What do you think is the greatest car ever made?
It is a question that everybody will have an answer to: what do you think is the greatest car ever made? While it may be simple to give a snap answer, when you delve into the complexities behind this question, you realise that it’s rather more difficult than it makes itself out to be.
For a start, how exactly do you define greatness? It may seem obvious to state that greatness is a measure without a tangible number - but what exactly is it measuring? After all, you can only measure one thing at a time, so does that mean the definition of greatness is divided between individual automotive elements? In some ways, yes.
You could construct a very compelling argument to say that the Rolls Royce Phantom is the greatest car ever made, for it is quite possibly the most comfortable and luxurious thing in the known universe. And what more could you really want from a car when you have your sensible hat firmly fixed into place?
When you take your sensible hat off however, you may look upon the Koenigsegg One:1 as the greatest car ever made. It may offer all the luxuries of an Iranian prison cell, and it may contort the driver into the most awkward of positions behind the wheel - but it can also annihilate anything with number-plates when the throttle hits the floor.
Perhaps in the pursuit of answering this question however, we must look outside of the masters-of-one, and search for cars that are jack-of-all-trades. But even then, we come to a perplexing quandary.
Defining that a car is the greatest ever made due to its wide breadth of abilities isn’t necessarily the same as a car being a great all-rounder. For example: a Range Rover probably offers the greatest overall spectrum of abilities in any car on sale, but a Mercedes E63 AMG S Wagon is probably the greatest all-rounder on Earth. But with both comes compromise, and that’s something that should be kept to an absolute minimum in the quest for ultimate greatness.
When you really think about it, you start to wonder whether any car can actually claim to be the greatest ever made. While it’s easy to distinguish greatness when isolating merely a single trait, to determine what the greatest car ever overall is means you have to compare cars via their incomparable skills - and that’s an unavoidable problem. There is however the tiniest fleck of light shining at the end of this impossible tunnel.
Perhaps the way in which we can define what the greatest car ever made is, is to investigate which car can amalgamate the greatest amount of conflicting elements in the most harmonious way possible, while each one of those elements is stretched to the near pinnacle of its greatness when analysed alone. When we do this, I find there’s only one car that stands out - and that’s the Bugatti Chiron.
The Chiron is a car that can outrun almost anything in a straight line, while also being relaxing enough to cosset a person over a transcontinental journey with the aplomb of a fine grand tourer. Despite its power and weight, it can be driven quickly down a tight and twisting back road and make the driver beam from ear to ear. It is a seamless blend of performance, handling, usability, engagement, refinement, enjoyment, comfort, quality, and engineering excellence. Absolute practicality aside, it’s damn near omnipotent.
Really and truly though, I don’t think this question can have a definitive answer - just a humble opinion. Which is why I’m now reiterating what I asked in the title of this blog: what DO YOU think is the greatest car ever made? Please let me know in the comments.
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