The average luxury car now has over 100 million lines of code, programming that controls everything from airbags to engines to massaging seats. For reference, Boeing’s new 787 has a paltry 14 million lines of code. A mouse’s entire genome equates to around 120 million.
The modern automobile is the most cutting-edge piece of technology there is. Out on the frontier of automotive advancement and discovery are the supercars. They push boundaries, test new technologies, and give the ultra-rich a new fun toy to brag about. But a supercar is only as good as its numbers. Who cares what the fifth fastest car is? This latest cohort from Bugatti, Aston Martin, Mercedes-AMG, Pagani, and Koenigsegg relegate the last generation to has-beens. So long McLaren P1, LaFerrari, Porsche 918.
It was fun while it lasted. Not only is this new generation of cars more expensive, they’re also more complex. The Koenigsegg, for example, does without a gearbox. The AMG’s engine will be built at the factory that makes Mercedes’ Formula 1 racing motors. The most important numbers in these new supercars are the headline-grabbing specifications: fastest, quickest, most expensive, most powerful, biggest engine. Numbers are the end-game.
We’ve yet to see what the new Aston and AMG supercars can do, but it’s becoming clear you’ll need fighter-pilot skills to take them to the limit.