The New Supercars

Courtesy Pagani

The brands may be unfamiliar—but you’ll get to know them very, very fast.

Start thinking about supercars, and iconic brands like Bugatti, Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini spring quickly to mind. Thanks to a number of new names in the field, though, today’s supercar lineup is getting as crowded as the starting grid of a Formula One race.

While unfamiliar to many American drivers, many of these new manufacturers boast substantial pedigrees in auto racing or behind-the-scenes car design. Among the most storied names is McLaren, a British company with a long history of Formula One racing. Like many of its fabled cars, which have been fixtures on the international-racing circuit (the 1970s’ M23, the 1980s’ MP4/4 and MP4/5), McLaren’s newly released MP4-12C is a showstopper, with a flashy gull-wing design and a 3.8-liter, mid-mounted-twin-turbo V8 engine that tops out at 205 mph.

Other new supercars, however, are equally bold. The Italian-made Covini C3A, for example, has superior handling that it attributes to a six-wheel design. The Bertone Nuccio, a low-slung concept car, has glowing bars instead of headlights and taillights, and a TV screen mounted where a rear windshield would be. And the Tuatara, the latest offering from American brand SSC (formerly known as Shelby Supercars), has a near-rocket-powered engine that goes from zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds.

What’s especially unusual about some of these models, though, is their relative user-friendliness. The McLaren MP4-12C, for all its high-performance features, doesn’t require the skills of a Formula One racer to drive. Those snazzy gull-wing doors make the interior feel roomy, and even fold upwards to minimize the potential for unwanted contact with garage roofs. It gets great gas mileage too (15 mpg in the city/22 on the highway). All of this is reassuring, because, although the chances for actually getting to drive one of these new supercars is slim (most are only being made in very limited editions), at least you can still dream about it.

Here’s our lineup of dream-worthy, new supercars.