Top 10 best supercars 2024



ferrari 296 top 10

Exactly how – and where – do our road testers rate the latest mid-engined Ferraris, Lamborghinis and McLarens relative to one other? Read on to find out

Very few cars inspire the kind of instant, childish, gleeful excitement that modern supercars do.

While thirty years ago, powerful mid-engined exotics were much rarer sights on UK roads, today their greater prominence only seems to give them greater reach and impact. You see them more often, but still really notice when you do.

The technical definition of this kind of car has become a little fluid over the last few years, but essentially they aim to combine exotic and singularly purposeful looks, with kidney-crushing performance and physics-testing handling, at a price that shouldn’t mean that only billionaires need apply. This isn’t where you’ll find million-pound hypercars ranked, then; instead, those slightly more accessible dream machines that only cost the price of an average three-bed semi-detached house.

The route to outright performance has changed in these cars, too, with everything from pure ICE machines to plug-in hybrids in the mix. There’s also still a surprisingly wide array of engine layouts, as turbo V6s jostle with atom V10s and flat-crank V8s for combustive supremacy.

Even so, to take top honours in this class a contender will have to demonstrate a remarkable breadth of ability; because unlike the even more focussed hypercars, these models have to be able to cope with day-to-day duties, with owners often keen to use their purchases for more than just high-days and holidays.

Read on, then, as we reveal the supercars that cause us to issue the most superlatives.

1. Ferrari 296 GTB

Pros: singularly adjustable limit handling, instant titanic pace, technical appeal

Cons: can sometimes feels a little too fast, and too firm, for the public road

There were a few Ferrari fans that fretted over the demise of the old F8 Tributo, the last pure ICE mid-engined machine to bear the prancing horse badge. Surely it’s a replacement, a plug-in hybrid off all things, would be a soulless shadow of its predecessor? Erm no, not by a long shot.

While the ferociously quick but slightly spiky SF90 Stradale represented a toe-in-the-water exercise for the firm’s plug-in powertrains, the smaller and less costly (relatively speaking, because it’s still a £250,000 car) 296 GTB is sensationally well executed and goes straight to the top of the supercar charts. It’s so good that you wonder why you worried the folks at Maranello might have got it wrong.

At the heart of the car is a new twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine that’s mated to a 164bhp electric motor to deliver a staggering combined total of 819bhp – in what’s essentially an ‘mid-ranking’ Ferrari. As you would expect, performance is relentlessly, savagely sensational, plus it will also crack a claimed 15.5 miles of electric-only range. More importantly, the ICE feels and sounds as special as any that has had crackle red painted applied to its cam covers, responding with zeal to every input and emitting a howl that has you convinced that it packs twice as many cylinders.

What’s more remarkable is that Ferrari has managed to make a car with this much power and performance potential feel so approachable and engaging. The trademark wristily quick steering is still perhaps a little too over-eager to help you change direction, but the car’s mid-corner balance, control and poise beggars belief. This is a machine that’s as happy to play a neat-and-tidy game of hunt-the-apex as it is to hang it all out. It’s packed with driver assistance systems and various modes, but the 296 GTB always feels natural and on your side.

It’s a remarkable supercar, and one that shows that increasing levels of electrification don’t necessarily mean diminishing driver rewards

Read our Ferrari 296 GTB review

2. Lamborghini Revuelto

Pros: epic, bombastic 9000rpm V12, super-clever asymmetrical torque vectoring, traffic-stopping looks

Cons: Lamborghini-typical tight cabin packaging, plenty of weight, half-million-pound price tag

 

Lamborghini finally confronts the age of the electrified supercar with this, the inheritor of the fabled line of the Miura, Countach and Diablo. But, while rivals shrink and turbocharge their engines to suit their new purposes, somehow Sant’Agata has kept a wonderful, free-revving, atmospheric V12 engine as part of the Revuelto’s mechanical recipe. Because, well… would a big Lambo be a big Lambo without one?

This car uses the most innovative, rigid, lightweight carbon fibre spaceframe-cum-monocoque chassis that Lamborghini has ever designed – and uses it to offset the weight of three electric motors, and fairly small but still significant lithium-ion drive battery, which combine with that engine to give this car no less than 1001bhp at 9250rpm.

It weighs a little under 1800kg dry, and is capable of 62mph from rest in just 2.5sec, and of topping 217mph; but also of asymmetrical torque vectoring across its front axle – by virtue of its pair of front drive motors – that has quite a profound affect on the car’s handling.

This is clearly a heavy supercar, and it moves around underneath you and expresses itself in physical terms as you approach the limit of its grip just as V12 Lambos always have. But the work that those front motors can do to stabilise the car, both on turn in and at the apex, and then to keep it stuck to its cornering line as you exit – all the while just making this behemoth of a supercar simply go right where you’re pointing it, as it screams away at real pace and stratospheric revs – is a deeply impressive feat of engineering. You only need to turn the car’s electronic stability aids of for proof of that, and then bait the beast as much as you dare.

We’ve yet to drive the Revuelto on the road, or in the UK; but when we do, we expect to be right up there among the best of the supercar breed – and to yield little to anything for sheer drama and spine-tingling sense of occasion.

Read our Lamborghini Revuelto review

3. McLaren Artura

Pros: supercar electrification done with a supremely light touch, and it entertains as brilliantly on road as racetrack

Cons: wide-angle V6 engine doesn’t sound as enticing as it might, lacks knockout pace compared with some

McLaren has endured some tough times over the last few years, failing to fully capitalise on the ready flow of wheel-heeled buyers that have helped arch-rivals such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche posting healthy profits during a period when much of the rest of the world is in financial turmoil. So there’s a lot resting on the success of the Artura, which is arguably the brand’s first clean-sheet design for more than a decade.

There’s certainly no faulting the ambition of the newcomer, which shares almost nothing with its myriad predecessors, all of which were related in one way or another. A clean-sheet approach has been taken for the carbonfibre structure and the electrical architecture, plus the twin turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 engine, which is mated to a 95bhp electric motor to make the Artura a plug-in hybrid. The latter set-up has been designed to be as light as possible, with motor and battery coming in at just 130kg, meaning the car dips under 1500kg all in. It also claims 19 miles of pure-EV running, should you ask.

More importantly for many, the powertrain serves up a combined total of 671bhp, the extra torque-fill from that electric motor making the Artura feel even quicker than this already impressive figure would suggest. It sounds good, too, while predictably for a McLaren, the chassis delivers plenty in the way of driver engagement and dynamic excellence. The brand has persisted with its hydraulic steering set-up, which means few rivals are able to offer such crisp communication to your fingertips, while it corners flat and fast with superb body control.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? So why isn’t it at the top of this list? Well, the car has had a difficult gestation, and despite numerous delays to allow for fine-tuning, the Artura is still essentially an unfinished project. Experience of early cars has revealed numerous software glitches, quality control issues and the odd breakdown. There’s a great car ready in here somewhere; it just needs some more development before it’s really ready to be unleashed on buyers.

Read our McLaren Artura review

4. Lamborghini Huracán Evo

Pros: V10 engine is a rare and special thing, and the rear-drive models have enticing handling balance

Cons: wedgey looks take a toll on cabin packaging, doesn’t have long left to live

Only the makers of the world’s rarest and most expensive, hand-built automotive exotics can now really compete with Lamborghini when it comes to creating cars of pure combustive drama, traffic-stopping looks and feral, unfettered soul.

The Huracán may be the firm’s entry-level model, but it’s no second-order offering when it comes to its sensational styling or its fantastically wild, naturally aspirated V10 – an engine that over-delivers in equal measure on speed, responsiveness and audible character.

The facelifted Evo version gets rear-wheel steering and torque vectoring, and the results raise the Huracán’s game closer to that of its McLaren and Ferrari rivals. That you also get the 631bhp powertrain from the old hardcore Huracán Performante seals this junior Lamborghini’s reputation as a seriously rewarding, engaging supercar.

There’s also a purely rear-driven version of the Evo, too. Its magnificent V10 may produce slightly less power than those of its four-wheel-drive siblings, but by ditching its front driveshafts, it gains a whole load of additional character and dynamic appeal.

You need even more of an adrenaline injection? Well, there’s always the fairly hardcore, carbonfibre-bodied Huracán STO that’s effectively Lambo’s Porsche 911 GT3. Taking its visual cues from the brand’s one-make Trofeo race car, complete with an (admittedly vestigal) engine-cover-mounted snorkel air intake, this is a very special machine that engages and entertains like few others. Packing essentially the same 631bhp V10 as the standard car but with less mass to haul around it’s a spine-tinglingly, sensationally fast and noisy machine that immerses you from the moment you hit the starter button. The stiffened suspension is borderline unacceptable for the road, but the razor-sharp responses and incredible adjustability make up for it.

For those who want the STO’s thrills but not its peacocking looks (although there’s no such thing as a wallflower Huracan), the recently introduced Tecnica should be just the ticket. Mechanically the same but with slightly softer, road biased suspension and more or less standard bodywork, it represents the sweetest of sweet spots when it comes to Sant’Agata’s entry-level supercar.

Read our Lamborghini Huracan Evo review

5. McLaren 750S

Pros: purity and simplicity of concept, road-appropriate dynamic appeal, usability

Cons: still not the most heart-stoppingly exciting of supercars

McLaren hit spectacular form when it launched the 720S in 2017. It showed that an unrelenting focus on stunning performance made usable could yield class-leading results. And, be in no doubt – this was the best and most accomplished supercar on the planet for some considerable time. Not the most exciting, perhaps; not the most outrageous, either. Just the best.

This car spent years in a league of one for its neat cornering balance and taut body control twinned with a fluent, road-appropriate ride; for its superlative ergonomics and visibility; and for its outstanding tactile control feedback and linear responses, rather than class-typical hyped-up steering.

But if the 720S was the supercar of the 2010s perfected, and sweated for every detail, the 750S is… well, it’s broadly the same thing. Wonderful in all the same ways; but existing in the era of the 800-horsepower, electrified plug-in hybrid supercar, something of a particular prospect with a whiff of antiquatedness about it.

When Woking revised this car last year, it tweaked the exterior styling. Engineering-wise, it quickened the car’s steering rack a little here, stiffened some engine mountings there, fitted new dampers and wheels, and a new braking system. But it updated details, rather than making wholesale changes where they weren’t needed.

And the 750S is still sensational to drive – though perhaps not as technically alluring as it once was.

Read our McLaren 750S review

6. Ferrari SF90 Stradale and SF90 XX Stradale

Pros: savage outright performance plus huge downforce means eye-popping laptime potential

Cons: it’s eye-poppingly expensive, and the hybrid system still doesn’t deliver perfect limit handling balance

This successor of sorts to the LaFerrari hypercar is the most powerful road car in Ferrari’s history; or, at least, it was until the even more powerful XX version came along in 2023, which has now set the quickest lap time for a production car around the firm’s Fiorano test track. Oh, and it’s a plug-in hybrid that can travel for up to 15 miles on electricity alone.

The SF90 Stradale is a very different kind of Ferrari, then. It makes use of a heavily reworked version of the 488 Pista’s twin-turbocharged 3.9-litre V8 engine, which is complemented by a trio of electric motors that raise the Ferrari’s total power output to a staggering 986bhp, allowing for a 0-62mph time of 2.5sec.

It’s a technological tour de force, for sure. Yet despite the additional weight that powertrain brings, it’s still just as grippy and devastatingly quick as you would expect a mid-engined Ferrari to be. However, be warned that you will need to have your Weetabix before turning off the stability control systems, because the knife-edge SF90 demands respect and concentration when exploring the area between grip and slip.

The SF90 XX Stradale became Ferrari’s first road-legal XX car in 2023, and eked power out to 1016bhp; but it was the gains it made on aerodynamics that proved even more transformative. We’ve yet to drive one on the road, but around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track it proved stultifyingly fast – if a little wild and savage-handling.

Read our Ferrari SF90 Stradale review

Read our Ferrari SF90 XX Stradale review

7. Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Pros: quite good value compared with most cars in this list, and doesn’t lack track purpose or V8 drama

Cons: feels its weight when you drive it really fast on circuit, limit handling lacks perfect poise

It was enough of a shock to the system when Chevrolet announced it was undoing decades of dogma and turning its good ol’ Corvette from an all-American front engined muscle machine into European-aping mid-engined sports car. Now it’s gone one step further and delivered the uprated Z06, a car that has the talent to ruffle quite a few feathers in the rarefied atmosphere of the supercar class.

As you’d expect there’s more power, the Z06 getting a new flat-plane crank 5.5-litre V8 that develops a healthy 670bhp, revs to a heady 8500rpm and will zap from 0-60mph in 2.9 seconds. More importantly it sounds the business, bellowing and crackling with the aural excitement of true blue-blood Italian. 

With a 30% stiffer suspension set-up than the standard C8, the Z06 dives into corners with zeal, gripping hard and resisting run-wide understeer. On the road its limits are spectacularly high, while the quick steering engenders the car with the agility of a fleeing gazelle. Yet the adaptive dampers combine supreme control with enough compliance to make the Corvette everyday usable. If you want a more hardcore experience, then the Z07 upgrade pack adds even stiffer springs, carbon ceramic brakes and de-rigueur track attack rubber in the form of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s.

Yet the real kicker is likely to be the price. While the Z06 is unlikely to cost the UK equivalent of £98,000 (its price in the US) when it arrives in right-hand drive form it’s likely to be a fraction of the price of some Italian exotics, significantly undercutting the European old guard. Expect quite a few automotive aristocratic noses to be put out of joint.

Read out Chevrolet Corvette Z06 review

8. Maserati MC20

6 Maserato mc20 top 10

Pros: supercar-cum-GT laid-back touring character, stunning looks, carbonfibre construction

Cons: turbo V6 engine doesn’t sound like a true great, steering doesn’t communicate as clearly as rivals

There was a point not that long ago when many were thinking that Maserati was ready to be read the last rites. The Italian brand had become a shadow of its former self, with the lacklustre Ghibli and Quattroporte saloons propped up by the characterful but aging GT models. Even the arrival of the (admittedly only average) Levante SUV failed to create the sort of stir in the showrooms that suggested the brand could have a long and profitable future.

Then, out of nowhere, it launched the sensational MC20, a supercar straight out of the top drawer. Rumoured to have started its development as an Alfa Romeo before Maserati took the reins, the Italian machine ticks all the mid-engined exotic boxes. For starters, there’s a carbonfibre tub, double-wishbone suspension all round and an all-new twin turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine that musters 621bhp. It’s good for 0-62mph in 2.9sec and will top out at 202mph, even if it can’t match the aural theatrics of a Lamborghini V10 or a Ferrari V8.

Yet while the performance is on point in this company, it’s the way the MC20 deals with the bits between the straights that marks it out as something a bit special. It weighs the right side of 1500kg for starters, which in combination with the quick steering delivers the sort of agility usually reserved for fleeing gazelles. It’s perhaps not as communicative as a McLaren or quite as quick-witted as the Ferrari 296 GTB, but it’s not far off, and it combines this cornering dynamism with ride quality that makes it genuinely easy to live with.

We’ve had many false dawns (if you want to make the most of any sunrises, there’s now a Cielo drop top version) from Maserati over the years, but this car could finally represent the true and long lasting shoots of recovery.

Read our Maserati MC20 review

8. Noble M500

8 Noble m500 top 10

Pros: old-school, assistance-free analogue driving experience, with lots of pace and tactile feel

Cons: doesn’t have the cabin quality, ergonomic rectitude or touring manners of some in this list

This is the long-awaited follow-up to the M600 that launched in 2009 and finished an impressive second overall in our 2010 Britain’s Best Driver’s Car shootout, one place ahead of the Ferrari 458 Italia – a result very much not to be sniffed at. Like its predecessor, this new Noble is very much represents the automotive equivalent of the recent audiophile resurgence of vinyl: essentially a warm analogue backlash against an increasingly antiseptic digital world.

Using much of the older car’s architecture, the M500 packs the same twin turbocharged 550bhp 3.5-litre V6 found in the Ford GT. Intended as a cheaper and more accessible alternative to the M600 it maintains Noble’s commitment to creating as close a connection between driver and car as possible. This means it uses a six-speed manual gearbox, plus there’s no anti-lock braking, traction control or airbags – although the steering is hydraulically assisted. There’s also a steel structure, while suspension is by double wishbones front and rear. 

We’ve only driven the car in late-stage prototype form, but given its close relationship to the M600 it already feels honed and ready. There’s the same surprising compliant ride and superb body control, while the new steering is sharper but lacks nothing in feel and weight. You also benefit from a delightfully mechanical shift action from the manual gearbox, while the brakes are firm and powerful.

Its old school approach distances it from other cars in this list, but in terms of the driver effort-to-reward ratio the Noble is unrivalled.

Read our Noble M500 review

Supercars coming soon

Aston Martin Valhalla

9 Aston martin valhalla top 10

Aston Martin refers to the Valhalla as the ‘son of Valkyrie’, but that’s not to say it should in any way be thought of as a lesser supercar.

It may not use the same Cosworth-developed V12 as its bigger sibling, but expect power to exceed 900bhp in any case. It’s clear that Aston Martin has the likes of the Ferrari SF90 Stradale locked in its sights.

It will make use of a similar carbonfibre architecture to the Valkyrie, while its active suspension and aerodynamic architecture will also be related. That said, Aston also says that it will be more usable in the real world.

Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale

Turin’s latest special-series creation is due with its very first customers by the end of 2024. Offered with a choice of 641bhp V6 turbo petrol power or as a 739bhp EV, it’s been designed in tribute to the 1960s racing prototype of the same name, and is selling at a little under £2mil a piece.

Just 33 will be built. But with this kind of power, size and specification, it is certainly an expensive, rare-groove supercar rather than a hypercar. We look forward to confirming as much when we finally get behind the wheel of one.

 



Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top