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What makes a supercar a supercar?

Everybody wants to own a supercar – but what does a car need to fit the criteria? Supercar vlogger and social media sensation Shmee examines the attributes that makes supercars 'super'

The word 'supercar' means so many different things to different people. How can you work out what's a sportscar, a supercar, a hypercar, a megacar?

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The first category is definitely performance. The benchmark to define a supercar is constantly changing; what is a quick car now was not necessarily possible not that long ago. Equally, cars such as hot hatches, like my Ford Focus RS, with 375 horse power, is capable of 0-62 in a little over 4 seconds, which 10-20 years ago would have been well and truly in supercar territory. Family estate cars can reach 200mph – 'supercar speeds', supposedly.

Then you have the look: I think a supercar has to look seriously dramatic. Form has to follow function: it has to be aerodynamic, it has to be aggressive, it has to be very distinctly styled. It almost needs a bit of impracticality – if a car is too everyday, which is where supercars are going, then it's less exciting. There's less drama that comes from driving it, because you use it more often and it becomes more familiar.

Then there's price. A supercar should inherently be expensive: it should be something you aspire to, something that inspires you when you look at it and aspires you to work hard to achieve it. Naturally, that comes with a hefty price tag. It also means there are fewer of them; not everyone in the world has one. Which leads to...

Exclusivity. A supercar has to be something that isn't build in huge numbers – you don't see it on every street corner. Obviously this depends on where you are: you'll see way more supercars on the streets of Knightsbridge than you'll see in the Scottish Highlands.

Let's take a look at a few examples at what might and mightn't be a supercar.

Any McLaren counts as a supercar. Even the McLaren 540c, the entry level 'baby supercar', is a supercar. The acceleration figures are still in the threes, top speed is around 200mph, they're very exclusive, it looks crazy – it's a supercar.

What we think of now as a supercar will probably be completely different in the future

Where it gets interesting are cars like first-gen Audi R8s. You see them everywhere, Audi made loads of them! Yes, it's quick, but plenty of cars are faster – the game's moved on. It's a massively varying world, and you have to adapt the definition as time goes by.

Nissan GTR: no question the performance is incredible. It is so fast, hence why I always call it the 'supercar killer'. People love it, and it's relatively affordable for the performance you get – but I don't consider it a supercar because it still looks like a bigger car, it doesn't have the drama I'd like out of a supercar, it doesn't have the exclusivity and it doesn't have the price tag.

The Ferrari FF is an interesting one. It's a Ferrari with a V12 so it should be a supercar, but then it's pretty practical with the four seats and the luggage space so I don't know if it counts.

Rolls Royces, Bentleys – loads of luxuriousness, and could well fit into a supercar event, but they're not dramatically quick. Ditto with Aston Martin... Where does the Aston Martin GT8 fit? The price tag is over £200,000; the looks, the drama, the sound, the rarity is all there, but it's not very fast. Mid-fours to 62, and the top speed is in the 180s. That's not supercar performance. It's such a difficult scale: for some people, the GT8 is an instant supercar, for others it's a sports car because it's not quick enough.

It's an interesting question because there is no answer to it. What we think of now as a supercar will probably be completely different in the future. To me, it's more about exclusivity and almost emotion: how exciting it is, the smiles it puts on people's faces, the rarity value and how special it is as a whole package. A supercar has to be the whole package. It should have performance, rarity, exclusivity, a bit of impracticality, and each individual comes together to make something really special. Above all, a supercar needs to be special.

Follow Shmee on Youtube: youtube.com

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