Why The Ferrari Testarossa Isn't A Supercar

Illustration for article titled Why The Ferrari Testarossa Isnt A Supercar

Despite what its mid engined layout, wild styling, Miami Vice appearance, and bedroom poster status may tell you the Ferrari Testarossa is not a supercar. Rather, it's a Grand Tourer.

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Generally when you think of a GT car you think of a big, comfortable coupe with a 12-cylinder mounted up front like a Ferrari Daytona or, to use a more modern example, a Bentley Continental GT. The Testarossa looks like it has more in common with a Countach than anything else, but don't be fooled because it's a genuine Gran Turismo.

The Testarossa's Flat-12 engine has a lot of usable low/mid-range power and is fairly quiet when you're not hammering on it. The interior is comfortable, the visibility is excellent, and there are no pictures of racetracks in its brochure. Its main goal isn't to constantly remind you that Ferrari has an F1 team (ahem, F12berlinetta) but to be a comfortable, fast cruiser.

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This video from the ever cool Harry Metcalfe highlights everything you've ever wanted to know about the Testarossa from the fact that the transmission is mounted under the engine, to the door handles that double as ashtrays. All in all it's quite a different Ferrari from the sort of car they make today – more elegant than in your face.

Top Photo Credit: pyntofmyld

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DISCUSSION

Chris, I think that Jalopnik is in a perfect place to define car categories right now...but I'm going to start by putting some fuel into the fire to help explain why this is important.

The Ferrari Testerossa was a GT car. The Porsche 928 was also a GT car. The two cars, however, were in a fairly different price and performance category. Is one a GT and the other is a Super GT? Maybe an Exotic GT? What are the qualifiers for these?

More fuel for the fire. Is the current Porsche 911 a Sports Car or a GT? Before you answer, keep in mind that the dimensions of the current 911 have grown to that of the old 928, which I'm sure we would all agree is a GT car. The Boxster/Cayman is much closer to the dimensions of the 911's of yesterday (actually, I think that the old 911's are smaller). Current 911's have better creature comforts than the old Testerossa did as well.

With that being said, it would be fantastically cool if we worked on somehow creating official Jalopnik standards to define sports-like car categories. I'm going to throw out a bunch of examples and categories, but please don't beat me up over these. I'm totally pulling these out of my ass, and I'm using past and present examples...and haven't put significant time or thought into this (and I left the Corvette out, because I still don't know where it goes, muscle cars are also absent, but maybe we can work that in). I'd love to hear suggestions from others. Many would look at this list and say "screw that - sports cars, super cars, and sedans". I'm not there, as my definition of a sports car is pretty rigid.

Sports Car (light, few creature comforts, typically inexpensive, usually not overpowered):

  • Mazda Miata
  • Lotus Elise
  • Alfa 4c
  • MGB
  • Pontiac Solstice

Luxury Sports Car (more expensive than a true sports car, many more creature comforts, more weight, more power):

  • Porsche Cayman

Sports Coupe (not a true sports car, not a luxury sports car):

  • 370 Z

GT Car:

  • Porsche 991
  • Porsche 928
  • Audi R8 (this might be able to go into Exotic GT)
  • Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Exotic GT/Luxury GT Car:

  • Bentley Continental
  • Ferrari Testerossa
  • Ferrari FF
  • Aston Martin Vanquish

Super GT Car

  • Nissan GT-R (this could be considered a supercar)

Sports Sedan:

  • BMW M3
  • Audi S4

Supercar

  • Bugatti Veyron (this could arguably to into a Super GT category, because it doesn't play in the same ballpark as a more traditional supercar like an F40)
  • Lamborghini Aventador
  • F40
  • LaFerrari
  • McLaren P1

Anyway, this is a rough start...but I'd love some feedback on this. These are the things that I'm thinking about:

  • What to do with categories? Am I missing some? Are some totally dumb and redundant?
  • How to define each category? Price? Weight? Power? Luxury? Purpose? Racing pedigree?
  • Am I flat out wrong with my categorization of some of these cars?