Prior Convictions: Sensible supercars


Met a bloke the other day who owns an Aston Martin DB9, among some other cars. Very nice too, as you'll know. "Do you use it much?" I asked.

"Yeah, fair bit," he said, "unless my daughters aren't using their Minis, then I'll usually drive one of those instead."

Not a PH story without mentioning this, is it?
Not a PH story without mentioning this, is it?
Which sounded like a familiar story, and one which I could understand entirely. The appeal of a luxury grand tourer or a supercar, or even a big luxury car, is obvious.

But so too is the appeal of something small, nimble; in which you'll get let out of junctions, you can fit in parking spaces, pop over speed bumps without cracking £1,700 of carbon fibre, and make discreet brisk progress without being called a **** every 12 minutes.

Given unlimited resource I'd love to think that I'd commute every day in a McLaren F1, but the truth of it is that after about a week I suspect I'd slide into a Volkswagen Golf R instead, because it would make parking outside the Co-Op easier.

And I don't think I'm alone. The Volkswagen Golf R is probably today's commonest third/fourth/eighth car. I know of a surprising number of people who'll walk past their own £300,000 cars to get into a £30,000 Volkswagen. But I understand why entirely.

If even Lamborghini are at SUVs then where next?
If even Lamborghini are at SUVs then where next?
What if, though, the motor industry woke up to it too, and offered something as practical, with the finish and price that they demand for their most expensive models?

It could be that they just haven't thought about this yet. They're only now waking up to the fact that extremely wealthy people would rather be seen - or, rather, not be seen - in an SUV that costs a six-figure sum than they would a conspicuous sports car, after all. How far down the automotive food chain could a similar theory hold?

People will pay £100,000 for a modified Land Rover Defender. David Brown asks around the same for a 'remastered' Mini, and because you and I can see the effort, craftsmanship and detail that has gone into it, some of us will pay it.

But these are, ultimately, playthings. Is there room, then, for a more bespoke, tailored, quite quick but still ultimately incredibly usable and reliable modern small car? One which, yes, demands quite a lot of money, I wonder?

And then I remember the Aston Martin Cygnet and think, nah, probably not.

 

Comments (81) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Onehp 22 Sep 2017

    Cars are like shoes. For guys. (and girls if you also like cars like that)

    Some have one set that does most of the duties.

    Some have many, and just choose whatever suits them. Be it cheap, casual, luxurious, sporty etc.

    Some always want to look their best, and only buy the nice ones.

    We are talking about the last category then? I know plenty of rich people that are all too happy to escape attention and just wear a pair of normal shoes, and that drive a Golf or a basic Merc, whatever, most of the time...

  • Vee12V 22 Sep 2017

    The problem of the Cygnet wasn't the idea, it was the execution. The fact it was slower than the original, as it was heavier with identical oily bits, says enough.

  • jhonn 22 Sep 2017

    Good article! Yes, absolutely - I would be interested in a luxurious small car that had similar NVH and ride quality as a larger premium motor - I don't find the Aston Cygnet offensive at all and would consider one if they were more affordable.

    It's a difficult target for a manufacturer to achieve though - short wheelbase doesn't make for a good ride and it's difficult to decrease NVH without adding lots more mass.

    Not sure how many would sell though - people still equate luxury with size.

  • Jack_and_MLE 22 Sep 2017

    With unlimited funds, what I would like is an old Citroen DS (1950) and have it modernised.
    New engine, etc and use it as an everyday car.

    Or do the same with an old jag V12, it would be a perfect sleeper

    Jack

  • aaron_2000 22 Sep 2017

    Closest you'll get to that for a while will be a Fiesta Vignale if they make one

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