Are Supercars Getting Too Vulgar?

I hate being Mr Negative-Pants, but some of the images I’m seeing at the start at the Geneva Motor Show are making me a little uneasy. I subscribe to the Richard Hammond theory that supercars are meant to be stupendous, they’re meant to be an event. But isn’t this going a little too far?

This is the new Ferrari, which is officially referred to simply as LaFerrari. True. I don’t mind the name at all, actually. What I’m having trouble with is the compartmentalised design:

LaFerrari

What am I talking about, you say?

It looks like the car has been designed in bits and then those bits have been added together, or something. The design doesn’t flow. It doesn’t lead your eye from one place to another in a ordered way. It’s like there are 10 different design elements screaming “Look at me!” all at once.

The front wheel arches, which house but seem to be a different element from the healamps. The V shape on the hood. The deep vented doors. That crease before the rear vents. It’s like the Mr Potato Head of supercars – all stuck together.

Here’s how a Ferrari should look:

FerrariF12

To me, the F12 Berlinetta flows. It’s got presence and power but it’s also got elegance. Maybe the LaFerrari needed a touch of madness in its design in order to command the crazy price they’ll as for what’s being talked of as their Enzo successor, their fastest car ever.

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Another offender, in my books – and I’m really loathe to say this because I know a lot of people already love this car – is the Lamborghini Veneno.

The looks aren’t the only thing that are slightly offensive with this car, but let’s start there:

Lamborghini Veneno Top

This is even more disjointed than the LaFerrari! It’s as if it’s made from smoothed-over Lego. There are just way too many hard edges and holes in this design.

Here’s another view. Is this a car or a super-expensive, giant cheese grater?

Lamborghini Veneno

Here’s what else is vulgar about this car. Ferrari have been mocked from pillar to post about their brand building and merchandising but Lamborghini deserve to steal their position as the #1 over-hyped supercar maker – and it’s all because of the Veneno.

They’re only making four of them and they’re only selling three of the four. They’ll keep the first one for themselves. They’re asking 3 MILLION EUROS for the car. Three-freaking-million and yet it’s only got just over 70% of the power of a Veyron or Koenigsegg.

Let me say this plainly – I don’t think it can do what a three-million-Euro car should do in terms of actually being a car. It’s theatrical, but it’s not a patch on some cars that sell for a third of the price.

That Lamborghini have sold all three of these is a masterclass in marketing, or suckerteering (a word I just made up).

But back to the looks – can you really say that you love this automotive version of Predator? Does it fill you with automotive passion or simply juice you up because you might induce some fear into some lowly Porsche driver? There’s a massive difference there.

Lamborghini Veneno

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I’m a little less sure about including this third car because I actually quite like it. However, this photo of the McLaren P1 in yellow has not done it any favours.

McLaren P1

Is it just me or does that look a little like a flouro basketball shoe from the mid-2000’s?

I’ll take mine in metallic grey, please.

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A supercar’s allure should be in its sense of theatre, not in its costume. The costume should add to the sense of theatre but it shouldn’t be the whole show. It’s up to the engine, the handling and the interior to add to that external design and complete the package.

I’m quite sure that all of these supercars are extraordinary to drive, but there’s something that’s just a little too brash about the way they present themselves. The most alluring always manage to hold something back.

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And yes, in a statement that people who know me will think is totally predictable, let me just say that Koenigsegg have got it just right with Agera. It’s a beautiful design that states its intent with purpose but also flows and is completely functional. The same goes for the Pagani Hayauararauyirara.

Here’s an example of Koenigsegg handing Lamborghini their own arse in terms of hyper/supercar vehicle design. The Koenigsegg Hundra has wheels made of carbonfibre – an industry first. The front wheels weigh just 4.5 kilos each (the rears weigh 6.5 kilos). The Hundra has been sold to an owner in Hong Kong. It’s a one-of-a-kind vehicle with over 1,100hp and it has been sold for less than half the price of the Veneno.

If you can sort out some logic amongst all that, please let me know.

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How do you think a supercar should look? I know that people paying this sort of money want to stand out from the crowd, but aren’t some of these taking things just a little too far?

Swade

Ex-Saab blogger, multiple Saab and Alfa Romeo owner and football tragic.

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22 Responses

  1. John Visanich says:

    I’ve got only one word to describe the Lamborghini Veneno – obscene. It makes the Veyron look beautiful. Give me the classic lines of an Aston Martin anytime.

  2. Romac says:

    Didn’t a certain Mr J Castriota say about the Phoenix Concept that the aim is to get people talking about it, whether they like it or not. The Veneno will be the headline car of the show despite it’s shortcomings in the power dept and it’s radio-controlled / comic-book looks!

    BTW, I pretty much agree with your assessment! Any comment on the Spyker?

  3. Eric Adams says:

    It seems to me the world is getting more vulgar. Supercars are just going along with it.

  4. eggsngrits says:

    Yes, yes they are too vulgar. On the other hand, I’m a guy who thinks all Lamborghini designs of the last 20 years or so to be vulgar. The pricing is vulgar, too. Even the ‘typical’ supercoupes can run well into the six figures.

    For me, the exotic two seater of choice wouuld be the Maserati Gran Turismo. What a beautiful car, still blistering performance at 0-60 below 5 seconds (by memory) and it’s ‘only’ $100,000! (again, by memory). My second choice would be a Jaguar XK for the same reasons.

  5. eggsngrits says:

    By the way — laughing out loud at ‘giant cheese grater’. That is such a great word picture.

  6. maanders says:

    I loved the “cheese grater” analogy too, but what I see when I look at the Veneno is change the color from silver to black and you have a new Batmobile for the next Batman movie. Fine for a superhero movie, but ridiculous for a supercar.

  7. I don’t like the sharp angled lines on a supercar it looks like it’s mean for the NFL robot. That is why I am enamored with the Koenigsegg or Ferrari. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/car-manufacturers/ferrari/9908438/LaFerrari-supercar-makes-debut-at-the-Geneva-motor-show.html

  8. saabdude says:

    The original “cheese grater” was the 1980s & 1990s Ferrari 512 Testarossa. People hated that car as well…but it made a statement.

    The Lambo is obviously an exercise in wind tunnel development…taken to the extreme.

    Not sure I like it either, but the 3 folks who will buy them aren’t looking for a Veyron beater, they are looking for exclusivity…and there isn’t much else that will fit that bill.

    As for the McLaren, never liked ANY vehicle that had dark colored (or contrasting) appendages or accent areas. Thought the 9-3x , like the Audi Allroad, & various Volvos, with the “stuck-on” fender flares & bumper attachments, look hideous in any color other than one that was matched to the color of the flares. All that stuff breaks up the lines of the vehicle. But hey…just my opinion.

    At least SAAB, when they came out with the 900 SPGs, kept the dark bumpers & side panels in one continuous horizontal line around the vehicle. I still think our black SPG looks better than our Talladega Red one, due to it looking less segmented.

  9. Keith says:

    My classic circa 1950s cheese grater is offended.

    These cars look like they are designed by 14 year old boys, with brains overwhelmed by hormonal imbalance.

    Frightening to imagine the insecurity complex someone would require to wish to have any of these.

  10. Fliptop says:

    Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. A truism I firmly believe in.

    Unfortunately the big biz that is the hypercar industry is easily suckered (suckerteered??) into building ridiculous vehicles for the very few hyper-wealthy people with more money than taste. Their loss. Real petrolheads will always gravitate to real cars. That’s all we need concern ourselves with.

  11. I just saw the LaFerrari at Geneva on You Tube
    http://youtu.be/J_KEowtEua4

    But look at this Chrome/Carbon-Fiber Audi with red seats!

  12. Paul D says:

    These remind me of some of the toy cars from my childhood – either the first-generation Transformers, which changed into robots, or just toy sports cars meant to look like more futuristic versions of the real ones. I always liked the realistic looking cars better.

    • spinm says:

      My thought exactly – Transformers! Especialy Lambo looks like an exercise in matching design to a price. As the price is plainly crazy, so is the design and this is an example of both spinning out of control. Tasteless.

  13. The Ferarris is just to strange and the Lambo is beyond ridiculous. Any Batmobile is way more understated than both these cars.

    THe F12 Berlinetta is a bit to much also for something i would feel comfortable parking at the closest burgerking but its beautiful for sure.

  14. Andrew Robertson says:

    Didn’t Porsche put carbon fibre wheels (Aussie made I think too) on a car last year?

  15. thylmuc says:

    Yes, too vulgar. Like many non supercars recently. More to show off. Maybe manufacturers got themselves trapped in the ever faster trap. Now that even luxurous cars like a 5 series can easily reach 300 km/h, where is the room for supercars that more or less no one can drive appropriately? They _must_ be faster, and this requires technical compromises that render the whole concept absurd.
    Much better to find a good mixture of performance, style and fun, like the new Spyker.

  16. Allan B says:

    That’s no Miura, it’s a space station.

  17. saabdude says:

    Nice Audi…but it can only be driven on cloudy days…or at night. ;-)

  18. Dave says:

    Too meany transformer Movies IMO ,

  19. GerritN says:

    +1 on the transformers.
    I don’t agree with sweeping the previous 20 years of Lambos in the same basket as the the new ones. The Diablo has a beautiful, menacing stance and a carbon black Murcielago really looks alien without trying too hard.
    I do agree that a lot of new supercars, and many not-so-supercars, seem like exercises in awkward angles.