10 Supercars for 2018

Even with the advent of electric powertrains and autonomous vehicle controls, the high-power supercar is still alive and well.
  • In an era when fuel efficiency dominates the automotive discussion, it’s good to know that the art of performance engineering hasn’t been lost.

    This year, as in so many years past, automakers continue to roll out 500-HP vehicles capable of zooming from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds. To be sure, the powertrain solutions are mixed—from gasoline to pure electric to everything in between.

    Here, we offer a peek at some of the high-power, low-volume vehicles that turned heads at places like the recent Geneva Motor Show and New York International Auto Show. From Porsches and Bentleys to Lamborghinis and McLarens, these are some of the auto industry’s most audacious new designs. (Image source: McLaren)

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  • Croatian car manufacturer Rimac Automobili recently rolled out the C_Two, a pure electric hypercar with a top speed of 258 mph and a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 1.85 seconds. The secret to its astounding performance is a 120-kWh battery pack that delivers—get ready—1,914 HP. The C_Two employs an electric motor at each wheel, while cutting weight with a full carbon fiber monocoque, bonded carbon roof, and merged rear carbon subframe. It also offers SAE Level 4 autonomy, using 12 ultrasonic sensors, eight on-board cameras, six radar emitters, and a Lidar sensor. To prevent owners from having to use a conventional key, it also incorporates facial recognition. Oh, in case you find a really open stretch of road, it accelerates from 0-300 km/h in 11.8 seconds. (Image source: Rimac Automobili)

  • Lamborghini’s Huracan Performante Spyder, unveiled at the recent Geneva Motor Show, reinforces the Italian automaker’s roots with a gasoline-burning, naturally aspirated V10 engine that cranks out 640 HP and 442 lb-ft of torque. Peak torque is at 6,500 rpm, but Lamborghini says that 70% of that torque is available at just 1,000 rpm. The Spyder uses an aluminum body with touches of carbon fiber, which allow for a complex-shaped front and rear spoiler, hood, rear bumper, and aerodynamic diffuser. The vehicle’s 0-62-mph time is 3.1 seconds and its top speed is 201 mph. The Huracan Performante Spyder can be purchased for a cool $308,859 in the US. (Image source: Lamborghini)

  • Aston Martin says it’s not ready to release full technical details of its new Valkyrie AMR Pro hypercar. But there’s enough info there to whet the appetite of performance enthusiasts. The Valkyrie employs a hybrid V12 powertrain that produces an amazing 1,100 HP—which is to say, 1 HP for every kilogram of mass. The track-only car is said to offer 3G of lateral acceleration—a key to fast lap times. Bodywork is largely carbon fiber. The Valkyrie also employs a polycarbonate windshield and side windows, as well as a carbon fiber wishbone suspension. Top speed is said to be 225 mph. (Image source: Aston Martin)

  • Volvo’s electric performance brand, Polestar, rolled out the Polestar 1 hybrid at the recent Geneva Motor Show. The Polestar 1 is a Hybrid 2+2 coupe that produces 600 HP and 737 lb-ft of torque, as well as 90 miles of pure-electric driving range—said to be the longest of any hybrid car in the world. Power at the front wheels comes from the car’s internal combustion engine, while rear wheels are driven by a double-electric axle. The source for the electric power is a 34-kWh lithium-ion battery—a huge number for a hybrid car. Polestar, which plans to produce only 500 of these cars per year, says it already has 6,000 potential customers. (Image source: Polestar)

  • Ferrari’s 488 Pista, which rolled out in February, uses light weight and high power to produce big performance numbers. The twin turbo engine, which won the International Engine of the Year Award in 2017, is said to be the most powerful V8 engine in the company’s history, producing 710 HP and 568 lb-ft of torque. At the same time, Ferrari says the 488 is nearly 200 lbs lighter than the vehicle’s predecessor, bringing its mass down to 2,820 lbs. As a result, the 488 Pista’s performance numbers are amazing: a 0-62 mph time of 2.85 seconds and a max speed of 211 mph. (Image source: Ferrari)

  • The GFG Sibylla smart electric sedan offers a modern-day wrinkle on the supercar: It cranks out big power numbers while connecting “to a network of renewable energy assets.” The car’s powertrain uses its 536 HP to enable a 0-62 mph time of 4.5 seconds, while storing 100 kWh in the battery for a 279-mile all-electric range. But the Sibylla’s real technical distinction is its use of the EnOS energy IoT platform, which links it to the surrounding energy infrastructure. Integrating itself into the grid in this way means the car can share energy with homes, buildings, and even other vehicles. (Image source: GFG)

  • McLaren’s Senna, also introduced at the Geneva Motor Show, is a “theme-based” vehicle from the British supercar maker. Its most prominent asset is its use of carbon fiber. The vehicle’s central structure and body panels employ 67 carbon fiber parts, requiring almost 1,000 hours per car to produce. At the same time, however, the rear-wheel-drive Senna develops great quantities of power. Its four-liter twin-turbo V8 cranks out 800 HP and 590 lb-ft of torque, enabling it to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 2.7 seconds. McLaren says that it will build just 500 Sennas, selling them for about $1.06 million each. (Image source: McLaren)

  • English supercar manufacturer McLaren says the Atlantic Blue version of the new 720S has been called “the world’s most beautiful supercar.” The blue 720S, which made its debut in Geneva, makes liberal use of carbon fiber throughout its body and even employs carbon-ceramic brakes. A 4.0-liter turbocharged engine delivers 710 HP, enabling the 720S to accelerate from 0-62 mph in 2.9 seconds and hit a top speed of 212 mph. Unlike some supercars, the 720S also offers creature comforts, including electric heated seats, electrically adjustable steering column, advanced climate system, cruise control, and connectivity. All of that can be obtained for a starting price of $396,000. (Image source: McLaren)

  • Porsche’s high-performance 911 GT3 RS sports car, which premiered in March, is another new automotive entrant that cranks out high power. The 911 GT3 RS features a four-liter, six-cylinder naturally-aspirated engine that produces 520 HP, enabling a 0-62-mph acceleration time of 3.2 seconds. Porsche engineers coupled the engine with the company’s well-known Doppelkupplung transmission—a seven-speed design that features automatic and manual modes. Like so many of today’s high-performance vehicles, the GT3 RS also cuts weight through the widespread use of exotic materials—carbon components in the chassis, interior, and exterior, as well as magnesium in the wheels. (Image source: Porsche)

  • Italian design company Icona calls its Nucleus concept electric car “the ultimate living room on wheels.” Indeed, it is a living room: Passengers can lounge on reclining seats that convert to a couch or they can rotate to face a desk. They can work if they prefer; connections for a laptop are available. Or they can kick back and enjoy a drink from the on-board wet bar. The key to all this is Level 5 autonomy; the Nucleus has no steering wheel or dashboard, so passengers are always free to engage in whatever activity they want. Don’t let all the creature comforts fool you into thinking that the Nucleus offers a tame, soft ride, however. Icona endowed the Nucleus with a 600-HP powertrain featuring 110-kW electric motors at each wheel, as well as a hydrogen-powered range extender, pushing the vehicle’s all-electric range to an astounding 720 miles. The bottom line, however, is still luxury. “If you are heading to a five-star hotel,” Icona writes in its press release, “sitting in the Nucleus will make it seem as if you are already in your room.” (Image source: Icona)

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Senior technical editor Chuck Murray has been writing about technology for 34 years. He joined Design News in 1987, and has covered electronics, automation, fluid power, and auto.  

 

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