You would think that the cars we have on our cover are all pretty similar. Sportscars. Playthings perhaps to many. All the same. You would be surprised how different they really are, and how much they all show us about where the future is headed.
Look at the Ferrari, the brand new 488 GTB. It now produces more horsepower with less volume than the car it replaces, which was no slouch. Yet the big deal is not the power, it is how it is delivered. Turbo lag has been all but eliminated not necessarily by smoothening out the curve or making it more linear but by making it come on so quick it is almost negligible. I have to say, this is the first engine I ever wanted to take out and hug.
Then you have the Lamborghini Huracan, from a company that made cars pretty much only for big strong men with heavy arms and legs. Yet this particular vehicle is probably the most important ever for the company, it is far more drivable and usable than anything with the same badge before it.
Lotus, the decidedly English company that was the “garagiste” homegrown backyard team that went against the continental powers and power-producers from Europe. True, it is now owned by a company that doesn’t fly the union jack (and Lamborghini now falls under the purview of the Germans and this is clearly a good thing) but it is still so bleedingly British it almost works against it. Thankfully, a decade after they said they wouldn’t they now have modern air conditioning.
But if you look at history it is perhaps Lotus that has kept truest to its roots. Colin Chapman wanted lightness and handling, not horsepower and weight. This is arguably the best platform from which to create a company for the future, because you already start with something unique and at the top of its class and can just choose which propulsion units to use (in this case Toyota powerplants, so you immediately get rid of the “unreliable British” stigma. Yet of these all, it is perhaps Lotus that hasn’t grown with the rest yet.
Lamborghini has taken strength from the giant VW Group and used it to create cars with Italian passion and zest for a life with noise and made something stronger than ever for a world that now needs to satisfy demands that were once super-niche. Some say it is the perfect pairing for supercar creation.
Back to Ferrari. Italian to the core, ups as well as downs. They use air bubbles as aerodynamic aids because, to put it bluntly, big wings would be too ugly. It is arguable that they had a very tenuous hold on a real future in this changing world, but it seems they have the strongest hold. The decisions they took decades ago to data mine everything on a racetrack now benefit not only themselves but everyone who drives a modern car with traction control and stability aids and such. You could spend over half a day just sitting with engineers and designers trying to understand the technology (we did) but it is still somehow different from doing the same other places. You get the feeling that the technical perfection and brand strength of the company aren’t the final goals here. They are merely something that brings you further forward. Yes it is about numbers and figures and benchmarks and breakthroughs, but it is also about more than that. It is about passion not as a byword or a trendy saying. It is about how you live your life and how you affect the world around you.
It is about soul.