09/04/2014 04:55 EDT | Updated 11/04/2014 05:59 EST

Why Do We Love Sports Cars So Much?


What is it about sports cars that we love so much? After all, they are nowhere near as large as pickup trucks or as accommodating to their passengers as crossovers, and yet we still cling to them as if they were built by gods.

Don't get me wrong -- Ferrari 458, Lamborghini Gallardo, McLaren MP4-12C and Porsche 918 Spyder are all great vehicles in their own right, but they are definitely not the most practical cars out there. And with price tags that range from $200,000 to almost $1,000,000, it's not all that outlandish to ask if they are worth the money at all. Before we go any further -- yes, there are sports cars that go for under $30,000, like the Chevrolet Camaro or Mazda MX-5 Miata. However, they are not true objects of desire, like the Ferrari or Lamborghini vehicles, which means that the question still stands.

Plenty of car enthusiasts would argue that these vehicles are indeed worth the money. But, why do we fall in love with these ridiculously expensive machines at all? Here are a couple of reasons:

They are Exclusive

The number-one reason why sports cars have sex appeal is because very few people can afford them, which makes them seem exclusive.

Note, however, that "exclusive" does not equal "useful." For instance, the 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder, which goes around for $929,000, may offer an impressive 4.6-litre eight-cylinder engine, but it also has only two seats and next to no cargo space. Without a doubt, most people cannot pay such a high price for a car that can essentially only do one thing - drive fast. Heck, even if it was a Swiss Army knife of capabilities, most people still wouldn't be able to afford it.

So, why are these vehicles so darn expensive in the first place? One of the reasons is their own exclusivity. Since only a handful of people can buy a sports car, there aren't that many of them produced, which means that they have to carry a high price tag by default. However, even if this factor was somehow excluded, there would still be plenty to pay for. For starters, many of these vehicles are hand-built, which means that they require paid employees as opposed to factory machines. These vehicles also tend to include cutting-edge technology, top-quality interior materials and tons of customization options, all of which cost a lot of money to implement.

In essence, a sports car is a forbidden fruit of sorts - something that is made more desirable by its own absence.

They are Dangerous

Thanks to their speed, sports cars can be incredibly dangerous, which many people find very appealing - the same way they may enjoy horror movies and rollercoasters. According to WebMD, by experiencing something that seems mildly life-threatening, many people feel as though they have overcome a great challenge, making thrills like these incredibly appealing and even addicting. Contrary to popular belief, a little bit of danger does feel good, and sports cars deliver that in spades.

They Cater to the Driver

Since sports cars have started out as racing vehicles, it makes complete sense that they would be catered to the driver, which is part of their appeal as well.

First of all, they usually have only two seats, meaning that half of the cabin is dedicated to the person behind the wheel. Secondly, there's an extremely powerful engine stashed beneath all the glamour, which is arguably what the whole shebang is all about. That engine tends to be accompanied by a free-flowing exhaust system, which essentially acts as a megaphone to amplify and broadcast the engine's roar. Why is such a contraption necessary? Because no one would know that you have a fantastic engine without actually hearing it. After all, what good is a Porsche 911 if it sounds like it has a measly four-cylinder when it actually has a flat-six? Drivers like it when their engines roar.

Combine all that with a light-weight body and you get a car that accelerates so fast, it hardly seems real. There are only a handful of other road-going vehicles that can keep up with a sports car, but you won't see them often. In the end, it's just nice to be in a car that lets you feel superior to everyone else.

Their Design Reflects Their Function

Many cite design or look as one of the most appealing aspects of a sports car. But, what is it that makes a sports car look so good to us as opposed to a pickup or an SUV? Even if we examine older sports cars, like the 1966 Lamborghini Miura, we ca still find something appealing about them, despite the fact that their design elements are somewhat different from what's on offer today.

The main appeal of a sports car's design is the fact that it complements its main function -- to deliver superb performance. From its aerodynamic silhouette to its wide tires, everything a sports car has to offer is there to make it go fast and brake as smoothly as technically possible. The best comparison to this would be the human body. Many people prefer athletic bodies because they have potential to be fast and strong, which makes them more "useful" when it comes to physical activities. Athletic people are by no means the best at everything, but they certainly seem that way. The same goes for sports cars -- they look attractive to us because they seem capable of delivering superb performance. Many of them do that, but at the expense of other important features, such as interior space and safety.

In a nutshell, we are attracted to sports cars for the same reason we are attracted to jewels and other rare things in life - because they are hard to get. If sports cars were commonplace, then we would never pay any attention to them.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.


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