Performance Cars And Sports Car Culture In Nigeria

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Car Culture is the shared beliefs, values, purpose, customs, language, arts, institutions and achievements among others, of a particular group of people that have an affinity for the automobile. The evolution of this community is more efficient than ever, the transfer of knowledge is almost instant and there are more sub-communities than one could count.

Performance vehicles are cars with powerful engines, superior speed, agility and an overall great driving experience. They come in a range of sizes and can be sports cars, muscle cars, or luxury cars. The sport car on the other hand is a low, small, usually 2-passenger automobile designed for quick response, easy manoeuvrability, and high-speed driving with masterful handling.

The sports car operates with quick acceleration and speed while performance cars focus more on power. Sports cars are also smaller than muscle cars and usually look sleeker. These cars tend to drive great on open roads but may not be as fun to drive in stop-and-go traffic.

The Performance And Sports Car Culture 

The Nigerian performance and sports car culture has had two peaks. The first peak was between the 1960s and 1980s with European cars such as the Citroen DS, the Peugeot 504, and Mercedes Benz 280SE seating at the top. Then there was a gradual shift in the population’s preference for Japanese cars sometime between the 90s and 2000s. However, this led to the luxury cars’ downfall as people moved to normal vehicles such as Toyotas to save and reduce fuel costs.

In 2009, the culture picked up again with the drift event organised by Darknight Motorsport in Abuja. By 2015, there were various sports car events in Lagos state and Edo state. Edo state is quite remarkable in this culture as being the state with the first purpose-built race track in the country located in a community called Evbuobanosa. Every November, the Motorsport Raceway Evbuobanosa holds the biggest motorsport races in West Africa with the bike, E30 RoadX and Supercar categories. Some people have attributed the usage of E30s in the RoadX Category to the sudden spike of used E30s prices in the country.

Most of the performance and sports cars are located either in Lagos or Abuja. In Lagos, there are more Mercedes-Benz owners but most only drive Mercedes C300s, E350s amongst others. This is because of the nameplate’s prestige and not necessarily because they love the brand.

The biggest car show in Lagos is organised by the BMW Club Nigeria. It usually holds two events per year including a car show and a supercar drag race. The supercar drag race accommodates all the major supercars one can think of. Ferraris, Lamborghini Huracan, Rolls Royce Phantoms and Ghosts, Ford Mustangs, Challengers,  BMW Ms and Mercedes-AMGs. Interestingly, there has been a never-ending fight for supremacy between the Mercedes Benz vehicles and BMW Vehicles.

Some of the popular BMWs used in Nigeria by extremely wealthy people include; BMW E30 M3, 2011 BMW F10 5 series, BMW M4, BMW X6M, BMW E92 M3, and BMW E30 M3. They are mostly found in Abuja and Lagos with customised plate numbers.


Most car lovers in Nigeria have to import their dream cars and still pay exorbitant taxes on car imports, thus limiting the purchase and usage of performance and sports cars in Nigeria. 

Performance and sports car culture in Nigeria is also limited by the bad roads, use of premium fuel, costly and scarce replacement parts as well as engine and exhaust noise. These factors have inevitably shaped the African car culture differently from its counterparts in Europe, the US or the Middle East.

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