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The gap between supercars and the rest of the motoring world is closing fast

Once upon a time to go fast in a car, like really fast, you needed to be well heeled enough to be able to afford something exotic, like a supercar – a Maserati Gran Turismo, Lamborghini Miura, a Bugatti Gorgonzola, or a Fettucine Gofasterosa, perhaps. OK, so I might have made those last ones up, but you get the idea – stupendously fast cars were once the sole preserve of the stupendously wealthy.

Today all that has changed thanks to technology that’s giving the sports versions of regular cars enormous power, blistering acceleration, and excellent handling. And it’s doing all that at a fraction of the price of all that motoring exotica.

Blindingly fast bikes

Now, to some extent that’s always been the case. Petrol heads with a craving for sheer acceleration and truly terrifying top speed could always throw their leg over a super bike and twist the throttle. A Suzuki Hayabusa, for example, will beat virtually anything on four wheels in a straight line, and it will do that for less than $20,000. Suzuki Hayabusas are crazy fast with a top speed that’s electronically limited to 300km/h, and a 0-100km/h time under 2.5 seconds.

But today, hot hatches like the Volkswagen Golf R and the Honda Civic Type R, will go from 0-100km/h in less than 6 seconds while squeezing over 200kW of power from relatively small, turbocharged engines. The Toyota GR Yaris is even more extreme, with its turbocharged 1.6 litre three cylinder putting out an astonishing 224kW and 400Nm of torque. That’s transformed an accomplished little city run-about into a fireball on wheels.

More than just fast

All these cars offer more than just straight-line speed. They have superb handling as well, thanks to the integration of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), adaptive suspension, and performance-oriented all-wheel-drive systems that have significantly enhanced their handling and safety. The gap in straight-line speed, cornering ability, and braking between supercars and high-performance versions of regular cars is narrower than ever before.

You can buy any of these cars for under $80,000. Now that’s not exactly cheap, of course, but here’s the thing - they offer similar performance (and far more practicality) to exotic supercars costing anything up to ten times that price. The Ferrari Purosangue, for example, starts from $728,000 (and you don’t even get in-dash navigation for all that cash!).

Unbeatable EV performance

But if you really want bang-for-your-buck performance, then you can’t go past electric vehicles with their instant torque. They’re starting to make even turbocharged hot hatches look gutless and underdone. Take the MG4 X Power, for instance. For $59,990 plus on-road-costs this little four-wheel drive rocket’s 320kW and 600Nm of grunt will get you from 0-100km/h in just 3.8 seconds. That’s faster than a $280,000 Porsche 911 carrera, and a mere fraction of a second slower than a Lamborghini Urus that will set you back $465,876, or thereabouts.

For all that straight-line speed, however, the MG4 X Power is reportedly underwhelming when it comes to the twisty bits. The handling just doesn’t match that mind-bending acceleration.

But that’s not the case with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, which will accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 3.4 seconds, thanks to its 448kW of power and 740Nm of torque. It’s loaded with advanced electronics, and has superb brakes, adaptive suspension, and great handling, making it a hoot to drive, while remaining a totally practical everyday vehicle.

Many years ago Hyundais were a cheap and cheerful choice for the budget-conscious motorist. Today we have a $111,000 Hyundai hatchback that accelerates faster than a Maserati Gran Turismo, a Porsche 911 Carrera, or an Aston Martin Vantage, with handling to match. It’s a strange, strange world that we live in.

Written by
Mark Schneider

Mark is a successful copywriter with over 20 years of professional writing experience.

We welcome him as a guest blogger to Fleettorque.

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