Each year the Geneva Motor Show is known for its debuts of exotic sports cars from iconic Italian brands to ones you’ve never heard of (and probably never will again). But this year will be one for the record books.
In what is certainly no coincidence, long-time Formula One rivals Ferrari and McLaren debuted what, at least on paper, are nearly identical supercars, each with exotic styling, carbon fiber chassis and significant pedigree. Oh, and let’s not forget 900+ horsepower hybrid engines. Yet how these two cars – the Ferrari LaFerrari (we’re not making this up) and McLaren P1 – get to their respective power numbers is unique to each automaker.
In the case of the Prancing Horse, the Italians chose one of their iconic and very large V12 engines. Displacing 6.3-liters, output from the conventional gasoline engine alone is rated as an incredible 789 hp. Add on a HY-KERS regenerative braking function with an electric boost and the supercar delivers an extra 161 hp for a 950 hp total.
The Brits at McLaren, on the other hand, chose an engine almost half the size. At 3.8-liters this V8 does however make use of two turbochargers and combined with a hybrid electric boost makes 903 hp – just shy of the Ferrari.
Both cars top out at claimed speeds of somewhere north of 218 mph. As for exclusivity, the McLaren wins here with just 375 models headed for production, while Ferrari intends to produce 499.
Amidst all the familiarities, these two high-powered hybrids do also share one other obvious similarity: both have terrible names.
And then there’s Lamborghini. The black sheep of the exotic sports car world, in some respects Lambo doesn’t seem to have the technological engine expertise (at least when it comes to hybrids) of the other two and certainly lacks the racing background. There’s no hybrid here either, just a massive 6.5-liter V12 making 750 hp mounted mid-ship in a car called the Veneno – admittedly not a great name, but at least it is a name.
Competing against the F1-inspired twins, the Veneno relies on the proverbial Ace in Lamborghini’s sleeve: design – in the most extreme sense of the word. Looking like something from another planet (Cybertron perhaps?), its looks is certainly polarizing. If you hate it, that’s fine by Lamborghini as they’re not exactly trying to sell a ton of these things with just three being made. And if you love it, you better be rich (disgustingly rich), because for the $4 million asking price you could buy both the Ferrari and the McLaren, and a million dollar home too.