2005 Ferrari 575M Superamerica: Ultra-Rare, only 559 ever made

LOCATION SPOTTED: True Value Hardware (East Hampton Village)

LOCATION SPOTTED: True Value Hardware (East Hampton Village)

Performance:

  • Acceleration 0 to 60: 3.9 sec
  • Braking 60 to 0: TBD
  • Quarter Mile: 12.3 sec
  • Slalom: 68.0 mph
  • Skidpad: 0.93 g

The Ferrari 575M Superamerica. How does one analyze a limited production version of a limited production car? Well, cars like this are significant for different reasons than your typical production sports car. The Superamerica is characterized by its high revving engine, exhaust note and styling more than even it’s straight-line speed and handling (even though it is still very fast). Much of the problems associated with this car, like its dated electronic interface and imperfect ergonomics, are over-looked by a quality called pantomime.

When I refer to pantomime, I immediately think of the Pagani Zonda, A classically exotic car that wasn’t necessarily the fastest (especially for the $1,000,000-plus price-tag), but was insanely unique and very very stylish. Similar characteristics apply to the Ferrari Superamerica, though on a much less expensive and less impressive level. The Ferrari is definitely¬†unique though. It features a photochromic roof that rotates 180 degrees, (both production car firsts). Do these qualities make it faster? No. Do they make it handle better? Do they add pantomime? YES.

The Superamerica is not the kind of Ferrari that will attract a hardcore Ferrari enthusiast who is looking for the best handling Italian sports car, if that’s the case, then go buy a used Ferrari F430 Scuderia or something. This 575M Superamerica will wind up being either owned by a wealthy person who doesn’t bother to research all the Ferraris available in the U.S., or an enthusiast who just wants an extra toy in his 20-car garage, that doesn’t look quite like any of the others.

2008 Lamborghini Murcielago LP 640 Roadster: Not a Supercar, HYPERCAR

2008 Lamborghini Murcielago LP 640 Roadster: Not a Supercar, HYPERCAR

LOCATION SPOTTED: London Jewlers (East Hampton Village)

Performance:

  • Acceleration 0 to 60: 3.4 sec
  • Braking 60 to 0: 107 feet
  • Quarter Mile: 11.6 sec
  • Slalom: 71.0 mph
  • Skidpad: 1.01 g

Not every Lamborghini is a “hypercar.” When you examine the current Lamborghini range, you’ll notice that it really only consists of two cars, the Gallardo, and the Aventador (successor to the Murcielago). The Gallardo is basically the competitor to most other supercars like the Ferrari 458, Mclaren MP4-12C, and Corvette ZR1, among others. However, the Aventador, or (in 2008) the Murcielago are Hypercars, that cost nearly double what the Gallardo costs.

So, the Murcielago. Well, this particular iteration, the LP 640, just went out of production in 2010, however, one good thing about hypercars is that even if they are a few years old, they still leave current supercars in the dust. This is just about the fastest roadster i’ve ever seen. It’s ultra-lowered stance makes it look very menacing, especially from the rear, where the giant single exhaust pipe is gaping wide-open at cars behind it. And they would be behind it, because this thing is FAST.

The V12 engine makes 631 hp and 488 lb ft of torque. When all that power is mapped to a sophisticated AWD system, it produces acceleration like no other. One unique aspect of this Lamborghini and all others is that none of them use any type of turbo-charging or supercharging system. Just raw power from a high displacement V12. Sure, 8 mpg city and 15 mpg highway isn’t great, but the mpg sacrifice is well worth the reward when revving the V12 up to it’s 8000 rpm redline. Besides, it’s a hypercar so don’t worry about the mpg.

 

2013 Ferrari 458 Italia Spider: Essence of the Mid-Engined Supercar

LOCATION SPOTTED: Rugby Ralph Lauren (East Hampton Town)

LOCATION SPOTTED: Rugby Ralph Lauren (East Hampton Village)

*Performance:

  • Acceleration 0 to 60: 3.0 sec
  • Braking 60 to 0: 106 feet
  • Quarter Mile: 10.9 sec
  • Slalom: 74.9 mph
  • Skidpad: 1.01 g
*Stats for coupe version

Ferrari makes a cool product. Everyone knows this. The “two-seater” sports car is synonymous with Ferrari and this new Spider iteration of the superb 458 Italia is no exception. Yes it has two seats and two doors, but what it doesn’t have (unlike the McLaren MP4-12C) is two turbo-chargers in it’s engine. For the rest of this posting I shall explain why this makes the Ferrari so compelling.

First of all, in case you haven’t noticed, most (if not pretty much all) high-end car makers like BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Bentley, Jaguar, and even Cadillac are switching from naturally aspirated engines to either supercharged or twin-turbocharged engines for better power-increases without sacrifices in fuel economy. Here’s the problem with that: inconsistent power band.

Take this Ferrari 458 for example. Because it has a naturally aspirated engine with tremendous red-line power (9000 rpm) it is very predictable and dynamic. The McLaren, no matter how good its twin-turbo system is, has the ever-so-slight tendency to produce turbo-lag, which makes the car handle a bit numb. In other words, it may put down similar performance to the Ferrari, perhaps even slightly better, but it leaves the driver wanting for involvement in the driving experience. McLaren, and several other brands mentioned above, have followed down this path of calculating and programming engine ECUs and digital throttle bodies for the turbos to produce the best statistics possible. However, there is more to the track driving experience than just making a car put down numbers, it’s all about how it puts down those numbers. Driving passion is fueled by driver involvement, not by computers that do all the work.

2011 Porsche 911 Turbo S: Fastest Accelerating Production Car Under 200k

Location Spotted: Harbor Marina (Springs)

Location Spotted: Harbor Marina (Springs)

Performance:

  • Acceleration 0 to 60: 2.7 sec
  • Braking 60 to 0: 102 ft
  • Quarter Mile: 10.9 sec
  • Slalom: 73.2 mph
  • Skidpad: 0.99 g

Well, the Turbo S. A car that, in many ways, is a giant killer. For those of you who don’t know, a “giant killer” is a type of sports car that costs a fraction of the price of a supercar, yet matches or beats it’s level of performance. The 911 Turbo S certainly is not an inexpensive car, (MSRP: $160,700 without options) but it is roughly half the price of the Italian, blue-blooded 2012 Lamborghini Aventador. Yet the Lambo is no faster to sixty.

Ok, in the Aventador’s defense, it does pull away at the Quarter Mile at 10.5 secs and it will go to a top speed of 217 mph while the Turbo S only does 195mph. Awwwww boohoo, the Turbo S only does 195, who cares? No one. The Porsche is the definition of bad ass¬†German engineering taking a sledgehammer to the aristocratic Italian supercar’s panache and style at less than half the price. Sure, most people don’t have a clue what it is when they see it, but enthusiasts everywhere know that Turbo S’s mean business. Only drawback is that it isn’t quite as dynamic or as fast on a curvy racetrack as some of it’s mid-engined competitors like the Ferrari 458 or a front engined Nissan GTR or Corvette ZR1, but in a straight line it can’t be beat for the money. Oh, and by the way it is still very fast on a racetrack regardless!