September 22, 2023

Hypercar vs Supercar: What’s the Difference?

Hypercars and supercars deliver incredible performance, are highly desirable, and are often extremely rare. Find out which characteristics elevate a supercar to hypercar status.
Hypercar vs Supercar: What’s the Difference? Header Image

Most of us know the difference between a MINI and a Maserati. They’re opposite ends of the car spectrum, and, it’s obvious which one’s the family runaround and which is the expensive sportscar.

It’s not so easy to differentiate between other types of vehicles including hypercars and supercars: both are stunning examples of innovation, design, and incredible engineering. And both are capable of eye-watering speeds. Yet, as much as we like to place hypercars and supercars in the same bracket, they simply aren’t the same. In fact, there are key differences that make a hypercar appear like a supercar on steroids.

So, how do you differ hypercar status from supercar? Would you know the differences between a BMW i8 and a Bugatti Bolide, apart from the brand? All is about to be revealed.

Hypercar vs Supercar: The Key Differences

New technology continues to push the automotive boundaries. Engine output that once seemed extraordinary is now commonplace. Even a standard family saloon can trot along at a decent lick thanks to advancements in modern engines.

Let’s be clear. Hypercars and supercars are not your average vehicles. They deliver outrageous performance, come in unique, futuristic designs, and cost a pretty penny – that’s if you can find one, as some models are highly sought-after and extremely rare.

Supercars and hypercars are both symbols of status and wealth, and they share four characteristics – performance, price, design, and rarity. However, not all supercars are hypercars. So, what’s the difference, and what elevates a supercar to hypercar status?

What is a Supercar?

With hundreds of horses packed under the bonnet and a hefty price tag to boot, today’s supercars sit at the summit of the performance car market. As for the supercar, the Oxford Dictionary defines it as a ‘high-performance automobile’. The term was first used in The Times newspaper in 1920 to describe the Ensign 6 with its monster 6.7 litre engine that delivered a whopping 38.4 horsepower which was unparalleled performance for the time.

However, many of these supercars trail behind the world’s most iconic hypercars like the ultra-rare and all-electric Lotus Evija. Churning out a colossal 2,012bhp, the Lotus is the world’s most powerful production car. With plans to make only 130 units and a £2 million price tag, it’s every inch a hypercar.

Nowadays, supercars represent the cream of the car industry in terms of design, technology, price, and performance. Not all supercars tick all four boxes, and performance is often the barometer. For example, the new supercharged Chevrolet C8 Corvette Stingray costs around £90,000, yet wooshes from 0-62mph in sub-three seconds, and has an official top speed of 194mph. That’s supercar performance for a relative pittance when compared to its main rivals.

Then, there’s the McLaren 650S. Much of its design is based on the iconic P1 so there’s very little to highlight in terms of unique, cutting-edge technology. Yet, it’s a gorgeous machine, lightning quick, and can reach a top speed of 207mph. It’s hard to believe that the McLaren 650S is still only a supercar, not a hypercar.

Similarly, there’s the Aerial Atom V8. Again, at around £115,000 it’s cheap in comparison with many supercars like the £1,000,000 Lexus LFA, and the design is very basic. But it can also outrun many supercars thanks to its lightweight design, superb handling, and finely tuned powerplant. What’s essentially an engine and roll cage on wheels also falls into the supercar category purely because of its amazing performance.

What, though, does it take to jump from supercar to hypercar status? A hypercar must tick all supercar boxes and push the limits of technology, design, and performance. And none of this comes cheap.

What is a Hypercar?

Hypercars occupy the extreme end of the supercar market. Only a tiny percentage of supercars can be classed as hypercars, making them incredibly rare to come by. They are generally produced in small numbers and carry a hefty price tag that’s beyond most people’s budgets and will make most of us wince. For instance, you’re likely to need several lottery jackpot wins to afford the estimated $13.4 million Bugatti La Voiture Noire, which is the most expensive hypercar in the world.

A good example of a supercar and a hypercar is the Ferrari 458 and Bugatti Chiron. The Ferrari is a thing of sheer beauty and a 560bhp engine that can reach speeds in excess of 200mph – but it isn’t a hypercar. On the other hand, the 1,500bhp Bugatti pushes the boundaries even further through design and technology. It boasts a top speed of 261mph and, with that kind of jaw-dropping performance, is a hypercar in every sense of the word.

The same can be said of the Ferrari La Ferrari, McLaren P1, and Porsche 918. All have jaw-dropping designs, seven-figure price tags, and space-age technology. Each represents the very latest in automotive advancements, and each benefits from around 1,000hp on tap. Not only should hypercars have a higher top speed than supercars, but they should also be more exclusive, adding to their aura.

Let’s face it, you’re unlikely to find either a supercar or hypercar at your local dealership. Production numbers of supercars are usually in the region of 10,000 units compared to 500 units or fewer for hypercars. It’s why almost 8,000 Ferrari California T supercars rolled off the production line, yet only 100 Pagani Huayra hypercars and 918 Porsche 918s were ever made.

Hypercar vs Supercar: What are the Benefits?

The chances of owning a supercar or hypercar are pretty slim for the majority of people. Practicality, price, and other factors are likely to come into play. However, if a supercar or hypercar is on your radar and you can afford one, here are the benefits you might find.

Supercar Hypercar 
High Performance: Exceptional horsepower, acceleration, and handling deliver a thrilling driving experience. Monstrously powerful engines, precision steering, and advanced suspension are all common features. Extreme Performance: Hypercars push the performance boundaries to extreme limits, delivering unparalleled power, acceleration, and handling capabilities. While most hypercars are road legal, others are designs for track use only. 
State-Of-The-Art Design: Most supercars boast stunning levels of design thanks to a winning blend of performance aerodynamics with aesthetic beauty. It’s this striking design that makes them such objects of desire. Rarity: With production often limited to low numbers, hypercars are ultra-exclusive and extremely rare. As a result, hypercars are highly sought-after by car collectors who are often willing to pay millions of pounds to own one as a prestigious status symbol. 
Advanced Technology: Expect the very latest in automotive technology in a supercar. From innovative, lightweight materials and advanced safety features to interactive audio and entertainment systems, they’ve got the lot.  Cutting-EdgeTechnology: The most advanced automotive innovations are present in hypercars. From hybrid engines to all-electric powertrains and carbon fibre body shells, hypercars are testbeds for advancements in-car technology. 

Need Help Insuring Your High-Performance Hypercar or Supercar?

Whether you own a rare hypercar or a stylish supercar, you’ll have to insure it against accidents, damage, and theft. Keith Michaels can provide competitive insurance solutions for a variety of high-performance hypercars and supercars including Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Porsche, and Aston Martin. Get a quote today.