Lately there's been lots of discussion about the boundary between supercars and hypercars, much of which has been centered around the Koenigsegg One:1. Let us not forget that there is another similar boundary, though: the distinction between sportscars and supercars. Here are a few cars that skirt that line, and my opinions on how to classify them.
First up to bat: The NSX.
This car is perhaps the center of the most heated debates over what makes a supercar a supercar. Handling and driving experience are certainly up there with the best, but many argue that it falls short of supercar status in too many ways. Power output is the biggest failure, 280hp just isn't enough. Styling is also quite conservative, it's not exactly the kind of car you'll find plastered on a ten-year-old's wall. The car is also too user friendly and easy to live with, it lacks that "hardcore" feeling that you expect from a true supercar. The NSX has characteristics of both a supercar and a sportscar, but I guess I'm siding with the latter on this one.
Next up to the plate: The Venerable 'Vette
With even base model cars producing well over 400hp, performance is not the issue here. The Corvette is definitely in supercar territory in regards to power and handling. The reason the 'Vette skirts the line here is because it is just too obtainable. Its mass produced and (relatively) cheap so it lacks that exclusivity factor that you associate with supercars. The sheer performance alone, though, at the very least bumps it partway into supercar status.
Verdict: SuperSports car
Third and finally: the Esprit.
This one's a tough one. It certainly checks all the supercar boxes; it's uncommon, it'll certainly turn heads, power output is great, and handling is, well, Lotus. By all rights it should be a supercar, but even though I've never driven one it just doesn't seem to exude that balls-to-the-wall, I'll-kill-you-if-you're-not-careful aura that a supercar should have.
Verdict: Still up in the air on this one. I really want it to be a supercar, but I have a hard time thinking of it as one.
Additionally, there's the boundary between a sportscar and a sporty car. The MX-5, the Toyobaru Twins, the Audi TT. They're all smack-dab in the middle of that border. They handle better and are more fun than your average appliance, but power output is nothing special, anyone can own one, and the simple fact that they are capable of DD duties means that to me at least they're not true sportscars.
So, readers, what do you think of the cars I've listed? How do you decide what to label as a supercar or not? What are some other cars that straddle that line?