The trend towards electrification has not quite filtered through to the supercar segment. Sure, some carmakers may have begun, but Ferrari and Lamborghini appear to be making their “last stand”.
Ferrari has been prolific, to say the least. Early in the year, I drove the Ferrari Roma, a standalone coupe that is mechanically related to the Ferrari Portofino.
The Roma has an advanced version of the award-winning turbocharged V8 (now tweaked to develop 620PS) that helps it achieve a zero to 100 km/h time of 3.4 seconds and a top speed of over 320km/h.
This suave-looking coupe was a determined effort by Ferrari to capture a different clientele: Those who desire a Ferrari, but not the overt styling or colours that traditionally come with it.
The Roma’s styling harks back to the 1960s when Ferraris donned curvaceous forms rather than the current overtly angular designs. It still delivers the expected Ferrari drive, while its refinement allows it to fulfil the promise of being an everyday Ferrari.
This 620PS engine also found its way into the Portofino M to beef up its performance, not that it was lacking in any way. The Portofino M is a subtle mid-life refresh of the 2017 Portofino, which follows the styling of contemporary Ferraris.
The underbody mechanicals are somewhat similar to the Roma and so is its performance, to a large extent. Both carry price tags just shy of the $900,000 mark before options.
In November, Ferrari flew me to their factory to see their hottest car, the 812 Competizione. It is equipped with the most powerful naturally aspirated V12 in Ferrari’s production history.
It develops 830PS and spins to 9500rpm, which is record-breaking for a regular production engine. This rocket ship blasts to 100km/h in a mere 2.85 seconds and has a top speed of over 340km/h.
Although the entire production was sold out even before I arrived, I still managed several laps around the hallowed Fiorano circuit.
In the controlled confines of the Fiorano racetrack, the 812 Competizione performed flawlessly. Since there was no road drive, it is impossible to say how it is on the open road. Besides, it is not possible to buy it except on the secondary market.
Its estimated price is in the region of $2m. Despite all its greatness, the 812 Competizione will have to remain in the realm of dreams for now.
RAGING BULL ENTERS THE RING
In late 2021, Lamborghini entered the fray with the Huracán STO. A fitting tribute to their race-winning Huracán GT3 entrant, it has the most attention-gathering body colours and aerodynamic addenda.
And its naturally aspirated V10 engine, now producing 640PS, is just as loud. Unlike most Lamborghinis, the STO eschews all-wheel-drive and only drives the rear wheels, just like the Huracán GT3.
Its century sprint time is 3 seconds and its top speed is “only” 310km/h due to the aerodynamic drag from the downforce it produces.
The Ferrari Roma and Portofino M are pure GT cars, with a superb blend of long-distance cruising ability and sporty performance. They have the expected hallmarks of a Ferrari and are more enjoyable and communicative than all other entry-level Ferraris before them.
They are much easier to live with day-to-day, as their driveability in town has been refined to the point that one could consider them comfortable.
The loud and brash Lamborghini Huracán STO is a bit offensive at first brush. It looks more intimidating than welcoming and requires some acrobatics to get in and out.
But drive it a few kilometres, and it is clear there is something special about the STO. It has a clear focus, and does not try to be everything to everyone.
It may be derived from the Huracán EVO RWD, but the STO feels significantly different.
Unfortunately, this is reflected in its $1.268m price tag – a premium of more than 50 percent over the $800,000 EVO RWD. As good as it is, the EVO RWD is not exactly a cut-price STO, in case you were wondering.
The STO’s chassis seems uncomfortable at first, but you soon realise that it is not harsh. In fact, considering the clarity it brings to the table, it is actually reasonably comfortable. The level of connectedness and communication is special, and far better than any Lamborghini I have had the privilege to drive.
Sure, the DCT is not silky smooth, but it is appropriately mechanical and befits its character as a pure sports car for both track and road.
Admittedly, the Huracán STO is not for everyone, but when you hear the term supercar, it’s gotta mean this. It is one of those unapologetic grail cars that cognoscenti are looking for.
Because of the way it wants to involve the driver in the whole supercar driving experience, the Huracán STO is my choice for the coolest supercar of 2021.