boot and space in the rear doesÂ seem appealing, the sheer attraction to the older cars that were considered as being 'out of the box' will never fade.
Â So now, one can safely say that the supercar available to the consumer is very different to the supercar available between 20 and 30 years ago, and that the word has a completely different meaning, which in turn, has lead manufacturers such as Ferrari and Lamborghini to create new market niches, commonly known as hypercars to whetÂ our appetites. The Lp640 being an adequate contender or perhaps the Porsche 911 GT3 RS. The only question is, that in another 20 years time, will the hyper car mean something completely different to what it does today? I'd certainly put money on that...................