You have £200,000 burning a hole in your pocket and decide to finally buy that supercar you’ve always hankered after. Sure, the car may be beautiful, hit over 180mph and draw crowds every time you drive through Monaco, but what about when you’ve parked up and aren’t near it any more? How do you pose without the car?
The humble key is your only method of announcing to the world exactly what you drive, and with six of the hottest cars on the planet all in one place for CAR magazine’s July 2011 mega-test of McLaren MP4-12C vs Ferrari 458 Italia and four other rivals, what better time to judge bar posing potential. Here's our potted guide to the strange world of supercar keys.
Supercar key: McLaren MP4-12C
Looks like: A beautiful nugget of dark mysterious carbonfibre. Unique in its design, there’s no mistaking that this key is for something special
Feels like: Small, compact and the only key here not related to humble superminis
Standout feature: A key that lacks the ability to attach to a keyring, this beauty flies solo in your pocket, setting itself apart from your manky old Yale door key
Exotica rating: 5/5
Supercar key: Ferrari 458 Italia
Looks like: The kind of thing you might find in a Christmas cracker. The cheap plastic feels like a letdown from such an expensive marque
Feels like: Big, brash and bright. Typically Ferrari!
Standout feature: Emblazoned with the prancing horse, dropping this on a bar will leave your fellow drinkers in no doubt just how rich you are
Excotica rating: 4/5
Supercar key: Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Looks like: A key that means business. Sober, serious, very Porsche. No frills, but the logo gives a gentle nod to the power it could potentially unleash
Feels like: Basic, functional, efficient
Standout feature: Sleek, ninja-like persona. Don’t mess with this key
Exotica rating: 4/5
Supercar key: Lamborghini Gallardo Performante
Looks like: Any key from any car made by the VW group. Until you flip it over, and the raging bull is shown confirming you don't in fact own an A1
Feels like: Physically it’s a big key in comparison to the others, and the black plastic moulding is pointier than the related R8's below
Standout feature: That VW Group clickety-clackety sprung hinge mechanism. Great for fiddling with
Exotica rating: 3/5
Supercar key: Audi R8 V10
Looks like: Any other Audi key apart from that front boot button - which for those in the know reveals its true identity. You may find yourself explaining that the picture of the car is not backwards, and, yes, the front opens, not the back
Feels like: Chunky, solid and understated. Typical German build quality here, and whilst it may not scream 'I spent £109k on a car', it’ll certainly last you for many years of joyous door opening
Standout feature: Chrome detailing adds a touch of class, but sadly all Audi keys have it
Exotica rating: 2/5
Supercar key: Mercedes SLS AMG
Looks like: If you needed a key to start a UFO, this would no doubt be it. The stark contrast of the classic chrome and black against a strange-looking plug wrapped up in a bulbous fob gives this key a futuristic feel
Feels like: A heavy weighted key that feels solid in the hand with good-sized buttons for chunky thumbs
Standout feature: Stylish looks and solid build quality, but where's the flair?
Exotica rating: 3/5
So there you have it. If for some reason you were basing your future dream car purchase on what the key looked like, you have two options. For bragging rights, the 458 seals the deal. Nothing screams ‘look what I own’ quite like the Ferrari’s key. However, if you want subtle good looks that will only be recognised by true connoisseurs, you’ll want the Macca.
Don't miss the new July 2011 issue of CAR Magazine on sale now. We test the new McLaren MP4-12C against its rivals – the Ferrari 458 Italia, Porsche 911 GT2 RS, Lamborghini Performante, Audi R8 V10 and Mercedes SLS.
>> Feeling fobbed off? Share your thoughts on supercar keys in the comments section below