Best supercars 2021: 1-5
We furrow through our favourite supercars of the moment, from Ferrari to Nissan, and all those in between
Lamborghini Huracán Evo RWD
Lamborghini’s more traditional way of doing things at its Sant'Agata factory might lead you to believe that its range is unfashionably biased towards the old, but there’s nothing at all dated about the appeal of both its supercar offerings. The junior Huracán is a prime example of a model growing old gracefully, as since its 2014 introduction the V10-powered supercar has continually improved to the point where the current base-model Huracán Evo RWD finished within touching distance of landing Lamborghini its first eCoty win last year.
The original Huracán LP610-4 was brilliant in many ways, but its flaws often left a more lasting impression. Behind the superlative engine and gearbox, its driving experience was let down by steering that was inconsistent and difficult to read, and a chassis balance that resolutely left the driver locked out of the driving experience. Yet with each iteration the Huracán resolved each of its undesirable aspects, leading eventually to the superb Evo RWD.
- Lamborghini Huracan RWD review
On paper, the RWD is less of a car than its all-wheel-drive siblings, yet the extra involvement fostered more than makes up for it. There’s a new intensity to its power delivery that allows you to really explore the Huracán’s sweet chassis balance, the steering finally feels direct and above all else trustworthy, while the fall in outright pace allows you to experience the powertrain just that little bit longer.
At eCoty 2020, Jethro Bovingdon summed it up perfectly: ‘It’s not an exaggeration to say that paying £164,000 for this engine and ’box would be a wholly responsible thing to do. But – and it’s a big, almost unprecedented but – the rest of the package is properly, no-excuses-required brilliant, too.’
Ferrari F8 Tributo/Spider
There’s little doubt that a collective sigh was let out in Modena sometime in late 2018 when the Ferrari 488 Pista found itself languishing at the bottom end of that year’s eCoty line-up. The package should have been ripe for triumph, with its direct and closely related GTB predecessor taking the title back in 2015, yet for our judges, if not its owners, something just didn’t quite click. The Pista was almost too much for the road, its set-up designed to thrill only on the edge of warm, sticky tarmac, rather than the road on which it would spend a majority of its time.
Two years on and the F8 Tributo, in many ways a Pista with some new styling elements and a slightly calmer disposition, made a rather different impression. The F8 took the best bits of the Pista and laid them out in a more accessible and approachable way.
Hyperactivity gave way to intuitiveness, the Pista’s aggression subsiding to reveal a more exploitable and friendly personality that reaffirmed Ferrari’s undeniable ability to create stunning supercars. Adam Towler summed it up in last year’s eCoty: ‘The F8 simply has a stunning precision to everything it does. Once you’re fluent in the Tributo’s dialect it is astonishingly manipulatable, albeit not an easy car to read.’
If a supercar was a purely mathematical equation, there’s little doubt McLaren would be seen as an all-conquering force akin to Toto Wolff’s control of the TV remote on a Sunday afternoon. By numbers, all McLarens are faster, lighter and more capable than their more emotional counterparts, and the 765LT is no exception. Revealed as the Long Tail derivative of the 720S, itself an eCoty winner in 2017, the 765LT’s talent lies not just in its quite stunning performance, but the extent to which it involves the driver – for better or worse.
Despite its other-worldly on-paper numbers, experience suggests these are underrated, and the punishing forces the 765LT will enforce upon your body do more than enough to justify its alien-like looks. Yet the reason it’s in this list is simple. There’s no more involving way to deploy that much power on the public road.
It came as no surprise to see it prosper in last year’s eCoty, its second-place finish more a reflection of the quality of performance car 2020 displayed than any lack of engagement. Summed up simply by Richard Meaden in last year’s closing statements, he said: ‘The McLaren really was like a drug. Each of us would head off to score some adrenaline, then return uttering a mix of superlatives and profanities. It’s on another level for feel and ferocity.’
Porsche 911 Turbo S
There is no longer any argument that the Porsche 911 Turbo S is a supercar. The 641bhp all-wheel-drive monster, as ever, pushes the boundaries of pace and performance just like the best supercars, but does so in a package that still leaves room for some shopping and a small pair of rear seats.
It might not be the last word in driver engagement – it simply lacks the ultimate feedback and nuance to really shine like its GT division siblings – but as a super car, the Turbo S still reigns supreme. In any weather, on any day, every day, the 911 Turbo will rocket you along at a pace far beyond that of just about anything else on the road.
It’s a supercar whose overriding feeling is derived, much like with the Pista above, from the driver’s unworthiness of its ultimate capability, which is where its limit lies. It’s only when the space and assurance of a private road or track are present that you really feel any real sense of connection.
Adam Towler made it clear in 2020’s eCoty: ‘It only felt alive when caution was thrown to the wind, but felt ordinary on the road, and was undone by its hard-nosed approach to everything it does.’ For many, this verdict won’t matter, because as a fast daily driver, there’s likely no car of any designation that’s superior to a 911 Turbo S.
Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series
If there’s any evidence that a supercar is driven not by its layout but the experience it offers, the AMG GT Black Series is it. Designed to be the most aggressive and track-focussed of all GTs, the Black Series shares little with lesser GTs, packing bespoke carbonfibre panels and a massive aero package dominated by that stacked rear wing and manually extendable splitter, while inside its half-roll-cage, fixed-back buckets and stripped-out ethos makes it a genuine rival to even the most aggressive of road-racers.
Yet what really draws the GT Black Series out onto its own turf is the fact AMG went to the effort and expense to essentially tear down the iconic M178 V8 engine and rebuild it to suit a flat-plane crank – usually the remit of high-revving, highly-strung V8s from Ferrari and McLaren.
This fundamental change to the engine did exactly what its engineers wished, pumping power right up to 730bhp, nearly 100bhp more than in the next-most powerful application. The advantages of the new engine design allowed it to rev harder, rev faster and create a more race car-like curve to the power and torque curves that varied from the broad, flat plateau typical of the standard cross-plane unit found in all other AMG models.
The good news is that AMG put just as much effort into the chassis, making it one of the most extreme and engaging track-focussed supercars evo’s driven in years. Its connections to an AMG GT GT3 racer might seem thin thanks to its design and price point, but the experience is fitting of those connections – a perfect send-off before the GT’s imminent demise.