The part of the automotive industry that year after year competes at a breakneck pace, has shaped a big part of the biggest manufacturers today.
Motor vehicles were invented more than a century ago, but it did not take engineers and vehicle developers to take the cars to a different space, using them for more than their basic function- Sports. The development started quite early, jump started by public interest in motor racing, cars like the Mercedes Simplex and Bugatti led the charge which was supported by events like the 24 Hours of Le Mans which started in 1923. Today however Sports cars have evolved into true engineering masterpieces that are capable of competing with racing cars and even beating them on occasions.
Sports Cars then in essence are cars made with performance as the main focus, the cars are fast and made to stick to the tarmac. They generally have a rear engined or a mid-engined configuration to keep the centre of gravity towards the middle, and also have low heights to make sure that the car has control on fast corners without toppling over like bigger bulky SUVs are susceptible to.
With the evolution in technology, the materials used in the construction of these cars also changed, today Carbon fibre, aluminium and other materials some of which are even sourced from Space exploration like the Silica Carbide disc brakes used in some cars. Even a lot of technologies that are used in mainstream vehicles were first used in these cars, like torque vectoring and four-wheel steering for high speed cornering.
Today sports cars generally use V8 or V6 engines, with the exception of the Porsche 911 which has iconically been an Inline-6 powered car. Lamborghini which traditionally only a user of big V12 engines moved to using smaller V10 engines which started with the Gallardo, and subsequently used in the more recent Lamborghini Huracan and the Audi R8. The growing use of smaller engines with turbochargers instead of bigger naturally aspirated units has also increased, climate change being one of the reasons.
The cream of the Sports cars which sit below the supercars are the Lamborghini Huracan, Ferrari F8 Tributo, Ferrari SF90 Stradale, Aston Martin Vantage, Bugatti Chiron and Porsche 911 while other cars such as the Mercedes-AMG GT R, Nissan GT-R and Jaguar F-Type are cars which are slightly different compared to the others being front engined and not being as extreme as the formerly mentioned vehicles.
The Huracan EVO for example has a V10 that makes 631 hp same as the off-the hook Performante variant and even uses a variety of technology borrowed from that, like the active aero and exhaust systems. The car can hit a hundred in 2.9 seconds while having a top speed of 325 kmph, it is priced starting at INR 3.7 Crores. The Ferrari F8 Tributo is an evolution of the 488 GTB which uses a 3.9 litre twin-turbo V8 that makes 710 hp, accelerates to a hundred in just 2.9 seconds and has a top speed of 340 kmph. The car is priced at INR 4.2 crores.
The BMW Z4 is modest in comparison to these, with 335 hp from its twin-turbo I-6 engine and has a 4.5 second acceleration to a hundred, and is priced at INR 93 Lakhs. The Mercedes-AMG GT R is the German automakers top sports car and comes with a 4 litre Twin-turbo V8 that produces 577 hp, priced at INR 2.5 Crores. Nissan GT-R is a unique car here, being front engined and has a twin-turbocharged V6 that is handmade therefore each engine has a varied output, the present gen car is around 565 hp and can accelerate to a hundred in 2.9 seconds. Costs INR 2.4 Crores.
There are other brands and models, but alas are not sold in India. Sports cars have defined the flagship or the peak performance a brand or manufacturer can achieve. Brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini are iconic, and possess the strongest brand values.
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