What Makes a Car “Exotic”?

Burbbble has had a debate over the definition

Jeff Knoespel

Recently, a few of the Burbbble authors got into a debate over the definition of a word. It all started with an online article where the author referred to an Aston Martin V8 Vantage as an exotic car. They realized that there isn’t a strong definition for the word “exotic.” So they tried to find one.

Cory: Is there a price threshold that needs to be in place to call a car “exotic”? I’m having a hard time using that word for both a $45k or less Aston Martin V8 Vantage and also a Ferrari 488.

Jared: Shouldn’t exotic have to do with rarity? Either by materials, technology, design, or amount made?

Cory: Not sure it’s safe to apply dictionary definitions to the car world. There would be lots of “exotic” sub $5k cars then which doesn’t really fit the term in the way car people use it. I think you need to spend somewhere between $75k-$100k minimum.

Jared: Every car on the Concourse is above $75k? Or are the ones not above $75k not exotic?

Cory: Hmm… a lot of them are more than $75k, but no, not all exotic.

Jared: Of course, my point being that it’s not a money thing—there are plenty of super expensive cars that are not exotic.

Cory: Agreed, definitely not the ONLY thing that makes something exotic.

Jared: Pantera, NSX, Evora, Viper, Noble M12, all “exotic” and below $50k. But you’re right, I don’t think you can get much lower than $50k and it still be exotic.

Cory: NSX, Evora don’t make the list, good Pantera will cost more as will an M12. Viper may be the exception though. Well if the debate is if an NSX is exotic, that’s a good debate. I stand firmly on the side that it isn't.

Jared: An NSX is not exotic? So a BMW 8 Series isn’t exotic?

Cory: Absolutely not.

Jared: I think there’s a large difference between “legacy exotic” and “exotic". Because to you, old cars can’t be exotic. But the 8 series and the NSX were hella exotic when they came out.

Cory: The marketplace is pretty loud when it comes to dictating legacy stuff. There are plenty of old cars that cost more than $75k.

Jared: So it doesn’t matter if it was Exotic at one point? Once it loses its exoticism it’s out? I can get behind that, I guess.

Cory: Maybe once exotic always exotic? I dunno.

Jared: Then you can’t say the NSX isn’t exotic. So a 308, 360, and 348 aren’t exotic?

Cory: I said I dunno, dingleberry.

Jared: Is a BOSS Mustang exotic?

Cory: Stickered version of normal car?

Jared: Or can we say that exotic is relatively expensive and ridiculously over-engineered?
Is the GTR exotic is my question.

Cory: Just because it is faster than many exotics.

Jared: There are many facets in this definition.

Cory: Speed isn’t really a factor to me.

Jared: BMW M1?

Cory: I would have a hard time not calling that exotic.

Jared: Pontiac Stinger? There's only, like, one of them dude.

Cory: VERY. But V8 Ferraris may be an exception. Though it’s hard to not call the 308 exotic. It’s entirely possible that I like Italian cars too much.

Jared: So you just want to use exotic as a synonym for Italian?

Cory: Boom. Perfect.

Chris: You guys are a bunch of idiots. Exotic means out of the ordinary. How is an NSX ordinary?

Jared: Well then. A reliant robin is exotic. And any Daihatsu. By that implication even a H1 hummer is more exotic than a 355. There are more 355s in America than civilian H1s.

Chris: I've seen more H1s than 355s.

Cory: I think Daihatsu is Korean for exotic.

Jared: It's North Korean for exotic. Different dialects.

Cory: This argument has turned to something that is so far from the real way we use the term. I’m guessing there is a baseline of what would be an exotic that can be agreed upon. Exotics cannot be reached by the common man with very few exceptions. But once Doug DeMuro owns one, it can’t be considered an exotic anymore, either.

Chris: I second Cory’s motion to ban Doug DeMuro cars.

Porsche Ferrari Aston Martin V8 Vantage NSX exotic