Best supercars 2022
Want to go fast and make a statement whilst doing so? These are the best supercars on sale right now
The supercar: staple of the bedroom wall poster, what many of us dream to drive, and one day aspire to own. Yet, while we all know what a supercar is, there’s not really a go-to template for one in 2022 – it can be front, mid- or rear-engined, two or all-wheel drive, seat two or four people, and come with a V8, V10, V12, or even a hybrid. But what all supercars must do is appeal to those of us for whom the driving experience is key, with a little theatricality thrown in for good measure.
To do this, all supercars, at a technical level, must operate on an altogether higher plane, and in 2022 do so by representing one of two interpretations of this notion. Some operate at the leading edge of technology, while others take a more traditional path, honing their existing elements to the highest level – think Ferrari SF90 (hybridised, turbocharged, ‘the future’ as some might say) and Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae (naturally aspirated, rev-hungry and a bit old-fashioned in many objective ways).
The good news is that despite less than favourable conditions putting pressure on these types of cars, there are more and more offerings joining the party, from Maserati’s spectacular MC20 to a new generation of hybrids, like Ferrari’s 296 GTB and the McLaren Artura. The supercar landscape’s under constant change, but right now things are looking good, so these are our picks.
Ferrari 296 GTB
Ferrari’s electrified generation is accelerating quickly, and after the flawed but fast SF90 comes this second hybrid supercar, the 296 GTB. This Ferrari is the first to feature a V6 engine (officially), and while it may sound like a fuel-saving exercise in conjunction with its new hybrid system, the V6 is actually the most powerful factory six-cylinder in the world, creating a combined total of 819bhp – a huge jump over previous mid-engined Ferraris at this price point.
The best bit is not the performance, or the numbers, but how brilliant the 296 GTB is to drive. Despite power coming from different sources, it’s superbly calibrated and impressively natural, with a playful edge that uses the on-board stability, traction and slip control systems to make the car feel even more agile than you’d imagine.
Ferrari’s Centro Stile also did a fabulous job with the 296’s design, giving it a modern look informed by plenty of retro touches. Look closely and you might notice the 250 LM-inspired haunches, the upright rear screen and delicate lighting, but it’s still modern, sharp and very desirable.
Is there a catch? Well, Ferrari’s advancements in hybrid technology have moved a tad faster than its user interfaces. While the car is practically perfect to drive, the interior is a frustrating melange of latent screens and messy menus. But who cares when the 296 GTB looks, drives and even sounds as good as it does. It might have started with a wobble, but Ferrari has proven the age of the hybrid supercar is nothing to be concerned about.
Lamborghini’s more traditional way of doing things at its Sant’Agata factory might lead you to believe that its range is unfashionably biased towards the old, but there’s nothing at all dated about the appeal of both its supercar offerings. The junior Huracán is a prime example of a model growing old gracefully, as since its 2014 introduction the V10-powered supercar has continually improved to the point where all the rear-wheel-drive variants, including the base Evo RWD, Tecnica and STO are simply brilliant.
The original Huracán LP610-4 was brilliant in many ways, but its flaws often left a more lasting impression. Behind the superlative engine and gearbox, its driving experience was let down by steering that was inconsistent and difficult to read, and a chassis balance that resolutely left the driver locked out of the driving experience. Yet with each iteration the Huracán resolved each of its undesirable aspects, leading eventually to the superb rear-drive variants.
Each offers a slightly different experience, too. The base RWD is adjustable, approachable and comes with all the theatre you might hope for and expect from any Lamborghini. The Tecnica then takes this up a notch, with more power and more agility derived from its Performante-spec powertrain and rear-wheel steering.
Yet the greatest experience is still yet derived from the STO. Its £260,000 price tag puts it into another league in terms of cost, yet with its combination of all the hardware upgrades, its lightweight mantra and bespoke carbonfibre bodywork, well, there’s nothing quite like it.
If a supercar was a purely mathematical equation, there’s little doubt McLaren would be seen as an all-conquering force akin to Toto Wolff’s control of the TV remote on a Sunday afternoon. By numbers, all McLarens are faster, lighter and more capable than their more emotional counterparts, and the 765LT is no exception.
Revealed as the Long Tail derivative of the 720S, itself an eCoty winner in 2017, the 765LT’s talent lies not just in its quite stunning performance, but the extent to which it involves the driver – for better or worse.
Despite its other-worldly on-paper numbers, experience suggests these are underrated, and the punishing forces the 765LT will enforce upon your body do more than enough to justify its alien-like looks. Yet the reason it’s in this list is simple. There’s no more involving way to deploy that much power on the public road.
It came as no surprise to see it prosper in 2020’s eCoty, its second-place finish more a reflection of the quality of performance car 2020 displayed than any lack of engagement. Summed up simply by Richard Meaden in that year’s closing statements, he said: 'The McLaren really was like a drug. Each of us would head off to score some adrenaline, then return uttering a mix of superlatives and profanities. It’s on another level for feel and ferocity.'
It’s been a while since Maserati’s had a car to put into a list like this, yet amongst the chaos from within its almost consistent rebirths has arrived the MC20 – a staggeringly good supercar that appeals not on its glamour or claim of the latest tech, but for a simple and pure driving experience.
Underpinning the new supercar is a carbon tub chassis that’s built down the road from Maserati’s factory in Modena by Dallara. From this basis sits a twin-turbocharged V6 of Maserati’s own design, incorporating the first road-car application of a Formula 1-derived pre-combustion chamber technology. This, plus two sodding great turbochargers, gives the MC20 all the power it needs, with no less than 621bhp.
But the beauty of the MC20 isn’t just its engine, but the way Maserati has set the car up. It’s aggressive, sharp and agile, but has a definite whiff of Alpine A110 to the way its suspension set-up allows it to glide over rough road surfaces with far more delicacy and composure than you might expect. The driver modes give you plenty of scope to be more aggressive when you’re on a track or dead-smooth road, but as a driving experience it’s both immensely satisfying and distinctive from most rivals.
This unexpected nuance to the MC20 is also prevalent in its design – there’s no huge wings, intakes or complex fighter-jet design elements, just a clean, tight and purposeful look that incorporates clear Maserati design motifs with a delicate, yet still distinctive style. It’s also a Maserati supercar, which instantly makes it more of a Patek than a Rolex – the connoisseur’s supercar.
Porsche 911 GT3
Ignore for a moment that Porsche emphatically calls its 911 a sports car and not a supercar, because there is no doubt that a modern GT3 is just about the most glamorous and desirable car on sale right now. This isn’t because Porsche has turned the GT3 into a poser’s car, but the fact it’s become so popular that its motorsport bones are sometimes lost to a world of custom paint and Instagram accounts.
The car underneath, ironically, has never been more intense, especially in range-topping RS form – it’s a firm-riding, loud, darty experience, with steering that’s so quick and precise that a sneeze on the motorway will have you crossing three lanes. It’s also loud inside – not from its exhaust noise, although with the right buttons and revs it, too, is intense, but the road noise its massive rear tyres create on anything other than concrete-smooth surfaces.
To drive, though, there are few road cars that feel more capable of turning up to the Spa 24 Hours with the capability to not just survive, but battle for a class win. The numbers might look a little meek in this company – ‘just’ 503bhp and 347lb ft of torque, up to 518bhp in the RS – but we’d challenge you to want more when fully lit.
The GT3 really is a one-of-a-kind car, something that isn’t easily replicable or derivative. Its experience is something that transcends its thrust upwards into automotive fame. If the GT3 wasn’t ‘cool’, if it wasn’t collectable or the sort that has interest from beyond the true enthusiast, we’d still be totally beguiled by it. In fact, if it was, we’d probably like it even more.
Despite a rough ride in 2021’s eCoty, the Ferrari SF90 has wormed its way into our affections, with time and space proving critical in its longer than usual acclimatisation process. Powered by a complex hybrid V8 powertrain, it’s this very complexity that proved its downfall back at eCoty, intimidating our most experienced team members, even ones that have conquered the N24 once or twice.
But such is Ferrari’s pace of development, the SF90 is now nothing like as disjointed as the earlier cars we experienced, thus revealing the true depths of its talent. With space, the right tyres and the right conditions, the SF90’s 986bhp hybrid powertrain is like no other.
When kitted out with the Assetto Fiorano package, there are few faster and more thrilling supercars on sale today, a white-knuckle ride that builds speed like no other. Its electric motors augment the highly strung twin-turbo V8, filling gaps in its torque delivery that makes it feel like there’s a wall of performance that with experience can be used to reveal some quite astonishing performance – performance that’s broken the production car record at Anglesey Circuit in one of our evo Leaderboard YouTube videos.
Yet with its electric motors and rechargeable battery pack, it’ll just as happily mooch around cities and villages in EV mode with no sense of all the available performance, maybe aside from the mass of motors and engine sitting only inches behind your back.
The Aventador – as all V12 Lamborghinis should – has the intimidation factor. It’s an essential part of the Lamborghini recipe, after all. Lift the scissor door and drop into the comically uncomfortable bucket seat and you’ll find that visibility is limited, to say the least. Its girder-like A-pillars have always compromised forward visibility, and thanks to the addition of ALA ducting, rearward visibility is further reduced, too – not so much a letterbox any more as a slit window in a modern art gallery. Look through the side mirrors and you’ll see little more than chiselled flanks. It’s a proper supercar, then.
Everything we love about the Aventador’s naturally aspirated 6.5-litre V12 power plant has only been amplified over the years, too. In its final SVJ and Ultimae forms, it pulls slightly harder in the mid-range, but it’s still all about that race to the red line. Bang through the gears in a dramatic, not-so-refined manner thanks to the single-clutch ISR ’box and the engine noise at 8500rpm is all-consuming; from the outside it’s utterly spectacular.
Brake from high speed and you’ll be made very aware of the heavy V12 behind you, the car teetering on its tiptoes. The enormous ceramic brakes have a softer pedal feel than those of one of McLaren’s track-oriented offerings, but there’s good modulation on offer and no questions over their outright stopping ability.
Turn-in is impressive despite the sheer size, though, with fantastic agility and grip on offer. Go into a corner too hot and a lift of the throttle hands you back an impressive lump of control without the car feeling nervous as the weight shuffles between the axles. It’s certainly a car that demands the utmost of respect at the limit, but there’s always the invisible safety net of the systems to rely on. So deft is its operation that the Ring lap time was recorded with some of its assistance left in place, in fact.
When the Ferrari F12 arrived, it moved the hyper-fast luxury GT market on in a manner few could comprehend. In replacing the F12, Ferrari had a massive job on its hands. But it clearly succeeded, and the 812 in its Superfast, GTS and limited-run Competizione forms is nothing short of spectacular.
With a naturally aspirated V12 that is unhinged and without restraint, the character of the car is hard to match. The engine note is exquisite but angry and provides a sense of theatre that every supercar should possess. Straight-line performance is nothing short of otherworldly, and throttle response from the V12 is beautifully quick. But despite this, the 812 is nowhere near as scary as its ‘Superfast’ moniker would suggest.
A large part of this is down to the immense traction that the 812 generates. With a new four-wheel-steering system aiding handling, the traction is initially hard to understand as the amount it is able to muster leaves you with a sense of disbelief.
The steering is quick, and after a few minutes guiding this big car from bend to bend becomes almost intuitive. However, due to this it can also come to feel disconnected – quite unnerving, and takes some getting used to. In our eyes, the 812 is not quite as good-looking as its predecessor, either.
Despite the marginally negative aspects, we really are splitting hairs. The car is miraculous. We had no idea how the 812 Superfast could be moved on to another level to that of the F12, or if in fact there was another level at all, but Ferrari has managed it and created an all-time great supercar.
The first of McLaren’s series-production plug-in hybrids has now arrived, with the Artura having the weight of not just a new technology on its sharply sculpted shoulders, but the continued success of its maker. Fundamentally, the new Artura retains the ideological centre points of McLaren Automotive, running a carbon tub chassis with four corners of double wishbone suspension, a mid-engined twin-turbo engine and dual-clutch transmission. But the Artura’s brought a few new toys to the playground that should give it the distinction McLaren’s range so badly needs.
First of which is its hybrid powertrain module, giving the Artura an all-electric mode as well as a useful performance boost. It’s paired with a new engine, a Ricardo-built 3-litre V6, that produces a total power figure of 671bhp and 531lb ft of torque. It’ll hit 62mph in 3.0sec and carry on to 205mph. Big numbers for a supercar that carries on from junior Sports Series models.
What’s the result of all this change in the real world? It feels new. The trademark tactility that defines a modern McLaren, such as the hydraulic steering and superb driving position, have been retained, but there’s a new level of sophistication and complexity that buffs off the edges.
No, it doesn’t quite have the inherent sharpness of the 600LT, or the simply outrageous performance of Ferrari’s 296 GTB, but as a jumping-off point for McLaren’s new generation it already reveals there’s been some real progress forward.
In many ways the polar opposite to the McLaren above, the Audi R8 V10 is nearing the end of its successful tenure as Audi’s flagship supercar with its traditional powertrain and ethos well intact. Despite Audi’s associations with electrification, its R8 supercar is refreshingly old-school, sharing its chassis and powertrain with the Lamborghini Huracán, but packaging it up in a more demure and approachable offering.
Without the stunning levels of control the Lamborghini has over the limit, the Audi’s more passive balance and softer chassis set-up makes it a fickle car to drive over the limit, making the extra control and compliance associated with the all-wheel-drive car the better choice in standard form. The swansong GT RWD is the exception, combining the most potent powertrain with a boost in aggression to make it the most engaging iteration yet.
The R8's design, clearly of German origin and with little of the Italian’s flamboyance, has its own appeal – a sort of supercar Q car and one more than happy to spend most of its time on the daily commute, rather than pulling at the leash like an impatient labrador.
Yet when the space and circumstances allow, the R8 finally reveals its true character, with just as much crispness and aggression as the best cars on this list. The 611bhp V10 might lack the suppleness and baritone edge of the original 2007 V8, not to mention its open-gate gearbox, but the R8 continues to do precisely what it was designed to – combine the best bits of sensible Audi and flamboyant Lamborghini into one package.