Tuesday August 29, 2017
Are modern supercars really better than the old-timers? We delve into the big supercar debate
Is newer necessarily better? Modern supercars nowadays post power figures three or four times the output of their 1960s and 70s brethren, with top speeds spiralling beyond 200mph - and in some cases, way more than that.
But does more power, added torque and extra performance inflate the fun factor? We’ve compared some supercar classics with their modern-day equivalent to see how the breed has evolved over the decades.
Ferrari: 2017 488 GTB vs 1976 308 GTB
Price: £183,974 vs £11,997
Top speed: 206mph vs 156mph
0-62mph: 3.0sec vs 6.0sec
Power output: 661bhp vs 252bhp
We say: The junior Ferrari supercar has always been a highlight of the range: the new one is imperious, if somewhat more complicated with a fussier style than the 1970s original.
Lamborghini: 2017 Aventador S vs 1990 Countach 5000 QV
Price: £225,955 vs £68,500
Top speed: 217mph vs 185mph
0-62mph: 2.9sec vs 4.8sec
Power output: 730bhp vs 455bhp
We say: Wild and aggressive, the big, bad Countach adorned many a schoolboy’s bedroom wall. Modern Lambos haven’t deviated much from the recipe - but added a welcome dose of Audi build quality.
Honda: 2017 NSX vs the 1989 original
Price: £143,950 vs £54,000
Top speed: 191mph vs 159mph
0-62mph: 3.0sec vs 5.8sec
Power output: 565bhp vs 270bhp
We say: The original NSX was a mould-breaking supercar that showed the Italians how to democratise the breed. Today’s hybrid model points to the future of eco-friendly sports cars.
Which would you prefer? There’s no doubt that the modern breed are astonishingly rapid and a great deal more reliable and easier to drive than their forefathers.
But are they as beautiful, as soulful to drive? With their reliance on microchips and electronics to keep all that power on the road, the moderns can sometimes feel rather akin to driving a computer simulation game.
Click-clacking manual gear changes and perfectly executed heel-n-toe downshifts are often nowadays replaced by the digital paddle-shift, legislation-hushed petrol power and electrifying hybrid drive in the case of the Honda NSX.
Ultimately, the modern breed of supercars are still brilliant and thrilling to drive fast. Their CO2 emissions and environmental impact are greatly reduced. They’re way more reliable and less recalcitrant.
Perhaps the loss of a little romance is the price of progress.
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