The Difference Between A Supercar And A Hypercar

Both supercars and hypercars are a little more than your average Toyota Camry, and the terms are often used interchangeably. But there are actually some subtle differences between cars that earn the moniker of supercar and cars that are on another level entirely.

According to the Peterson Automotive Museum, the classification of "supercar" has been around for at least 60 years. The museum cites examples like the Shelby AC Cobra 427 as one of the first truly special cars to earn the title. In 2022, cars like the Lamborghini Huracan sport the title because of the brand's inherent exclusivity and the car's unhinged performance metrics. One could argue that cars like the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and Tesla Model S Plaid are supercars, not because of the model's high price tags or the brand's clout, but purely on its insane sub-three second zero-to-60 miles per hour times. 

The supercar classification is a little loose. But it's safe to say that a supercar is any car that exceeds the average metrics of price, style, or performance just by virtue of existing. For example, a new Shelby Mustang is certainly a fast car with a relatively high price tag, but it isn't a supercar. Its stablemate the Ford GT, however, gets the title because of its wild styling and rarity. 

Hypercars, on the other hand, are an elite group of vehicles, and only a few cars have actually earned the title.  

Automotive perfection

Hypercars are discussed in hushed tones among car aficionados. Sightings are treated with the same amount of excitement and incredulity of a sasquatch spotting. A hypercar is one that can liquify a Toyota Corolla just by parking next to it. Hypercars laugh in the face of automotive superlatives of rarity and performance extremes. To be considered a hypercar, a vehicle has to be excessively fast, incredibly rare, and come with a price tag of over $1 million. The sixteen-cylinder and 250+ miles per hour Bugatti Veyron has been cited as the first car to truly earn the title of hypercar (via Peterson Automotive Museum).

Pagani, maker of cars like the Zonda, Huayra and new Utopia, is considered a hypercar brand. No one would consider a Pagani Huayra a "normal" car by any means, and with only six official dealerships in the entirety of the Western Hemisphere, it's safe to say it's an exclusive brand. Cars like the Bugatti Chiron and Ferrari LaFerrari are among the few brands to hold the hypercar title. They represent the absolute best Bugatti and Ferrari have to offer. The word "compromise" doesn't even exist in the hypercar lexicon.

Anyone with the right finances can theoretically buy a supercar today. A hypercar requires all the planets to align, an act of God, and then immense wealth to even be considered for the privilege of owning one.