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Old 8th May 2019, 16:45   #1
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Default Are modern supercars ugly?

Simple question = why are modern supercars so ugly? While about half of them are undeniably good looking, the other half look like science projects or spaceships with wheels. Why? To supercars, the styling is as important as their performance. Hence, this thread to talk about a problem. Of course, I understand that looks are subjective and many of you might like how these futuristic cars look, but there are surely an equal number of BHPians put off by them.

Putting across just some samples below.

McLaren Senna: While I'm a fan of the person the car is named after, I think the design is grossly overdone! GTO thinks it looks like a DC-design car
Are modern supercars ugly?-senna0.jpg

Are modern supercars ugly?-senna1.jpg

Are modern supercars ugly?-senna2.jpg

LaFerrari: A while back, I would say that you can't ever go wrong with any Ferrari finished in the red colour. But the LaFerrari has way too many cuts and creases - the large chunks of missing side panels - especially around the engine intakes. 50 years down the line, will this be a classic with a timeless design? I don't think so.
Are modern supercars ugly?-laferrari0.jpg

Are modern supercars ugly?-laferrari1.jpg

Are modern supercars ugly?-laferrari2.jpg

Gumpert Apollo: The German-made Apollo held the Top Gear test track record for 2 years, but it surely doesn't win any styling awards:
Are modern supercars ugly?-gumpertapollo0.jpg

Are modern supercars ugly?-gumpertapollo1.jpg

Are modern supercars ugly?-gumpertapollo2.jpg
Image source: Top Gear

Bugatti Chiron: Powered by an 8.0L quad-turbo W16 engine rated at 1,479 BHP, the Chiron has a 0-400 km/h time of just 32.6 seconds. The looks though, GARISH. It looks horrible to my eyes:
Are modern supercars ugly?-chiron0.jpg

Are modern supercars ugly?-chiron1.jpg

Are modern supercars ugly?-chiron2.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 8th May 2019 at 16:47.
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Old 8th May 2019, 16:45   #2
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To prove my point, I'm listing some timeless beauties which look gorgeous, despite it being decades since they were designed. Now, THIS is how Supercars ought to be styled!

Ferrari F355 Berlinetta: The first road car to introduce F1 derived paddle shifters. Trivia - Ferrari introduced paddle shifters in the 1989 Brazilian GP and went on to win it.
Are modern supercars ugly?-3550.jpg

Are modern supercars ugly?-3551.jpg

Are modern supercars ugly?-3552.jpg

Ferrari Testarossa: This car pays homage to the 1957 250 Testa Rossa which won multiple World Sports Car Championships. Testa Rossa means red head = the red cam covers on the 12-cylinder engine.
Are modern supercars ugly?-testarossa0.png

Are modern supercars ugly?-testarossa1.png

Are modern supercars ugly?-testarossa2.png

Lamborghini Diablo: We could even include the Countach as a timeless beauty.

Diablo was the first production Lamborghini capable of speeds greater than 320 km/h. Jeremy Clarkson once said that the Diablo was designed solely to be the biggest head-turner in the world.
Are modern supercars ugly?-diablo0.jpg

Are modern supercars ugly?-diablo1.jpg

Are modern supercars ugly?-diablo2.jpg

Lamborghini Miura: This was the first supercar with a mid-engine + 2 seats. Most of the modern supercars follow this layout.
Are modern supercars ugly?-miura0.png

Are modern supercars ugly?-miura1.png

Are modern supercars ugly?-muira2.png

Ford GT40: Designed to beat Ferraris of the era, the GT40 won the Le Mans 6 times in a row from 1960-1965.
Are modern supercars ugly?-gt400.jpg

Are modern supercars ugly?-gt401.jpg

Are modern supercars ugly?-gt402.jpg
Source: Hemmings

Jaguar XJ220: The XJ220 held the record of being the fastest production car when it clocked 341.7 km/h at the Nardo test track in Italy. 25+ years up, she is still drop-dead gorgeous:
Are modern supercars ugly?-xj2200.png

Are modern supercars ugly?-xj2201.png

Are modern supercars ugly?-xj2202.png

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1: In March 1990, the ZR1 set a new record for the highest 24 hour-5000 mile landspeed record at an average speed in excess of 282 km/h.
Are modern supercars ugly?-zr10.jpg

Are modern supercars ugly?-zr11.jpg

Are modern supercars ugly?-zr12.jpg

Ferrari F40: The F40 looks fast even when standing still! Former F1 driver Gerhard Berger revealed that the wheelspin in the F40 caught him unawares...at 193 km/h in the fourth gear!!!
Are modern supercars ugly?-1200pxf40_ferrari_20090509.jpg

Are modern supercars ugly?-1200pxferrari_f40_7330342010.jpg

Are modern supercars ugly?-1200pxferrari_f40_lm__museo_ferrari_17951923010.jpg

Ferrari 288 GTO: Only 272 copies were ever made - all in the signature red colour, except for a lone black car. The 288 GTO was actually built for the homologation requirements of the Group B Circuit Race series. However, the series never took off and the cars never raced.
Are modern supercars ugly?-288gto0.png

Are modern supercars ugly?-288gto1.png

Are modern supercars ugly?-288gto2.png

Last edited by Aditya : 8th May 2019 at 17:15.
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Old 8th May 2019, 16:59   #3
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Default re: Are modern supercars ugly?

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Supercars Section. Thanks for sharing, Kanad!

I so agree. Recently saw the McLaren Senna at the Parx show and I was like . Sure, it has presence and is glamorous, but it sure as hell looked UGLY...like something that came out of the DC-design studio.

To my conservative eyes, the Porsche 911 looks stunning:
Are modern supercars ugly?-1.jpg
Source

Aston Martin DBS. Actually, any Aston Martin is handsome:
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Among the Ferraris, it's just the 488 Pista that I like:
Are modern supercars ugly?-3.jpg
Source

But most new supercars just don't appeal to me the way that an F355 or F430 did.

Last edited by GTO : 8th May 2019 at 17:01.
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Old 8th May 2019, 17:05   #4
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Default re: Are modern supercars ugly?

Oh, I may be in the minority but the cars in the first post generally look better to me vis-a-vis the cars in the second post.
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Old 8th May 2019, 17:12   #5
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Default re: Are modern supercars ugly?

Probably the cuts and creases are for better airflow as modern super cars are way too fast than their older counterparts?

Last edited by GTO : 9th May 2019 at 09:22. Reason: typo
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Old 8th May 2019, 17:30   #6
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Default Re: Are modern supercars ugly?

Is it to do with human vs machine-assisted design ? Machine assisted as in trying to get the designs more to be more aero-dynamic to reduce drag ?

In Another factor could be the desire to add design elements to the existing designs ?

Last edited by condor : 8th May 2019 at 17:32.
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Old 8th May 2019, 17:34   #7
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Default Re: Are modern supercars ugly?

Simple answer : wind tunnels.
The speeds that supercars of bygone eras did, sportscars do today. For the ultimate elite clique of cars to be called 'supercars' they should do insane speeds by today's standards. For that, aerodynamics is the only answer. Hence, unlike older times when the car designer was predominantly an artist, who had to incorporate engineering considerations into his design ; today's car designer is predominantly an engineer, and has to box in how much of 'artiness' he can incorporate into limits imposed by aerodynamics.
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Old 8th May 2019, 17:49   #8
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Default Re: Are modern supercars ugly?

Nothing like the old lot when it comes to purity of design. The 911 is my all time favorite but I also have a special spot for the ones listed below.

Still looks stunning to me.
Are modern supercars ugly?-1995porsche928gts.jpg

The sexy Magnum PI car on which 288 GTO is based
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Beautiful use off flat surfaces in an era where curves were the norm for supercars
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Old 8th May 2019, 17:49   #9
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Default Re: Are modern supercars ugly?

I could not locate any bad looking car in the opening post.

However, after looking at the cars in the second post, I could realise what Blackwasp intended to say. Got to say, I agree with what he is saying.

However, upon thinking further, I would like to make a few points-

1. The new cars in the 1st post, definitely have a more eyeball attracting design, when compared to the timeless design of the cars in the second post.

2. I can imagine that people in the 80s and 90s must have felt the same way when they saw the newly launched Ferraris and Lamborginis when compared to the cars from the 50s and the 60s. However, when we look back now, the cars from both these times have become classics and iconic in their own right. I don't see any reason why 30 years from now, the cars in the 1st post will not become classics with even more 'modern' cars being launched.
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Old 8th May 2019, 17:56   #10
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Default Re: Are modern supercars ugly?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I do agree that aerodynamics has played a major role in the design. Some cars like the Senna, and even the Apollo IE are stunning, but not beautiful.

It also comes down to how the owners spec the car. For example, I like the LaFerrari in most specs, but some specs (like a red roof and silver wheels) spoils the look of the car.

They were some really good and striking cars back in the day but are not exactly beautiful. The Bugatti EB100, for example. I think the newer Bugattis looks better:
Are modern supercars ugly?-154305806049526.jpg
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I don't think the Corvette ZR1 listed above is beautiful. The C2 Stingray though, is a beauty.

Along with the cars GTO has mentioned, I feel there are many more beautiful supercars out there.

McLaren 675LT:
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Pininfarina Battista:
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Lamborghini Aventador:
Are modern supercars ugly?-lamborghiniaventadororange3.jpg
Source

But I have to say this - The Lamborghini Miura is, for me, the most beautiful car ever built. Nothing so far has left me in awe as much as the Miura did the very first time I saw this gorgeous car.

Last edited by ChiragM : 8th May 2019 at 18:01.
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Old 8th May 2019, 21:32   #11
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Default Re: Are modern supercars ugly?

30+ years ago, the primary consideration in designing cars, and especially supercars, was aerodynamics.

Today, there are a few more considerations to designing supercars, whose power and speed make aircrafts of 50 years ago seem slow and underpowered in comparison. These factors are:
  • Downforce
  • Intake of cooling air
  • Pedestrian safety
  • Crash safety
As a result, the sleek arrow-like shapes of yesteryears have been replaced with designs which appear to have panels missing, and are not particularly aerodynamic either. For example, the Bugatti Chiron has a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.35, whereas the Tesla Model S has a Cd of 0.24. The main reasons for the Chiron's poorer Cd have to do with the downforce the body needs to generate at speeds above 200 kmph, and the huge quantity of cooling air required to remove heat from that massive engine. OTOH, an electric car lik the Tesla has very little requirement for cooling air to be supplied to its innards, and hence can be designed to look sleeker, aerodynamic and graceful - like the supercars of yesteryears.

Pedestrian safety meant the demise of pop-up headlights such as that of the Ferrari F355 or the Lotus Esprit, and low wedges at the front end had to be redesigned to prevent fatal injuries to pedestrians. The front bumper's height was standardised so that one couldn't slide under a bigger vehicle such as a bus or lorry (never mind that India has largely forgotten to incorporate such safety features in its lineup of heavy vehicles), so that glamourous wedge of a bonnet became more rounded and bigger.

Another factor that has changed the 'face' of supercars is the development of LED technology. Whereas even 10 years ago headlights had to have large reflectors/ projectors to put out a lot of light on to the road from conventional halogen/HID bulbs, today an itsy-bitsy slit in the front puts out more (and brighter) light than HIDs ever could.

"Ugly" is a fallout of necessity.

Last edited by Aditya : 9th May 2019 at 16:32. Reason: As requested
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Old 8th May 2019, 22:10   #12
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Default Re: Are modern supercars ugly?

Although not averse to modern supercar design's (Quite like a lot of supercars like the Huracan Evo) and the new ultra importance of form over function, there are certain cars that just have no visual appeal when compared to other timeless design's of the past as well as some current favourites.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
McLaren Senna: While I'm a fan of the person the car is named after, I think the design is grossly overdone! GTO thinks it looks like a DC-design car.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I so agree. Recently saw the McLaren Senna at the Parx show and I was like . Sure, it has presence and is glamorous, but it sure as hell looked UGLY...like something that came out of the DC-design studio.
The Senna is just too over the top for my taste. While the open and focused look is generally quite desirable, this car takes it to a limit at which it loses the appeal.
It just doesn't do justice to what the car is supposed to be on track or to the iconic name.

Regards,
Abhinav
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Old 8th May 2019, 23:10   #13
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Default Re: Are modern supercars ugly?

I find it hard to pick a side here, there are awesome as well as not-so-great looking cars from both the current & previous generations. Couldn't help drooling over all the pictures in this thread. Requesting mods to consider making this into a poll, just to get a broader perspective of what our community thinks.
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Old 8th May 2019, 23:19   #14
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Personally I love the design of new cars, even the Senna looks amazing if you ask me... even the Leferrari is a masterpiece. Bugatti's have always been ugly, always hated the looks of the Veyron and the Chiron is as bad (if not worse)
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Old 9th May 2019, 02:46   #15
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Default Re: Are modern supercars ugly?

For me Porsche 911 is the most simple and Elegant sports car. Compared to the super car standards, it is the most easy on pocket and affordable as well. I love designs of most of the Ferraris. But GTC4Lusso is one of the most ugliest Ferrari I have ever seen.

I love the design of Viper. It was unfortunate that it was killed by Dodge. I love the designs of Lamborgini Huracan, most Lotus cars, Aston Martins. Bugattis are always ugly and I am not a huge fan of McLaren as well. The other car which stands out is GTR. Even though a decade old design, it is still a looker.
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