When you think of a hypercar, there’s one name that sprints to mind quicker than any other marquee in the world: Lamborghini.
Both the Huracan and Aventador are masterpieces of unremitting, unrestrained horsepower where compromise is just something other people do. It’s the archetypal hypercar – and therein lies a bit of a problem.
It’s all too easy to think of Lamborghini as the only hypercar out there and often the best, so much so that everyone that can afford a vehicle of that type has one of those two core models. There are however other options and, rather than ride in one of the plethora of Lambos out there you could opt for something a little more interesting…
Since their now-legendary P1 McLaren have been one of the biggest contenders to the hypercar throne. Their Sports Series may have brought their entry level prices down a bit but we’re not here for ‘entry’. Though the P1 has now finished production, the splash it made at this year’s Geneva Auto Show indicates that the 720S may well be a worthy successor.
Apparently the designers at McLaren took inspiration from the Great White Shark and, given the aggressive lines of the car we’re not about to argue with that. It certainly looks like a hunter, especially with a glass canopy giving the driver an unprecedented view of their surroundings. Not that you’ll have much time to admire your surroundings of course; the only thing more aggressive than the looks of the 720S is its engine.
The 4.0 litre M840T engine at the core of the car is a fearsome piece of engineering. Able to produce 530 kW of power, the lightness of the carbon fibre monocage chassis lets it push the 720S well past the 200mph mark – all the way to 211.9 in fact. It’s slightly slower than the Aventador on a straight but with superb handling and the same 0-60 sprint, it’s definitely a great alternative.
It takes a fine balance of madness and genius to bring out the world’s only single-seater, road-legal hypercar. Anyone that’s actually driven the Mono will be very glad BAC did just that. In essence, Mono is the closest thing to a racing car that you can actually take on the road. It’s ultra-lightweight, extremely fast and looks like you’d need to take an advanced driving course just to get in. All those things are true to some extent, but you’d be very surprised. If you don’t mind standing out like a flare in the night, it’ll serve you well even at low speeds.
The Mono isn’t the fastest car in the world, not by a long shot. It’s max speed of 170mph pales in comparison to many a hypercar. What counts though isn’t the power but how you use it. The entire car weighs in at 580kg, meaning its power to weight ratio is bordering ridiculous. This means that the handling, acceleration and overall driving thrill are second-to-none. To put it into a real-world context, the Mono destroyed every previous track record held by McLaren’s P1.
It might be far slower on a straight than a Lamborghini (by a good 40mph in the case of the Aventador) but its sprint is far, far quicker. Furthermore it’s near-weightlessness and handling lets you attack corners like a professional. If you love driving rather than showing off, you owe yourself a test drive at least.
Pagani Huayra Roadster
So, we’ve looked at something similar to a Lamborghini and a completely different type of hypercar. Now it’s time for one very, very few cars can even compare to – the Huayra Roadster. You might have already heard whispered tales of the older Coupe version; you may even have had a chance to drive one. The Roadster is better.
Where most convertibles are heavier than their fixed roof counterparts, the Huayra Roadster bucks the trend. Thanks to its monocoque cabin and the materials therein –an outlandish mix of advanced alloys – it’s lighter than its predecessor, getting even higher speeds from the same 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged V12 engine. Its 0-60 sprint takes less than 3 seconds with a top speed of nearly 240mph. Just let that sink in for a second.
Style-wise it puts even Bugatti’s efforts to shame in both beauty and aggression. You know from a glance that this is a ground-breaking vehicle, let alone sitting in that cabin surrounding by chunks of aluminium and carbon fibre. Forget the whole stripped-down feel of some performance-obsessed marques and bask in what comes very, very close to automotive perfection.
The only downside is that, for now at least, the Huayra Roadster is next to impossible to get a hold of. 100 are being made; 100 have already been sold. Still, with that kind of success, you can be sure to hear more from Pagani very soon.
Words by: Sam Kessler