Gallery: Europe in a 207mph McLaren 12C
Paul Horrell continues our world tour with the only continent that can lay claim to the supercar title…
Posted: 18 Apr 2013
No, supercars live or die by other factors. A cultural flamboyance, for a start – it’s no coincidence that they come from the countries of Verdi and Wagner and Led Zeppelin. Beyond that, a set of social ideals you might not actually like very much: elitism, snobbishness, a sense of entitlement that rather resembles some remnant of old Europe’s class system.
An example. When the Audi R8 came along, I figured it was a valid entry into the lower stratum of the supercars. It has the looks, the performance, the handling, the engine, the drama. But I found myself in heated argument with a friend, who posited that it’s not a valid supercar at all. Now, intellectually, he’s a man of impeccably egalitarian views, but, temperamentally, he can’t quite shake off the notion that if you’re born with a certain something – blue blood, looks, charm – then you’re entitled to be carried through life on the shoulders of others. With cars as with people, in his world view. Because Audi isn’t a member of the supercar aristocracy, then the R8 somehow has no right to be called one. (Obviously he’d forgotten about Auto Union, but that’s beside he point.) As far as he’s concerned, there is no automotive social mobility – nor need there be.