Sports Car Vs. Super Sports Car: What’s The Difference?

What is a Sports Car? A sports car or a super sports car is a type of vehicle which falls under the performance segment. Manufacturers design and optimize these cars for speed, acceleration, braking, and …

Sports cars & Siper sports cars

What is a Sports Car?

A sports car or a super sports car is a type of vehicle which falls under the performance segment. Manufacturers design and optimize these cars for speed, acceleration, braking, and handling on paved roads. They emphasize mainly handling, and performance, or the thrill of driving. However, you get these parameters at the cost of fuel economy &, at times, luxury compared to other cars.

Audi TT Coupe 2015 (Courtesy: Audi)
Audi TT Coupe 2015 (Courtesy: Audi)

Generally, most sports cars worldwide have varying sizes and prices than the other types. However, car enthusiasts mainly prefer them for their smooth tarmac handling ability. The characteristics of these cars include adrenaline acceleration, handling, cornering ability, braking power, and top speed.

Terminology:

The earliest use of the word “sports car” was in The Times newspaper of the UK in 1919. The first known use of this term in the USA was in 1928. However, sportscars started getting famous during the 1920s. The manufacturers first used the term sports car for two-seat roadsters, i.e., those without a fixed roof. However, from the 1970s, manufacturers started using this term for cars with fixed roofs. These cars were formerly considered Grand Tourers or the GTs.

Mercedes-Benz nomenclature: Mercedes-AMG GT
Mercedes-Benz nomenclature: Mercedes-AMG GT

Furthermore, it could be a controversial or debatable matter among enthusiasts to name any particular model as a ‘sports car.’ Therefore, automobile experts & designers often offer their ideas to define a sportscar clearly. Besides, insurance companies use mathematical formulae to categorize sportscars. However, there is no fixed distinction between sportscars and other categories of performance cars.

Design of a Sports car:

Traditionally, a sports car’s handling ability often depends on how manufacturers optimize their design for a dynamic performance. However, there are no standard minimum specifications to define a sportscar. As a result, manufacturers may label two completely different cars as sportscars despite vastly different performance levels.

DC TCA Sports Car
DC TCA Sports Car

Some manufacturers broadly define them as those cars whose performance has priority over their carrying capacity. The other definition is those cars that emphasize the “thrill of driving” or those that offer a race track’s high speed or glamour. However, some manufacturers use more specific definitions. For example, they classify the car as a two-seater or a 2+2 seater or with two seats only.

Characteristics of a Sports car:

Commonly, the most preferred layout for sportscars is that of a roadster (a two-seater without a fixed roof). However, there are many instances where earlier generation sportscars had four seats. In addition, manufacturers designed sportscars to carry regularly a maximum of two occupants.

So, most modern sports cars usually have a two-seater layout or a 2+2 layout (two smaller rear seats). However, they classify larger cars with the more spacious rear-seat layout as sports sedans rather than sportscars. Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Porsche are some of the popular sportscars manufacturers in the world.

Engine Layout Of A Sports Car:

The location of the engine and driven wheels significantly impacts the handling of a car. Therefore, it is too an essential factor while designing a sports car. By tradition, most sportscars use rear-wheel-drive with the engine at the front or in the middle of the car. However, many sportscars have the engine further back in the engine bay to avoid heavy load at the front. Therefore, the engine is as close to the firewall as possible in this design.

Bugatti Chiron
Bugatti Chiron

However, since the 1990s, all-wheel-drive has become popular in sports cars. It is because all-wheel drive offers increased traction. However, its drawback is the added weight of additional drivetrain components. Examples of all-wheel-drive sportscars are the Lamborghini Huracan, Bugatti Veyron, and Nissan GT-R. Generally, manufacturers do not use rear-engine layouts for sportscars. However, a notable exception to this is the Porsche 911.

Other Layouts:

Generally, front-wheel drive with front-engine is the most common layout for cars. However, it is not as common for sports cars. Nevertheless, the manufacturers often use the front-engine layout for sport compacts and hot hatches. E.g., cars with front-engine layouts include Fiat Barchetta, Saab Sonett, and Berkeley cars.

Generally, sports cars have higher power & torque. They also have trend-setting colors and sleek design/style. Often, sportscars have complex designs and advanced equipment. They also have a very low ground clearance & center of gravity, providing better handling and control. Technically, they are more expensive to manufacture than other cars. Sports cars have low mileage and high maintenance costs. Primarily, their focus is on handling ability and top speed.

Super Sports Cars:

Some sports cars are super aerodynamic and lightweight. Manufacturers make these cars using precision engineering. They use lightweight materials such as carbon fiber for weight loss and improved handling. They also offer premium features such as advanced electronic controls, bigger tires, and high-performance front & rear suspension to improve the performance. A few sportscars have dual exhaust pipes that deliver deep, rumbling exhaust notes.

Dual exhaust pipes
Dual exhaust pipes

Some sports cars are preferred to deliver high performance and break speed records. Therefore, manufacturers classify them in the super sports category. Supersports cars are more prevalent in developed countries such as the USA, UK, Australia, and Europe. Some popular super sportscar manufacturers include the Bugatti, Koeinsiegg, and McLaren.

Conclusion:

In short, sports cars are capable of sprinting faster without any hassles. They offer outstanding performance and handling abilities. These cars are fun to drive on the winding roads/bends with sharp cornering ability. So, they are perfect, mainly for the race tracks/paved roads/tarmacs. Some of these cars offer premium suspension, safety, and other equipment. However, these cars are very expensive. Thus, swankier and more feature-laden the sportscar gets, it commands a higher price tag.

Watch Bugatti Chiron Super Sports Car Breaking World Record Of 490.48 Km/h:

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