November 22, 2012 5:43 AM |
Posted By: Secret Supercar Owner
Rated 2.8 out of 5.0 by 4 members
A not infrequent question I get asked: can you use a supercar as a daily driver. Over the years I have used several in just this manner and it certainly made the daily commute more enjoyable. If you are going to do so, you have to be prepared to accept the fact that you will get plenty of stone chips, a door ding or two, and a fair amount of attention when stuck in traffic. However, all are a small price to pay if you can start and end the day with a big smile. The negatives are all easily rectified and you become oblivious to the extra attention and camera phones after a week. Besides, it isn’t you that other drivers are interested in, it is the car, you just happen to be attached to it.
Supercars that I have pressed into daily service for extended periods have included a Ferrari 308 GTB, a 360 Modena, a 575 Maranello, plus a Porsche 911 Turbo. I also used a Ferrari F355 GTS on a semi daily basis for several months. Of the group, the 360 Modena was the most suited to the task. It was easy to drive, very reliable, good visibility, not horrible on gas mileage, and very comfortable even when stuck in traffic. The 575 Maranello was a close second but the big V12 did like to guzzle gas while inching down the M25 in rush hour. The one I had was also an especially nice one and I always felt a little guilty subjecting it to the daily grind. On the others, the F355 GTS was just too fragile and threw several fits (also known as multiple illuminations of the the “slow down 1-4” and “5-8” warning lights) which got it quickly regulated to weekend duty only. The 911 Turbo was great, except it hated to crawl in traffic and the suspension was far too stiff for crappy potholed urban roads. The 308 GTB was more of a personal challenge as I wanted to see if a classic could be used as a daily driver. If the car is properly sorted, it certainly can be. To be honest though, while it was great on good days when the sun was out, after a long day at the office with rain pelting down; it just was more effort than the commute needed to be at that point.
I have heard many owners say they will not use a supercar as a daily driver as they don’t want it seen in the office parking lot. Given the state of the global economy I can fully appreciate the concerns. If you are running a bank in Greece or Spain, driving your new 458, Aventador, or Huayra to the office probably isn’t a great idea. On the flip side I do have a friend with a multiple modern and classic Ferraris who prefers to drive his 250 TdF to the office vs. the 599 GTO as everyone thinks the former is just a quaint old car. Hence with a little creativity you might be able to find a solution which can overcome any “image” concerns.
If I was going to run a supercar as a daily driver again, the choice would probably be a Ferrari 430, McLaren MP4-12C, or a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. The last two would be the more comfortable choices where as the 430 would be the more financially prudent choice. As prices on 430s have stabilized, you could probably run one for a couple of years and only take a minimal hit on depreciation. Compared to the depreciation hit you would take buying a new comparably priced BMW M5, the Ferrari is a bargain. While I would have no reliability concerns running a SLS as a daily driver, all the recalls and updates the MP4-12C has undergone would give me pause. Finding a very well sorted MP4-12C would be critical.
This is all very tempting, perhaps when I get things finally sorted on the 599 front a new supercar daily driver will be in order. Then again, perhaps the 599 might just get pressed into service……..
In the eternal hope that spring might finally arrive and bring better weather with it, the idea of using a Supercar as a daily driver again is becoming more and more appealing. If you can, starting and ending the day sitting in a supercar is great for the soul. Seeing how the market has developed in the 4 months since I wrote the original blog above, both a Ferrari 458 Italia and a McLaren MP4-12C look like very appealing options now. From talking to friends who own 12C's, it seems like the latest update has banished the few remaining electrical gremlins. Reliability on the 458s has been excellent from day one. Looking at the number of 458s for sale, it would seem to be very much a buyer’s market right now. While either a 430 Scuderia or a 911 GT3 is tempting from a pure driving perspective, they both are probably a bit to "focused" for the daily grind. On the plus side, both of the latter options are pretty much depreciation proof while both of the former are likely to still be heading south for another couple of years. Test drives on two of the above have been scheduled; we will see how it goes. This could even make a nice bridge until the very big car decision recently reached arrives in a couple of years.
My Twitter account is @SupercarOwner . I will send out a message when the latest blog is posted.