SUPERCARS: ARE THEY STILL RELEVANT?
In the words of Axl Rose. Where do we go now?
A little while ago I was walking down Baker Street in central London, and amongst the throbbing mass of white vans, grey Ubers and disgusting buses full of vomit, I spied out of the corner of my eye a brand new Lamborghini Huracan Performante.
To be honest with you, this isn't a particularly unusual occurrence these days. In the last few years supercars have become so common in the capital that I imagine soon their numbers will start to rival those of the black cab.
Honestly, if you want to see the flashiest, most expensive and most exclusive cars in the world don't bother going to the Geneva motor show next March. Forget about Frankfurt, Detroit and all the others. Just go for a walk around Chelsea one day, because every single Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini and McLaren that has ever been built is there, doing endless laps around Paultons Square at three miles per hour, at three million RPM, at three in the morning.
And if you live in Paultons Square, or anywhere the wealthy young gentlemen and lady-gentlemen roam the streets, then I can perfectly understand why you might grow to hate these low-slung speed machines that keep you up all night with their roaring engines and carbon fibre stereo systems.
Then we have the inescapable rise of the electric car. Not so long ago electricity was deemed as only being suitable for powering milk floats and the Sinclair C5, and even that had to be fitted with pedals because the battery couldn't cope. But then there was the Prius, and more importantly for normal people, there was the McLaren P1 which took the idea of electric cars as an environmental fad, and turned it completely on it's head. We have to acknowledge the Tesla Model S as well, the electric four-door saloon car that will crucify most 911's in a straight line.
Even in the world of conventional cars, the supercar faces danger. These days you can buy something like an Audi RS4 or BMW M5 for tens of thousands of Pounds less than even a used supercar would cost you. They're more spacious, more economical and on real-life roads, just as fast.
When you consider all this, along with the idiotic price of fuel and insurance, the impracticality and the cost of buying such a thing in the first place, you have to start wondering if the 'conventional' supercar as an idea has really had it's day.
It hasn't though. Nobody really dreams of the day they can buy a medium-sized BMW, no matter how fast it might be, but there are millions of people around the world who have photos of the Ferrari 812 as their screen saver. When they picture themselves roaring through Monument Valley in the blazing sunshine they're never in a grey Audi estate with two children and the family dog. They're in a Performante Spyder, with Margot Robbie, with the roof down and that V10 masterpiece howling like Roger Daltrey in 'Won't Get Fooled Again'.
A supercar is not built to be capacious, or anonymous, or attainable. It is the love child of the human predilection for unwarranted excess and the human gift of limitless imagination. It is the ultimate example of beauty, sound and soul outweighing reason, worthiness and sensibility.
That's why I don't think the idea of the supercar will be going anywhere soon. Sure, they'll change and evolve along with the rest of the world, their thunderous V12's may go the same way as the carburettor and the manual gearbox. But they will be replaced with new, better ideas born of new dreams.
Take the Rimac Concept One as an example. Ten years ago the idea of an electric supercar would have been dismissed as the rambling of a madman. But now here we are with a 1200 horsepower colossus which is amazing to behold and faster than a falling star.
Providing that it's facing the right way up.