For the past week I have had the unique pleasure of reviewing the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4. It packs 700 horsepower, it costs almost a million dollars, and it scared the bejeezus out of me in the best possible way. But even if I had the money, I wouldn’t buy one. Nobody should.
It’s always the way: when you ask a rev-head the first thing they’d buy with $100 million, the answer is something fast and exotic.
“I’d have a Lamborghini!” “Gotta have me a LaFerrari!” “You couldn’t keep me away from a McLaren!” And so on, with various luxury supercars that cost entirely too much money.
But that’s bullshit.
Everyone covets the vehicular playthings of multi-millionaires, but I think if you ever took one out for a test drive, you’d hate it, probably for the same reasons I did.
The Aventador, for example, drinks fuel like an 18-year old drinks booze on a Friday night, it’s prohibitively low, takes a hell of a lot of concentration to drive and only really feels at home on a freeway.
That’s why, if I had $100 million the first car I’d buy would be the same car I’d buy if I had $100,000: a small, two-door hatchback from Fiat called the Abarth 500.
I’ve talked about my love of the Abarth 500 before when we go on one of our hypothetical spending sprees.
For those out of the loop, Abarth is Fiat’s in-house tuning company that takes cute cars like the 500 and makes them fit for lunatics like me. People who want to stick a tiny, front-wheel drive car into a bend at more speed than is probably sensible so you can come out of it with a smile on your face from ear to ear, and a little bit of wee in your seat.
It doesn’t matter that the new Lamborghini-owner would smoke me from a set of lights, my smile would still be bigger than his or hers in the long run.
My insurance costs less, my fuel consumption is lower, I can park anywhere in the city with ease, my car isn’t as wide as a bus and the excess isn’t $10,000 every time someone opens a door on you. Plus, you can go over almost any bump you like thanks to a more realistic ride-height.
The Lamborghini-owner would turn around and boast that his or her car can get up to 100km/h in less than three seconds with their $880,000 weapon, but that’s ok, because in the next split second you’ll be up to the speed limit of 120km/h and have nothing to do with the rest of that strength.
The Abarth is zippy, gutsy and other underdog-like words. You have more fun getting up to the speed limit in the Abarth because it’s smaller and feels fast for what it is. You get more bang for buck with a cheap, fast car than you do with an expensive fast car.
The same goes for other hot hatchbacks, too.
The Ford Fiesta ST or Focus ST; the Renault Clio RS; the Volkswagen Golf or Polo GTi: all cars that you’d have more fun in than an Aventador.
And even if you don’t want a hot hatch, you can still have a practical fast car that won’t cost you the Earth in something like the Nissan GT-R: a four-seat sedan car that practically defies the laws of physics while still costing under $200,000. You could even opt for something a little greener to indulge your cost-effective need for speed with the Tesla Model S P85D, which has the torque to take the Lamborghini off the line at less than a quarter of the price.
The bottom line? Nobody needs a supercar. It’s not about how fast you can go, it’s about how much fun you have while you’re doing it.