In 1966, the Lamborghini Miura made cars suddenly more ‘super’ and they haven’t slowed down since.
Today, supercars still ignite the imagination of anyone with a trace of petrol in their veins. Exotic and expensive, they deliver the ultimate in performance and driving excitement, alongside an unbeatable sense of occasion.
The best supercars of 2024 include some familiar names, such as Aston Martin, Ferrari and McLaren, but there’s also room for two extreme versions of the Porsche 911. All are currently available to buy – if you have the means and, in some cases, a place on the waiting list – and all will make you fall in love with driving again. Even the Monday morning commute seems brighter in a supercar.
Time is running out to buy a flame-spitting V8 or operatic V12, so here is how to live the supercar dream in 2024. Our choices are presented in alphabetical order.
Aston Martin DB12
You could buy a DB12 on looks alone, but there is substance behind the considerable style. Beneath that long bonnet lurks a 680hp twin-turbo V8; good for 0-62mph in 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 202mph. Adaptive dampers, a rear e-differential and bespoke Michelin tyres also help this suave super-GT keep its cool on a twisty road. Inside, a long-overdue new touchscreen brings infotainment into the modern era.
Sportier than a Bentley Continental GT and more comfortable than most mid-engined alternatives, the DB12 plays to Aston Martin’s traditional strengths. Prefer the breeze in your bouffant? Wait for the even-more-gorgeous Volante convertible. We’ll be driving it soon.
We said: ‘The AMG-derived V8 is a fitting foil for the chassis, feeling muscular in the mid-range, then filling its lungs with a cultured snarl. While it isn’t as immersive or downright decadent as Aston Martin’s old-school V12 engine (not coming to this car, sadly), it monsters this road with awe-inspiring ease, serving up relentless acceleration as the eight-speed auto ’box blams through the ratios.’
Ferrari 296 GTB and GTS
Eight hundred and thirty horsepower sounds an insane amount for Ferrari’s ‘entry-level’ supercar. Then again, in a world of 2,000hp electric hypercars, perhaps such head-scrambling numbers are becoming the norm. The 296 GTB and its drop-top GTS sibling combine a high-revving 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 with a plug-in hybrid system. Driving the rear wheels only, the result is 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds and a 205mph maximum, along with 15.5 miles of zero-emissions electric range.
The 296 is so accomplished – and so damn fast – it makes the pricier SF90 Stradale look somewhat redundant. So save yourself £125,000 and buy this one instead. There, you didn’t expect cool-headed consumer advice in a Ferrari review, did you?
We said: ‘Beyond the sound and the fury, though, the 296 is joyous at any speed. Its steering is lucid and precise, its electronic dampers seem to breathe with the road and the whole car feels progressive and keenly balanced. Underneath, an arsenal of electronic wizardry is analysing every split-second of your progress, but the combined effect is reassuringly analogue. And far more manageable than 830hp has any right to be.’
Ferrari 812 Superfast
Unless your budget stretches to a Gordon Murray T.33, the 6.5-litre engine in the Ferrari 812 Superfast is the only naturally aspirated V12 still on sale. It’s a fabulous, all-consuming thing. No superchargers, turbochargers or electric motors: just a ravenous hunger for revs.
The 812 isn’t as easygoing as an Aston Martin DB12, but it’s comfortable and practical enough to cover hundreds of miles at superfast speed. A 0-62mph time of 2.9 seconds and Vmax of 211mph mean this front-engined Ferrari more than lives up to its name.
We said: ‘Turn off the motorway, find a good B-road, preferably well-sighted with some very long straights, and flick the manettino to Race mode. Now Mr Hyde comes out to play. The Ferrari reacts with violent acceleration, barely contained wheelspin and a feral howl that freezes the blood. Opportunities for full throttle are frustratingly rare – even on dry tarmac – but cresting that V12 wave is something you’ll never forget.’
It bows out later this year, but the Lamborghini Huracan certainly hasn’t grown old gracefully. Indeed, this ‘junior’ supercar only becomes more outrageous and exhilarating. The track-focused STO (pictured) is perhaps our favourite derivative. A Huracan turned up to 11, with lightweight carbon panels and aggressive aero – not to mention a ferocious 640hp V10 – it feels like a road-legal version of the Super Trofeo racer.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, we also loved the Huracan Sterrato, a beefed-up supercar capable of blasting across rough terrain. Its chunky tyres and lifted suspension are surprisingly well suited to British B-roads, too. The Huracan’s replacement will swap its naturally aspirated V10 for a turbocharged, hybridised V8, so experience one of the all-time great engines while you can.
We said: ‘A voracious hunger for revs sees you chasing the 8,500rpm redline whenever possible, grinning like a lunatic as it flings you into the middle-distance. Searing throttle response is also combined with perhaps the best twin-clutch gearbox of all. Driving the Huracan back-to-back with an Aventador SVJ, the contrast with the latter car’s clunky automated manual is acute.’
Maserati MC20 and MC20 Cielo
The MC20 was the car that heralded Maserati’s comeback – and it was right on target. With a high-tech turbocharged V6 and a carbon fibre tub, it has the Lamborghini Huracan and McLaren Artura squarely in its sights. Yet this elegant, almost understated Italian also has a softer side, blurring the lines between supercar and super-GT.
A fully electric ‘Folgore’ version of the MC20 will follow before 2025, potentially with more than 1,000hp. That could make the 630hp of this car – capable of 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds and 202mph – seem almost sedate.
We said: ‘Like the child of 2004’s outrageous Maserati MC12 – itself an evolution of the Ferrari Enzo – the MC20 looks fabulous in the flesh. Its low, pointy nose flows elegantly into a domed cockpit flanked by hungry air intakes. An F40-style Lexan rear window shows off the low-mounted engine, with Trident-shaped vents to help expel heat. The MC20 Cielo convertible might be the prettiest supercar on sale.’
The Artura represented a hard reset for McLaren Automotive: the young company’s first completely new powertrain since the MP4-12C of 2011. Its plug-in hybrid system offers a future-proofed 18.6 miles of electric range, plus a combined 680hp once the 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 joins the party. Zero to 62mph takes 3.0 seconds and top speed is 205mph.
Almost everything else about the Artura is new, too – including the carbon fibre chassis, rear e-differential and touchscreen tech. It’s a terrific ‘real world’ supercar (if such a thing exists) and a strong foundation for McLaren’s next decade, whatever that may bring.
We said: ‘The Artura defaults to Electric mode on start-up, allowing you to glide away in near-silence – quite a contrast to the showy theatrics of most supercars. The 95hp e-motor offers ample oomph for urban driving and will stretch to 81mph beyond city limits. Sport mode is where things get exciting, though, with the engine always on and the motor providing ‘torque infill’ and razor-sharp throttle response.’
McLaren 750S and 750S Spider
We declared the McLaren 720S ‘the new supercar benchmark’ when we drove it in 2017. Now that car has evolved into the 750S, with more power, less weight and a sharper chassis. In the unlikely event we find £243,500 down the back of the sofa, it’s still the supercar we’d buy.
Granted, a Lamborghini Huracan offers more visceral drama, but the McLaren has a broader spread of talents. A fairly modest footprint makes it ideal for real roads (the kind with high hedges and oncoming tractors) while a 750hp 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 is plenty quick enough, thank you.
We said: ‘Within the first few hundred yards, the new car already feels more alert and intense. In middle-tier Sport mode, throttle response is voracious, the boost beyond 4,000rpm exponentially exciting. Gearshifts via the paddles are brutal and the steering – still hydraulic, now with a quicker ratio – is so precise you can almost think it around corners. Best of all, the beautifully damped ride of the 720S remains unspoiled.’
Porsche 911 GT3 RS
With the exception of the Le Mans-inspired GT1, this is the most extreme Porsche 911 ever sold in a showroom. Sculpted by the demands of downforce, the GT3 RS looks brutally uncompromising. However, the reality is rather different; incredible chassis configurability means it can be a supple road car one minute and a track weapon the next. You even get air conditioning and infotainment.
You also get one of the finest engines of the 21st century: a naturally aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six that keeps howling until 9,000rpm. Alternatively, if you prefer to fly under the radar, check out the next 911 on this list…
We said: ‘This particular GT3 RS has the £25,739 Weissach Package, including a carbon fibre rear rollcage. Settling into the 918-style seats, it otherwise feels quite familiar, but the difference is immediately apparent on the circuit. Where the GT3 Touring starts to slide, the RS feels locked onto the racing line. You can brake later, get on the power earlier and simply carry more speed.’
Porsche 911 Turbo S
The Porsche 911 Turbo S might cost £180,600, but it offers the performance to rival any of the supercars here. Its 3.7-litre flat-six develops 650hp and drives all four wheels, blasting it from standstill to 62mph in just 2.8 seconds.
If the previous-generation Turbo felt slightly sterile, this latest ‘992’ version is more exuberant and engaging – without the wayward tendencies of classic ‘widowmakers’ of old. On our recent road-trip through France, celebrating the Porsche 911’s 60th anniversary, this was the car we’d have happily driven home. A 911 Turbo might seem like the obvious choice, but there are good reasons for that.
We said: ‘Behind the wheel, the Turbo feels crushingly capable: almost omnipotent. Like Gordon Gekko auditioning for The Apprentice, it’s absurdly overqualified for the job. The engine serves up elastic acceleration, while four-wheel drive and steamroller tyres mean tenacious traction. The huge PCCB carbon-ceramic disc brakes – larger than the 930’s 15-inch alloys – also merit a mention. They’ve progressive and hugely confidence-inspiring, with tireless stopping power from silly speeds.’