Speed bumps are designed to increase safety by slowing you down, but the side effects can be debilitating for certain types of cars. It’s commonly known that you ought to have at least 4.5-5 inches of ground clearance to clear the majority of speed bumps out there.
Such a feat is easy for an SUV which regularly has more than 7 inches of ground clearance or sedans that have 5-6 inches depending on the sedan in question. Hatchbacks are somewhat the same as sedans, and the same story goes for estates as well.
Pretty much every car out there is designed to clear speed bumps without any issues, except for supercars of course. Some supercars like the Audi R8 offer up to 5.2 inches of ground clearance, but others like the Lamborghini Gallardo offer less than 4 inches.
To be able to go over certain speed bumps, many modern supercars are equipped with hydraulic/air lift systems that can raise the nose of the car with a press of a button. Besides this, the only other way you might manage a speed bump in a supercar is to take a certain angle and hope for the best.
Hydraulic/air lift systems
As mentioned previously, the vast majority of modern cars can traverse speed bumps without any issues whatsoever, and supercars are the only ones that require additional solutions. Such solutions come in as dedicated hydraulic lifts that lift either solely the nose, or all four wheels to a certain point which is enough to go over most speed bumps.
McLaren’s system is called Nose Lifter, Lamborghini’s system is named Front End List System, and the one found in the gorgeous new Ford GT is dubbed Adjustable Multimode Suspension System. These systems are almost always an optional feature, and it’s essential for you to option it out if you want to sell your car afterward.
The systems found in older McLarens used to be a bit of a faff to use, you ought to go through a few menus before you locate Nose Lifter and to engage it you also had to wait for a few seconds, and more often than not, lots of nervous drivers around you would step on the horn to hurry you up.
Newer McLaren systems are thankfully a lot better. The system found in the Ford GT is one of the most advanced ones out there as it lifts all four wheels in a matter of a second, and some systems even take advantage of your GPS to remember where you engaged nose lift so the next time the system will engage automatically.
But how high are average speed bumps anyway? The height of a speed bump is mostly associated with the targeted speed you ought to go over it. In most cases, a speed bump is somewhere between 2-4 inches high according to some federal laws in the US, but some of them can go even higher than that.
And there are different types of speed bumps out there because there is no central governing body that decides how high a speed bump should go, and it’s mostly up to local authorities to decide how high a speed bump should go.
Regular speed bumps should never be higher than 6 inches at the very maximum. The most aggressive speed bumps out there are designed to slow you down to 5-10mph and are usually used for the most congested areas of large cities.
There are also special speed humps, speed cushions, and speed tables that serve more or less the same purpose. It’s worth mentioning that the 6-inch speed bumps are usually only located in designated residential areas and they are agreed upon by the local authorities and the people that reside in that area.
Roads you should avoid if you are driving a supercar
Supercars are compromised in an effort of increasing performance on smooth paved roads and designated race tracks. They are wide and low, stiff, and without much body roll, and all of this is a problem when you encounter speed bumps or other dreadful driving conditions.
Off-roading is something you should never attempt to do in any car besides an SUV or an off-road appropriate non-SUV car. Supercars are built to never go off-road, and if you do manage to stroll your Ferrari in a field, getting out of it without damaging it is a task in itself.
You should also avoid driving your supercar on snowy roads, and the reasoning behind this is rather obvious. A McLaren 720S with 4.2-inch ground clearance is going absolutely nowhere if the snow is higher than 4.5 inches or similar. No matter the tires you equip your car with, you are officially a snow plower.
How low can supercars get?
In an effort of increasing performance, supercars can go as low as only a few inches of the ground. The McLaren P1 for example can go as low as 2.6 inches of the ground. This is enough to clear a few dead insects on the pavement, but not all of them.
That being said, these levels of ground clearance should absolutely never be used on regular roads, and only on designated race tracks that are smooth enough. Car regulation usually states the lowest part of your car can not be lower than the lowest part of your rim.
How expensive are speed bump damage repairs?
It depends on the car in question, and the materials the components are made of. For example, a new plastic front splitter for a Ferrari F12 costs around $650, but the carbon fiber one easily stretches over $4k.
Rear diffusers are even more expensive because they sometimes encompass the entirety of the rear bumper, and as such, they can cost as much as $10-15k for some Ferrari models.
Should I buy a supercar without a nose lift system?
This also depends on the car in question and the place you plan on driving your car. If you are mostly interested in track driving, there is no need for you to opt for a dedicated nose lifter. But, it’s advisable that you do tick that option if you want to sell your car afterward.
Some cars like the Porsche Carrera GT are valued at up to a million dollars, but the Carrera GT is not available with a nose lifter. Even though there are a few aftermarket companies that do specialize in developing lift systems for such cars, they do cost an exorbitant amount of money.