A great many things can be done with enough resources. You can build 100-story buildings, construct an interstate highway system that spans over 45,000 miles and put a man on the moon. The same applies to the automotive world. The vast majority of the cars on the road today are built with sensibility and affordability in mind. But what happens when sensibility and affordability are not the objective? What happens when you spend, say, $400,000 on a car? Here is what is in store:
Mainstream automobiles are designed for mass-production. There are factories that push out hundreds of cars a day in order to meet consumer demand. As a result, corners are cut, the majority of the manufacturing is automated and quality is only assured on average. In the case of $400,000 cars, at least some, if not most, of a car’s build is done and inspected by human beings who are experts in their field.
The Lamborghini Aventador, for example, has a carbon fiber chassis that is hand-assembled and painstakingly checked over for imperfections in shape and rigidity. And at Ferrari, so many components are hand-built that a single car often takes several days or even weeks to complete. To put that in perspective, a mainstream car can take as little as a couple of hours.
A Machine that Pushes the Limits of Engineering
Building supercars is always about being faster than the other guy. This sometimes means having something the other guy doesn’t have. When everyone else is using Turbo V8s, V10s and V12s, Bentley uses a “W12” engine in its Continental Supersports, which is basically two V6 engines mashed together. Not only does this allow for better packaging and less weight in the Continental, it also has the displacement to put out a staggering 700 bhp. This allows the hefty Conti to reach 60 mph in an chassis-twisting 3.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 209 mph.
In its exclusive 675LT (“Longtail”), McLaren uses a special titanium exhaust system that equally channels exhaust flow from the left side of the engine to the right outlet and vice versa, allowing the 3.8L Twin-Turbo V8 to achieve a best-in-class 541 bhp per metric ton. Most supercar makers use lightweight components, such as carbon fiber, and advanced engine technologies, such as turbocharging and even hybrid-electric systems, to get to the front of the land speed game.
The Ultimate in Comfort and Style
Some luxury automakers focus on getting you to your destination with as high a heart rate as possible. Others try to get you there with a low one. $400,000 affords you the chance to partake in a wide portfolio of opulent luxo-barges ranging from the stylish Bentley Mulsanne to the rugged and capable Mercedes-Benz G550 4×4 Squared. Cars like these are designed with ultimate comfort and chic in mind.
In this price range, expect exceptional interior surfaces for you to lay your hands on: Alcantara, full-grain leathers, various high-quality woods and much more. Also expect to find the hottest gadgets available on four (and sometimes more) wheels, ranging from fully-equipped big-screen infotainment systems to champagne coolers to massage chairs with extendable leg rests.
Of course, $400,000 is not the ceiling for luxury cars. Hypercars such as the LaFerrari, Porsche 918, and McLaren P1 all command seven figures. Although these cars take extravagance and performance to an entirely different level, this does not detract from the level of craftsmanship available at the $400,000 mark. While different automakers may offer different features or their own renditions of them, for this much money you can expect the highest quality and a promise that everyone from the designers to the assemblers is doing their very best work.
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