Supercars are a thrilling way of life, and can be surprisingly affordable. This is what you need to know.
Pure exhilaration. It’s that feeling you got the first time you accelerated onto an expressway, passed a slow truck on a country road or found an opportunity to floor the accelerator. You were the master of all that power and it surged through your body, from your toes to your gut to the end of your hair follicles. And you couldn’t wait to do it again.
Supercars Are Like Good Jewelry and Deserve to Be Worn Every Day
My grandmother always questioned the point of having good jewelry if you don’t wear it, and enjoy, it all the time. A supercar is the same: Why have one if you don’t drive it all the time?
But you have to take stock of your life and what you need in a car; the last thing you want is to leave your dream car in the garage most of the time because it’s too impractical for everyday driving. If you’re ready to take the plunge and trade your mom car for a supercar, you should consider:
- Do you need to accommodate other passengers?
- Do you need room for packages, groceries or other items, even occasionally?
- Does the car offer the other things you need, like a comfortable interior, a quiet drive (when you want) connected phone, infotainment and safety technology?
- Are your local roads worthy of this car, or can you take it out on worthy roads regularly
- Will you drive it on a track?
Trading Your Mom Car for a Supercar
You dream of blow-your-hair-back torque, ground shaking horsepower and rear spoilers that aren’t just a decoration. But which car is the right fit for you?
There are three types of supercars to consider: The exotic sports car, the coupe and the sports sedan. Here’s the skinny on each and what we learned about these three very excellent choices:
Exotic cars are highly coveted and are all about the driver.
They are designed for the drive experience, getting to and from places such as work or an evening out and finding a fun road to get you there. They typically only seat two and may not have much cargo room; you might have to put your handbag in the trunk and if you want to take a trip in it, you’ll have to limit your luggage.
We took the Acura NSX for a drive through the Colorado mountains and, with two of us in the car, I had to put my handbag in the trunk and my phone in the cupholder. There wasn’t room for much else in the cabin, though there is an attachable cup holder that we used for water bottles. The seats in this car are designed to hold you tight to reduce body shift through the roads curves. In most cars the seats are wide and comfy so you have to slow the car to reduce body sway as you round corners. But not in the NSX. The seat position is low (it can be moved forward but not higher) and the seats have side bolsters that hug you; ultra suede panels keep your back and rear end glued to the seat so you don’t slip as you drive. The car’s horsepower, all wheel drive and hybrid system maximize the its speed and grip on every curve on the road. And that is the point.
2019 Acura NSX: 573 HP, all wheel drive, hybrid power; multiple drive modes including track mode; automatic transmission with paddle shifters; seating for two; base price, $157,000; loaded, about $194,000
A Two-Door Coupe Is a Bit More Practical
A two-door sports cars, which often may have a convertible option, can be a better option. These cars typically have plenty of power and track-worthy suspension but also have more cargo space and interior room for a handbag, phones, a water bottle or a coffee cup and room for your passenger’s things, too. Often even though coupes are two-door cars, they may have a very small rear seat. These can be practical for pets or small-ish passengers, but you’ll have to continually move the seat back to access the seat, which can be impractical.
We drove the brand new Toyota GR Supra on a brief tour of the Colorado hills and found this car super fun to drive but also, comfortable for highway cruising. It wasn’t unreasonably loud (it’s a hard top, not a convertible) and the ride wasn’t unusually bumpy or rough. On the highway it was pleasant to chat with my travel mate, but when we got onto more fun, twisty roads the Supra rallied. It hugged every curve and easily accelerated up steep grades and over the hills. Just as you want it to.
What was impressive was that we fit two suit cases and two tote bags, plus two handbags in this car. The hatchback-like slope of the roof allows more cargo room both in the trunk and in the passenger compartment. I could put my handbag (or a few shopping bags from the mall) in the shelf space behind the seats. I loved this; my large handbag didn’t impede on my companion’s leg room, and that’s precious. The last thing I want is to make her feel stressed about my stuff under foot.
2020 Toyota GR Supra: 335 horsepower, seating for two; rear wheel drive twin turbo automatic with paddle shifters (there is no manual shift option); sport mode; $49,900 base price; about $58,000 nicely loaded
A Sports Sedan: The Most Versatile and Yes, Practical
These typically are built on the same framework of its more popular regular sedan version but with a super-powered engine, track-worthy suspension and driver feedback that turns your drive time into competitive time—drivers will be able to record, measure and beat their own stats. These details make a sports sedan thrilling to drive on the track as well as the road.
The difference is that these are typically four door cars so when you’re not on the track or challenging the winding, twisty roads of your local countryside, you can do all your holiday shopping, take the dog for a hike or pile the kids in the car for summer vacation.
We took the Honda Civic Type R for a drive high in the Colorado mountains. This car is unique in that it’s only available in a stick shift, so drivers will have to become comfortable with a manual transmission. But it’s totally, completely worthwhile.
And, it’s not hard to drive. Stick shift fans will tell you, Honda’s clutch is easy, not at all stiff, so you won’t exhaust your left leg, and the shifter is easy to pop into gear. Once you get used to the manual shifter dance you feel as if you’re one with the car and the road, and that’s the idea.
As a Honda Civic, there’s seating for five (and sport seats!) and plenty of cargo space. You can put your handbag on the rear seat, even between the back seat passengers, and the hatchback allows luggage for four, or a week’s worth of groceries, workout gear, a baby stroller and more. And, for parents who want to have it all, you even have plenty of room for child passenger car seats. The back seat is completely roomy.
Related: We drove the Alfa Romeo Giulia sports sedan and we are smitten with this car’s elegance and performance
2020 Honda Civic Type R: 306 horsepower turbo, manual transmission, three drive modes from comfort to +R, front wheel drive, price $36,300.
And that a sport sedan can do it all is my favorite thing about them. I like to be able to do it all. Don’t you?
Related: Why the Genesis G70 sports sedan is one of the most awarded cars of the year, and why you should take a look
Disclosure: I was a guest of Rocky Mountain Redline’s Redline Rally, where I was able to test drive these cars. Travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own.