By all accounts, the very idea of a supercar is something that has only existed for a few decades. In fact, the category is still pretty poorly defined — relying primarily on some kind of intangible, unspoken agreement between car manufacturers and the greater automotive world. Needless to say, not everyone agrees with the definition of a supercar. With that in mind, we’re defining the category as follows: motor vehicles built with a unique combination of high-end luxury, top-tier performance, elite engineering, and a high price tag. Obviously, there’s still some wiggle room, but this definition has served us well.
What has never been a requirement of supercars, however, is the number of wheels to which power is sent. Most typically, supercars are two-wheel-drive. There’s not really a particular reason for this; it’s just how the category has shaken down up to this point. There is a small cross-section of supercars that feature all-wheel-drive — drivetrains which send power to all four of the vehicles’ wheels. As such, we’ve rounded up the cream of the crop on our list of the 12 best AWD supercars you can buy right now.
Tesla Model S Performance
Elon Musk and his crew at Tesla have done a pretty amazing job of shaking up the automotive industry with their all-electric offerings. And one of their greatest creations is the Model S Performance. Formerly called the P100D, this version of the Model S boasts some impressive specs. That includes a functional range of up to 335 miles per charge, 30 cubic feet of internal storage (the best in its class), and a blistering 0-60 time of 2.4 seconds. That last bit is courtesy of Tesla’s groundbreaking all-wheel-drive electric induction motor system — which is also responsible for the car’s electronically-limited 155 mph top speed. The Model S doesn’t necessarily have the price tag you might associate with a supercar, but the rest of the figures don’t lie.
Engine: Dual Electric Motors
Like the Tesla Model S, the Nissan GT-R comes a lot cheaper than most other supercars — but that’s the only place where it doesn’t measure up. In fact, the standard edition gets an impressive 565 horsepower and 476 ft-lb of torque that, when paired with its AWD system, means it can do 0-60 in as little as 2.5 seconds. And the top-end Nismo edition trim pumps out even more — clocking in at 600 ponies and 481 ft-lb of torque, respectively. And that’s just under the hood. Inside the cabin, you’ll also find all the creature comforts you’d expect out of a high-end performance ride and more. That includes a touchscreen control center, A/C, plush upholstery options, and a good deal more. The bourgeois might scoff at the relatively low-cost GT-R, but car fanatics know far better.
Engine: 3.8L V6
Jaguar F-Type SVR
Jaguar’s in-house tuners at their Special Vehicle Operations sub-brand know a thing or two about taking an excellent vehicle and upping the ante to the nth degree. And that’s exactly what they’ve done with the F-Type sports coupe — launching it well into the supercar category courtesy of a 575-horsepower 5.0L V8 engine that’s good for a top speed of a whopping 200 mph. Of course, that’s just one of the many points that make this little speedster so impressive. It also features a weight-saving titanium exhaust system, premium quilted leather upholstery and accents, a reconfigured aerodynamic body for the best in performance, and intelligent drive system dynamics to help drivers handle the corners as smoothly as the straights. The list of things that make this British beauty so wonderful just keeps going on and on and on.
Engine: 5.0L V8
Probably the quintessential all-wheel-drive supercar, the Audi R8 is a living legend. And that’s because of two huge stand-out factors: the impressive and powerful 5.2L V10 engine underneath the hood and the game-changing Audi Quattro AWD system (a fabled innovation of the Group B rally days). While still within the range of reasonable affordability for folks in the market for a supercar, this beastly mid-engine marvel is good for an impressive 532 horsepower and 398 foot-pounds of torque. That also means it can do 0-60 in just over three seconds — blistering by any measure. The R8’s other features (amongst a very long list) include a fixed sport-tuned suspension, a 12.3″ LCD fully-digital instrument cluster, and the option for things like voice control. Which is perfect for telling your car to turn down the stereo volume so that you can listen to the big engine behind you as it purrs.
Engine: 5.2L V10
It doesn’t seem that long ago when BMW’s i8 plug-in hybrid was on the cutting edge of technology. And while its powertrain is a bit more commonplace nowadays, the vehicle itself is still plenty impressive enough to turn some heads. Part of that is because of its still-unique looks — which wouldn’t seem out of place in a science fiction flick. But it’s also because it can do 0-60 in 4.2 seconds, has a horsepower rating of 369 (courtesy of its 1.5L gas engine in conjunction with an AC Synchronous Electric Motor), and it’s compatible with a whopping 44,000+ public charging stations around the world. Its combination of luxury, impressive performance, styling, and rarity make this one of the most enticing supercars on the road. The tech-forward interior and touches of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (a material lighter but just as strong as steel) certainly don’t hurt either.
Engine: 1.5L 3-Cylinder & Electric Motor
It’s not unusual to see car manufacturers, especially amongst high-end luxury brands, treat their vehicles more like pieces of art than a mashing-together of technological bits. But the folks at Acura have taken that into the stratosphere with their NSX. Originally built and sold from 1990-2005, Honda’s luxury sub-brand supercar redux — according to the brand — is the first to be powered by a bespoke Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive 573-horsepower power unit. What that means to the driver is that, while the horsepower is still derived from the gas unit, the torque comes from a direct electric drive unit, granting the NSX unheard-of dynamism in acceleration and handling. Take that nimble performance, mate it to everything else that makes this car an amazing work of science and inspiration, and you’ve got one of our favorite four-wheelers on the road today.
Engine: 3.5L V6 & Direct Drive Electric Motor
Porsche 911 Turbo
There are some who might suggest that the Porsche 911 Turbo — and all its trims — don’t quite squeak into the realm of supercars. We think, however, that a closer look might elicit a different opinion. After all, it’s capable of producing up to 540 horsepower courtesy of its legendary boxer engine under the hood — which (when total weight is taken into account) gives it a 0-60 time as low as 2.9 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package. It’s also loaded with other tech-forward components and systems, like Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus, an electronic locking rear differential, onboard navigation, an electronic active dampening system, stability control, a beautifully-appointed luxury interior, a BOSE or Burmester surround sound system, connected features, and so much more. If you know someone who thinks that the Porsche 911 Turbo doesn’t qualify as a supercar, have them look a bit harder.
Engine: 3.8L 6-Cylinder Boxer
Bentley Continental GT
When most folks think about Bentley, it’s extreme opulence that comes to mind and little else. And while their vehicles are undoubtedly some of the most luxurious to ever hit the pavement, some of them also come with blistering performance figures that make them a whole lot more than just a chauffeur-driven transport. The Continental GT is the perfect example of this. With its top-end W12 engine option, this car gets a beastly 700-horsepower. In case you’re not keeping score, that’s the second-highest on this list thus far (second only to the Tesla Model S). It’s also good for 750 ft-lb of torque, meaning she can blitz off the line quick enough to do 0-60 in as little as 3.2 seconds (for the Supersports trim). And all of that bewildering performance is underpinned by the supreme luxury and technology found inside the cabin. This Bentley doesn’t need to go fast to be impressive, but it most definitely can.
Engine: 4.0L V8 Or 6.0L V12
Shooting brakes — also known as station or sport wagons — get a bad rap, especially here in the United States. There’s something about these long-cabin cars that Americans seem to find offensive, despite our love of similarly-styled fastbacks. But if there’s any car that can change that unfortunate opinion, it’s Ferrari’s GTC4Lusso. Brilliant, beautiful, and blisteringly-quick, this shooting brake is nothing shy of magnificent inside and out. At least a part of that has to be credited to its 6.3L V12 engine — good for 680 horsepower and 514 ft-lb of torque. But it’s got a lot more going for it than just that — from a massive moon roof, to its quartet of seats inside its unquestionably luxurious cabin, to its singular silhouette. For Ferrari, and really the greater automotive world, the GTC4Lusso is an outlier in its overall uniqueness. But it’s one we’d like to see a lot more of and, perhaps, is a solid argument for why more manufacturers should be building shooting brakes.
Engine: 6.3L V12
Lamborghini Huracán Performante
Regarding the current range of supercars on the road today, none is perhaps as easily recognizable and iconic as the Lamborghini Huracan. And while the base model vehicle is certainly special in its own way, the Performante trim is just better across the board. It’s faster, meaner, better-looking (however slight that difference may be), and really deserves every bit of recognition it’s gotten. It also happens to have AWD that helps give it better traction and a quicker jump off the line — if you’re the type to want to take it racing. And we’d be surprised to find out anyone behind the wheel of this exceptional 630-horsepower supercar wasn’t. Alongside its powertrain, it also features a perfectly balanced double wishbone suspension, optional magnetorheological shock absorbers, a smart aerodynamics system that helps adjust performance based on driving style and route, and a lightened exhaust system amongst a slew of other impressive bits.
Engine: 5.2L V10
Limited to just 400 cars total, the Aria FXE might just be the rarest AWD supercar on our list, if not also the most unique. This is due in part to the fact that literally each and every one of them is bespoke to the individual customer’s requests. It’s also because this American-made street rocket boasts styling that was borrowed from another distinctly American vehicle: the F22 Raptor fighter jet. But most of all, it’s because each one comes with a hybrid powertrain — a 6.2L V8 and dual axle-mounted electric motors — that give it AWD and monstrous performance figures to the tune of 1,150 horsepower and 1,316 foot-pounds of torque. In case you’re wondering, yes — that does put the Aria FXE in the realm of hypercars. And while its interior is probably not as well-appointed as some other on this list, it still gets plenty of technology to make up for it. That includes a heads-up display laser-projected onto the windshield from the steering unit, onboard navigation, laser-etched A/C vents and switches, and pressure-padded titanium bucket-style seats.
Engine: 6.2L V8 & Dual Electric Motors
The follow-up to the highly-beloved and insanely-priced Veyron, the Bugatti Chiron was considered a bit of a disappointment to billionaires around the world. To us normal folks, however, it’s still the pinnacle hypercar on the road today. And it’s still the brand’s fastest, most powerful, and most exclusive ride. Beneath its hood, the beating heart that powers this speed demon is a monolithic quad-turbocharged 8.0-liter W16 engine that pushes it from 0-60 in 2.5 seconds — which is insane when you consider that it weighs a whopping 4,400 pounds (give or take). Still, as monstrous as 1,180 horsepower and 1,479 ft-lb of torque are, they’re not enough alone to rank the Chiron amongst the best. Though that’s hardly a problem, as it also comes with perhaps the most beautifully-appointed interiors ever conceived — specially designed to give the driver every piece of information necessary at a glance without having to look away from the road. Its center console is also milled from a single piece of solid aluminum, it comes with the option for the brand’s Skyview moon roofs, the whole body is built from sturdy and lightweight carbon fiber, and — yes — it features an automated tail fin that adjusts to provide the necessary downforce at high speeds.
Engine: 8.0L W16
What's The Difference: Hypercar vs. Supercar
The automotive industry is bursting with confusing and often times convoluted lingo, but few terms are more contentious than hypercar and supercar. We’ll shed some light on the issue with our helpful guide on the difference between hypercars and supercars.
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