Sports cars & Siper sports cars

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

 | 5 minutes read

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 the sportscars for speed, acceleration, braking, and handling on paved roads. They emphasize mainly on handling, performance or 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 around the world have varying sizes and prices than the other types. However, car enthusiasts prefer them mainly for their handling ability on smooth tarmac. The characteristics of these cars include adrenaline acceleration, handling, cornering ability, braking power, and top speed.


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 popular during the 1920s. The term sports car was first used for two-seat roadsters i.e. those without a fixed roof. However, from the 1970s, manufacturers started using this term for cars with a fixed roof. 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 a 'sports car'. Automobile experts & designers often offer their own ideas to clearly define a sportscar. 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. Manufacturers may label two completely different cars as sportscars despite vastly different levels of performance.

DC TCA Sports Car
DC TCA Sports Car

Some manufacturers broadly define them as those cars in which performance has priority than its carrying capacity. The other definition is those cars that emphasize the “thrill of driving" or those which offer high speed or glamour of a race-track. However, some manufacturers use more specific definitions. They classify that the car must be a two-seater or a 2+2 seater or with two seats only.

Characteristics of a Sports car:

Commonly, the most preferred layout for sports cars is that of a roadster (a two-seater without a fixed roof). However, there are also many instances where earlier generation sportscars had four seats. 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 important factor while designing a sports car. By tradition, most sportscars use a rear-wheel-drive with the engine at the front or in the middle of the car. To avoid heavy load at the front, many sportscars have the engine further back in the engine bay. In this design, the engine is as close to the firewall as possible.

Bugatti Chiron
Bugatti Chiron

However, since the 1990s, all-wheel-drive became popular in sports cars. 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, there is 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. For e.g., cars with front-engine layout 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 which provides better handling and control. Technically, they are 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 light-weight. 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 a deep, rumbling exhaust notes.

Dual exhaust pipes
Dual exhaust pipes

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


In short, sports cars are capable to sprint faster without any hassles. They offer great performance, and handling abilities. With sharp cornering ability, these cars are fun to drive on the winding roads/bends. 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:

Read More: What is a coupe?>>

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