I have a thing about exotic, ultra-fast "supercars." I hate them. I think they represent wrong values. They're useless as transportation, and exist only to flatter a certain type of inflated ego.
Supercars are an insult to the environment in an age of climate change and growing oil scarcity. In fact, oil sheikhs buy these grandiose guzzlers by the truckload, and with good reason. A saving grace is that the Mr. Bigs who own them (there are few Ms. Bigs) rarely drive them. On the other hand, even when they're not moving they suck up fossil fuel in heated garages.
Car magazines swoon over these things. Here's a sample:
Car and Driver: "The engine in the [Ferrari] F430 is a wondrous device, a snarling 4.3-liter V-8 that makes 483 horsepower. The Scuderia gets an additional 20 horsepower and an engine sound that's so loud and enticing it causes occupants to giggle in delight."
Road and Track: "Even though the mid-engine [Audi] R8 offers stunning styling and ample power from its 420-bhp 4.2-liter V-8, enthusiasts have clamored for more. Audi's response is [the] R8 'concept' boasting a turbocharged 6.0-liter V-12 diesel engine with 500 bhp and an eye-popping 738 lb.-ft. of torque."
Motor Trend: "The [Bentley] Brooklands is a coupe of titanic proportions: a 213-inch two-door that's almost as long as a Lincoln Town Car, and, at 5,853 pounds, weighs about as much as a Chevy Suburban. It has an engine that could power the Titanic, too. The ageless 6.75-liter V-8 under the hood (its basic architecture dates back almost half a century) develops 530 horsepower and an axle-twisting 774 lb-ft of torque at 3250 rpm. It's the most powerful V-8 ever from Crewe..."
It's unlikely the readers of these magazines will ever own cars like these, but they're buying dreams off the newsstand. It's a good thing that these vehicles are expensive rich men's toys, because in any numbers they'd be disasters for the environment.
Think I'm kidding? The Lamborghini Murcielago, with its 6.5-liter V-12, gets a breathless nine miles per gallon around town and sits in the corner with far worse emissions than a Lincoln Navigator. The Bentley Azure is relatively better with 11 mpg, the same as the much-loved Ferrari F430, which according to the federal ratings page is near the bottom in terms of its annual greenhouse gas emissions.
By comparison to these kings of the road, the Hummer H3 looks relatively benign (14/16 mpg fuel economy and a mere 11.4 tons of climate contribution annually).
The very useful website operated by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) gives ratings for the "Meanest Vehicles for the Environment." Take a look. It's not just SUVs that menace the planet.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.