The car park of the Wearnes Automotive showroom resembled a high-end luxury car motor show on the evening of the exclusive McLaren P1 preview earlier this month.
The new P1 supercar had been specially flown into Singapore for its Southeast Asian debut for just three days – from 5 to 7 July – for a private showcase to explore further interest, as Singapore’s quota was already spoken for.
Limited to only 375 units in the world, the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 P1 is capable of generating 903bhp from its IPAS (Instant Power Assist System) petrol-electric powertrain.
Wearnes Automotive is the distributor for McLaren, Bentley, Infiniti, Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover and Renault in Singapore.
Supercars of brands like McLaren, Ferrari and Lamborghini lined the Wearnes car park, including the exotic one-and-only Koenigsegg Agera S that has a price tag of S$5.3 million.
Just last month, the Agera S — the only in Singapore and the fourth in the world — was delivered to Singapore and unveiled at a glitzy showcase at Ritz Carlton. The founder of Koenigsegg Automotive AB, Christian von Koenigsegg, was in attendance.
This five-litre 1030bhp V8 turbocharged hypercar, touted as the fastest production car in Singapore, can reach a top speed of over 400km/h and takes just 2.9 seconds to get from a standstill to 100km/h.
The lucky Singaporean owner to this Swedish gem? Angela Tan, the 38-year-old wife of investor Denis Chua. Online reports stated that the couple bought the car after test driving it in Sweden.
Worth buying a supercar in Singapore?
It is commonly said that it is not worth buying a supercar in Singapore, especially with the speed limits and one traffic light too many.
Lung, president of the Ferrari Owner’s Club Singapore (FOCS), said, “The word ‘worth’ is very hard to define. To each owner it means different things. For example, to some it is the pride of ownership, to others it is part of their bucket list to own a supercar. It is true that one cannot go fast in Singapore but speed is only one of many elements in owning an exotic car.
“There are other factors like the acceleration, the look of the car, the technical aspects and more. Owning a supercar is not just about going fast but rather, the individual’s motivation in acquiring one.”
Interestingly, Lung classified supercar owners under three categories:
1) The Trophy Car Owner
The owner is making a statement that he has made it or has achieved a certain status in life with ownership of an exotic car. The owner seldom drives the car and instead, allows it to sit at home and get polished over and over. The mileage is often very low and these cars are often referred to as “garage queens”.
2) The Poser
The owner seldom drives the car hard and chooses to cruise around town at minimum speed but with maximum exhaust note. The idea here is to draw attention.
3) The Enthusiast
The owner knows everything about his car from the week of manufacture of his tyres to the latest software update of the ECU. The owner prides himself not only on driving the car often, but also on the company he keeps – other enthusiasts, that is.
An owner of several supercars, who prefers to remain anonymous, gave me another interesting insight into this.
He said, “Notwithstanding supercars, buying an entry-level family sedan in Singapore is not worthwhile as well. Public transportation in Singapore ranks one of the best in the world. Supercars are no doubt a technical tour-de-force and will no doubt out-drive almost anything on the road.
“At this level, different people have diverse buying motivations, especially given the amount of time one actually drives it. It is likely going to come down to which one you’d prefer to look at and evoke your emotions. Every supercar is genuinely unique in styling and innovative in its own way.”
He went on to elaborate how there are many reasons for buying supercars, but one that might not be apparent is the personal driving enjoyment.
He described how some supercars “drive smooth as silk”, while others “buck and surge at low speed”.
Who dares to drive their supercars out of Singapore?
There is also a concern that it is dangerous to drive these supercars out of Singapore.
Lung, however, regularly organises convoys to Malaysia for FOCS — accompanied by a team of security personnel — and has yet to encounter any nasty incidents.
Ryan Chua, 30, an investor whose first supercar was a Lamborghini LP570-4 Superleggera, has even driven out by himself to Desaru, Penang and Genting.
“Generally, if you’re not acting like an idiot on the roads and harassing people, you wouldn’t get into trouble. Obviously common sense always comes into play – avoid quiet areas, don’t attract too much attention and don’t stay in one spot too long. Also, choose to have your car parked by valets in front of a good hotel with great security,” he advised.
Is it still worth buying a supercar now?
With the current market conditions and the recent implementation of tighter regulations for car buying in Singapore, Chua feels that “there may be a slowdown in more ‘mass market’ supercar segments in a major financial recession, but there will always be buyers for supercars since certain industries and personal wealth will be impervious to current market conditions”.
“Buying a supercar is a very personal decision and if I have the finances to purchase and support it without any detriment to my existing lifestyle, why not?” he concluded.
*This was first published on Yahoo! Autos