If there were any doubt that supercars would survive in the face of tightening efficiency regulations and increasingly ecoconscious buyers—yes, at least some of the superrich give a damn—these cars should put it to rest. The five poster-worthy machines detailed here go above and beyond the usual supercar tropes of ludicrous speed and lust-worthy sheetmetal, featuring intensely high-tech powertrains, state-of-the-art materials and construction, or both. Not only are these technological advancements going to keep the supercar species alive, but many of the innovations will eventually trickle down to the cars we regular folks buy, too.
Lamborghini Sesto Elemento Concept
Rumors pegged Lambo’s Paris show car as its replacement for the lascivious Murciélago, but the radical Sesto Elemento—Italian for “sixth element,” i.e., carbon—showed up instead. Even more dramatic than the concept’s styling, though, is how far Lamborghini was able to push its use of carbon fiber. Using techniques learned through a University of Washington–based partnership, the superlight stuff forms not only every exterior panel but also major structural components like the front subframe, the passenger monocoque, and even the crumple zones. Nearly everything that wasn’t needed was deleted. There is no dash pad, and the seats are simply padding glued to seat shapes molded into the passenger cell. The weight savings are breathtaking. The concept is claimed to weigh 2200 pounds—some 1000 pounds lighter than the Gallardo—and its lessons will be applied not only to future Lambos but also throughout Lamborghini’s parent company, the Volkswagen Group.
Audi E-Tron Spyder Concept
Jaguar C-X75 Concept
2014 Lotus Esprit
2012 Porsche 918 Spyder