The unconventional appeal of halo cars

By jaytee, 17 May 2021

Like with all aspects of life, cars are always constantly evolving, always adapting to change. Any new gadget, or improved technologies, updated software, even new forms of propulsion. All merits for any and all manufacturers' pursuit of perfection, striving to adapt these evolutionary changes to their vehicles. But what if a manufacturer decides to go above and beyond, to create something a little more over the top? A car designed to stimulate hearts and minds, to break the boundaries of conventional and customary definitions of what a vehicle is? That’s what a halo car is (And no, I do not mean the Warthog from the HALO videogame franchise).

By definition, a halo car is a vehicle intended to be a flagship model. Something to showcase the best that any given manufacturer has to offer, to push boundaries. More often than not, these halo cars deviate from the norm of the manufacturer’s usual offerings. Flamboyant styling, new-fangled technologies, cutting-edge innovative tech, and in many instances, sheer performance. While some manufacturers do not follow through with their initial plans from their concept vehicles, there are some that excel above and beyond what is expected of them. These are some of those special cars.

Ferrari F40

The Ferrari F40 is often perceived as the first turbocharged Ferrari. While that isn’t true, the F40 remains one of the hallmark vehicles the brand has ever produced. A lightweight car with paint so thin you could make out the carbon fibre weave underneath, a 2.9-litre turbocharged V8 producing 478bhp, that's a recipe for success. And it is probably one of the greatest turbocharged cars in Maranello’s storied history.

(Click HERE to read more about the F40’s history)

BMW i8

As far as production versions of concept cars go, the BMW i8 actually looks better in the flesh. It’s been 12 years since BMW’s Vision EfficientDynamics concept hit motorshow podiums, and 7 years since the i8 first emerged on the market. In that time, BMW engineers have fettled with the rather unique drivetrain to produce one of the most efficient yet potent sports cars to date. And if the standard i8 wasn’t flamboyant enough, check out the burnished copper roadster variant pictured above. Absolute business.

(Click HERE to read more about the BMW i8)

Lexus LFA

Now I won’t deny that I have a certain (biased) opinion of the Lexus LFA. Sure, it has a gorgeous naturally-aspirated V10 that positively sings as your digital rev counter inches closer to its 9,000rpm redline. But the reason that I, and many others, adore this vehicle is the sheer abundance of overkill that Lexus’s engineers have put into this car. Despite its troubled beginnings during the design and development process, the LFA was proof of Lexus’s mettle as a manufacturer. It was proof that luxury saloons aren’t the only thing that Lexus is capable of. And the world thanks them for it.

(Click HERE to read more about the Lexus LFA)

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 (A90)

I know there are a ton of jokes about how the latest Toyota Supra is basically a BMW under the skin, but I would implore you to look at it with different eyes. Look past the familiar switchgear and the engine, and just consider the Supra for what it is. This may be a collaborative effort between the Germans and the Japanese, but the Supra represents something more. Shared resources do not diminish a car’s character, of which the Supra has loads of. Contrary to popular belief, is not "worse" than the now-iconic Mark-4 Supra that preceded it, it is actually faster and more refined in many ways.

It is a halo car, and like the LFA, it proves what Toyota can do if given free rein to do so. As much as some would like to compare the Supra with its German cousin, they are vastly different cars. Both have their merits, but they are different. As the millennials would say, “Don’t @ me.”

(Click HERE to read more about the Toyota GR Supra)

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