You can’t really blame the Italian sports car, can you?

Over the past two decades or so, the terms sports car and supercar have changed their meaning. What was considered a supercar 20 years ago, is today only worthy of the sports car tag and we ‘blame’ mankind’s incessant need to go faster and faster for it.

In other words, as technology evolved and improved over time, carmakers were able to build lighter cars, better engines, and more aerodynamic body kits. That’s how we got a whole new breed of go-fast demons: the hypercar (thanks, Bugatti!). But just how big of a difference is there between a modern-day sports car and a supercar? Well, this question has found its answer as an Alfa Romeo 4C went against the likes of Ferrari 488 Pista and McLaren 600LT.

Hold on a second! How is this drag race fair?

Well, it’s not. Then again, the video was not meant to put the sports car in a bad light, so try to look at it as an experiment that sets out to show just how big the performance gap is between what we today call supercars and sports cars.

So before you press play, let’s have a closer look at our three contenders here, especially at what sort of performance they offer. We’ll start with the obvious underdog, which is the Alfa Romeo 4C. Alfa’s charming two-seater has a 1.75-liter turbocharged gasoline engine good for 237 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque unlocked in the 2,200 and 4,250 rpm band. The 4C sends all its power to the rear wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch Alfa TCT gearbox, allowing it to sprint from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds (with launch control) and reach a top speed of 160 miles per hour. Sure, the unladen weight of just 1,973 pounds plays a huge role in the 4C’s sporty character, but it is not enough when faced with a pure-breed supercar. Mind you, the 4C in the video is tuned to produce 280 horsepower.

via GIPHY

Moving on, the 600LT, one of McLaren’s Sports Series models, makes use of a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine sending power to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch SSG gearbox. Speaking of power, the 600LT makes do with 592 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 457 pound-feet of torque available in the 5,500-6,500 rpm interval. As such, the 0-60 miles per hour sprint takes just 2.8 seconds en route to a top speed of 204 miles per hour.

Which brings us to Ferrari’s track-focused 488 Pista. Packing an upgraded version of the 3.9-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 used by the ‘regular’ 488, the Pista has 710 horsepower at its disposal. It needs just 2.85 seconds to reach 62 miles per hour from a standstill, which means the sprint from naught to 60 miles per hour can be done in roughly 2.7 seconds. The 488 Pista’s Vmax is 211 miles per hour, but it’s also worth noting that the Pista is 198.5 pounds lighter than the 488 GTB and tips the scales at 2,822 pounds. While obviously a lot lighter than the 4C, the 488 Pista is, in fact, heavier than the McLaren 600LT, which weighs in at 2,749 pounds.

Watch the Alfa Romeo 4C Take a Beating from a Ferrari Pista and McLaren 600LT
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Now, we’re not going to start describing what’s happening in the video, although it’s pretty obvious that this is essentially a drag race between two cars: the Ferrari and the McLaren. Still, the 4C does puts up quite a fight up until the point where the two supercars manage to really get going and increase the distance as they blast past the finish line.

Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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