Drives: 2015 S550 GT
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: St. Pete, FL
It's hard to classify cars, especially as the overall selection of production performance cars has multiplied substantially in the past couple of decades. There are subjective measures like aesthetics and brand cache, and then there are objective measures like performance specs, versatility/usability (or lack thereof), costs, dimensions, and construction methods.
Here's my take on some of these terms, many of which are interchangeable or can be used as umbrella labels.
Sports Car: purpose-built; two-door; lightweight construction and agility are a priority; "fun" to drive; visceral; typically FR setup.
(e.g. Elise/Exige, S2000, 370Z, Corvette, majority of 911 variants)
Sports Coupe: two doors, of course; typically based on an existing chassis that shares a sedan variant; performance intentions; accessible driving dynamics; not usually track capable from the showroom floor; heavier relative to sportscars; rarely stripped down and is daily driveable.
(e.g. M3, CTS-V, RS5, etc.)
Super Car: a shared concept with the sports car category, but with increased performance metrics that are typically headline-grabbing and in the top percentile of road going cars; can be based on existing sports car chassis, but more common to have a bespoke chassis with expensive production costs, a wide footprint, and a particularly low roofline; usually (but not restricted to) MR, FMR, M4, RR, and R4 layouts; hard to categorize due to constantly shifting performance bars being set.
(e.g. ZR1, LF-A, 911 GT3/TT, SLS, 458, GTR, Lamborghini range, etc.)
Hyper Car: state of the art tech; completely standout aesthetics; pushes existing powertrain/drivetrain/chassis limits for the given period; absurd price tag.
(e.g. TheTheFerrari, Enzo, 918, CGT, P1, F1, etc.)
Exotic: umbrella term; applied to cars almost always using a mid-engined setup; rarity is a requisite which carries a big price tag to match; performance doesn't have to be record breaking, but supercar levels are typically expected
(e.g. Lambos, Ferraris, high-end Astons, Paganis, etc.)
GT: the goal is versatility; DD qualities and high luxury mixed with impressive levels of performance; usually longer wheelbase; relatively medium in weight; insulated; born for the streets and not for the tracks, although they usually can be track-capable.
(e.g. M6, F-Type, XK, SL AMGs, etc.)
There's a lot of overlap to be had with the multiple labels we have here. You can take a car like the SLS or 991 and check off a few boxes here because their performance and capability envelopes are so vast.
Past:'08 E92 335i|ZPP|ZSP|6AT|four (4) HPFPs
Present:'15 Mustang GT|401A|PP|6MT|Recaros
Sig pic unrelated. I like to go sideways and stuff.