If you’re a petrolhead, it’s pretty much a guarantee that you’ve spent countless hours on manufacturer’s websites looking at cars you can’t really afford and will likely never own. But we all love to dream and it all probably stems from when we were kids. Back then we’d get brochures from dealerships and pore over the specs, imagine what colour we’d choose from the tiny little squares of colour and then what options we’d pick. Our imagination was our canvas and we’d paint for hours on end.
Well thankfully, technology has advanced and now car manufacturers have online configurators, which have evolved into a complete world of specs, options and models all produced in front of your eyes in glorious HD (sometimes). So just for a bit of fun I’ve gone though and found the very best configurators available. Not listed are the websites with the truly terrible configurators, and there are many. Hyundai for example gives you one tiny little image of the exterior and the only thing that changes is the colour. Utterly useless. One of the most annoying is Audi – a couple of years ago every model had the option for a full 3D rendered model which could be rotated, doors opened and closed, boot opened etc and all in real clarity. But now that only appears on very few models, seemingly the UK gets even less than other places. But we’re here to talk about the good ones, so let’s start with the best…
I’d wager that the Porsche configurator probably accounts for the largest time wasted by petrolheads world over. You can pore over details, change myriad specs and gasp endlessly at the insane prices they charge for the smallest of things. You see this is where Porsche stands out amongst the other premium manufacturers – they actually list the prices of their cars and options as you configure. So you can not only build your dream car, but you can also console yourself that you’ll never, ever be able to afford that red 911 Turbo S with red interior.
Of course, there is a genuine business side to this as Porsche sells a lot of cars and this helps potential buyers decide on their spec before even stepping into a showroom. The salesperson may not like it though, as many a potential customer has doubtless said to themselves “do I really need to spend £184 painting the headlight washer jets?” (the answer is an emphatic no, if you’re wondering). They do lose some points in not having a 3D option, though the ability to change the background from a street to a studio is much appreciated, as is the overall speed of the site. They have just added another awesome feature too – they’ve added all of the Paint to Sample (PTS) paint colours to a few models (Taycan, Cayenne, GT4 RS etc) so you can finally see how the different PTS colours would look. You’ve never been able to do this before and it’s great to see an Olive green Taycan or a Rubystar GT4 RS. And they always stick every model on too, they’ve just added the 992 Sport Classic, which is utterly pointless from a business case as it’s super limited and has very few options, but enthusiasts like to see and play with it, so why not.
The Aston config always used to be a little bit rubbish, with a few angles and limited specs available, but then in late 2021 they went all-in and created a truly impressive configurator. Sadly there are no prices, likely because Average Joe would fall off their chair if they saw the option price for the exterior carbon on a DBX707… But what they did give us was a beautifully rendered configurator, with the cars set in either a studio or on what looks like a stunning Scottish country hillside road in autumn. It’s the perfect setting for an Aston Martin and you can easily imagine yourself driving those beautiful cars through the gorgeous scenery. They have a full set of options too, from exterior paints and liveries, to multiple interior configurations and leather selections. You can scroll through static images, or click on the full 3D option to be able to rotate it the car in gloriously rendered clarity. Dreaming has never looked so good.
Another recent upgrade here, with a fancy new full 3D configurator for the Maranello masters. Of course, there aren’t any prices – I mean would you list option prices if you charged £2500 for Apple CarPlay, which is standard on a Vauxhall Corsa? Extra props to Ferrari for rapid addition of cars to the configurator too – the 296 GTS was up mere moments after the reveal, though of course this is easier when you don’t have to tie it into prices like Audi, BMW etc do. They should also be commended for adding in the Daytona SP3 – a multi million-pound super limited hypercar that only the very lucky few will be able to afford. For that, it’s nothing to do with potential owners, they’ll have an Atelier room meeting with Ferrari themselves and sort out their spec. No, this is about aspiration and helping to feed the passion that petrolheads have for the brand.
Now this is a tricky one, in isolation the Lambo configurator would seem to be quite good, but when you compare it to the Ferrari one it falls woefully short. Sure, there are a lot of paint options to choose from in their various categories, but again there are no prices and the main issue here is that it’s painfully slow. Swiping between views takes an age to load and updating is tedious too. The other issue can’t really be avoided at the moment, but there are only two models to choose from – the Huracan and Urus – as that’s all that Lambo are currently making! It has made me want a pink or purple Lamborghini even more though, which is pretty much the point, so fair play to them.
Land Rover shouldn’t really have made it onto this ‘best of’ given that you only get 4 or 5 static images of the car you’re configuring and the quality of image is pretty poor. But what you do get, are new models added the second they’re released, (crucially) pricing for every car and option and all the options reflected in the image you see. There are a few configurators that don’t do that, so you’re left with a half-configured car – very annoying. It’s also a shame that their current range-topper, the brand new Range Rover not only has the same few shots, but they’re on a bland white background – not even the house/beach/cityscapes seen on other models.
Now this one really surprised me. Morgan is a pretty small British manufacturer, with designs firmly rooted in the last century. They only have three models for sale and are genuinely tiny in terms of model sales. But they have somehow managed to fund a brand new website, with a fully 3D rendered, fully priced up configurator. This is the kind of thing that companies like Lamborghini really should have. Configure a new Super-3 and you can change colours (even choose one from an RGB colour wheel), add myriad options, sticker packs, luggage, add spotlights, the sky’s the limit. The only issues I have with the Morgan configurator are a) it made me want a Super-3 even more and b) it’s a seriously processor-heavy configurator – I was configuring on a new Apple Mac with the M1 chip and lots of processing power and 2 mins on the Morgan configurator had the fans sounding like Concorde taking off.
Of course the most fun can be had on configurators seeing what’s the worst car you can configure. How about a yellow Bentley with red interior for that Ronald McDonald spec? Or a super brown Taycan with brown interior? Head over to our social media platforms and show us what your worst specs are!