Source: Car and Driver
Full Article: 11 of the Wildest Rides of the 2016 Geneva Auto Show
Woven throughout the Geneva auto show, one of Europe’s most prominent, is a collection of bizarre, overpowered, and/or generally quite interesting cars from tuners, aftermarket companies, and boutique manufacturers. It really is quite the spectacle, to be gazing upon factory-made engineering spectacles like the Bugatti Chiron or the Porsche 911 R one minute, and the next be studying the nuances of fiberglass body kits applied to Ferraris and Lamborghinis. One of our all-time favorite such moments came a few years ago, when one tuner had the gall to apply a wooden spoiler—and seemingly 200 pounds of plaster of Paris and cheap wire mesh—to an otherwise perfectly good Ferrari 458 Italia. This year, we found no such overt atrocities, but the viewing of wares by well-established tuners and upstarts alike was still juicy. We’ve gathered a few of the eye-catching cars we found on the show floor here for your enjoyment.
Chinese start-up Techrules has greater ambitions, but for the time being it builds very large paperweights that resemble six-figure super cars. The claimed 1030 horsepower of its AT96 is rendered slightly less impressive by the fact that the company hasn’t yet figured out how to connect half shafts from the electric motors to the wheel hubs.
Oh, and the turbine that’s supposed to recharge the batteries and provide more than 1200 miles of driving range looks like a prop from a bad sci-fi film and the body panels are bolted on with exposed hardware.
Kahn Design Aston Martin Vengeance
Take a good, hard look at the Aston Martin DB9–based Vengeance by Kahn Design. Does it resemble a “coach-built two-door retro classic coupe?” While some of the detailing, especially the serrated grille and the echo of a classic fender bulge running from the front wheels to halfway through each door, might seem vaguely retro, the Vengeance as a whole is very definitely polarizing. Perhaps Kahn is exacting some sort of vengeance on anyone who looks at the Vengeance?
Whatever you think of the Vengeance, its transformation from DB9 to something else involves wider rear fenders, and reshaped aluminum doors, roof, and front fenders. The hood is new, too, as is the composite front fascia and the 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels. The car has accomplished something, however: On the topic of the Vengeance’s creation, Afzal Kahn, the outfit’s owner, has “fulfilled his lifelong ambition to create a car he deemed worthy to drive.”
The Quantino is a prototype built by NanoFlowcell, a German company working on flow battery technology. This very car was actually on display at last year’s Geneva show, but is being re-debuted with a new lower-voltage power system. What hasn’t changed is NanoFlowcell’s explanation of its “flow cell” technology. The idea is to replace conventional batteries with a system that uses refillable tanks filled with negatively and positively charged ionic liquid; when the positive and negative liquids are run across opposite sides of a membrane, a potential difference generates voltage—which can be used to power, say, a car. The conversion of chemical energy to electrical energy is similar to that of a hydrogen fuel cell, which also means that instead of plugging the car in to refuel it, you actually refuel it with the charged ionic fluid, as NanoFlowcell refers to it. Sounds great, right?
It sure does, except for a few details. The NanoFlowcell people claim that, as the ionic liquid is used, it is released into the air as “harmless ionic water dust.” What isn’t clear is by what process this dust/mist/mystery byproduct is converted from ionic liquid—itself a substance that has yet to be elaborated upon by NanoFlowcell—and whether it’s collected into an onboard tank or simply ejected from the vehicle as needed. The relatively small Quantino packs two 42-gallon ionic fluid tanks, one for positively charged liquid, and the other for the negative juice, as well as a 107-hp electric motor driving the rear wheels, an unspecified automatic transmission, and the all-important power-generating flow cell. Somehow, even with all of that and seating for four, the roughly Honda Fit–sized Quantino weighs just 3130 pounds. It isn’t clear whether or not that figure includes the weight of the fuel; assuming the fluid is roughly commensurate with water, filling both onboard tanks would add 700 pounds of ballast. Oh, and the tanks provide 620 miles of range and enough power to launch the Quantino to 60 mph in less than five seconds. The science behind flow cells is real, albeit hardly proven for use in something like a car, so we’ll characterize NanoFlowcell’s advances as beings somewhere short of complete vaporware (ionic water dust–ware?), but consider us skeptical.
AC Schnitzer ACL2 Concept
For nearly 30 years, German tuning firm AC Schnitzer has been manipulating BMW vehicles in an effort to squeeze out mind-blowing levels of performance that surpass even those of BMW’s in-house M division. The BMW M235i–based ACL2 concept may be the tuner’s greenest effort, and while its reptilian hue may be its most obvious modification, rest assured its innards have been addressed in the typically enthusiastic manner. READ MORE >>
The short story is this: The M235i’s engine has been ditched in favor of a unit plucked from under the hood of the M4. The long story goes something like this: Benefiting from an AC Schnitzer performance upgrade—what, you thought they’d go to all that trouble for the M4’s mere 455 ponies?—the M4’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six was massaged to produce a formidable 570 horsepower for ACL2 duty. Contributing the horsepower buffet is an AC Schnitzer downpipe and sports exhaust with special catalytic converter. To dial up the insanity just a bit more, AC Schnitzer eliminated that pesky top-speed limiter while it was in there reprogramming the software. READ MORE >>
Mansory 4XX Siracusa
Mansory’s creations are not known for their subtlety or restraint. Now in its second generation, Mansory’s Siracusa switches from defiling Ferrari’s 458 Italia to that car’s successor, the 488GTB. But wait—the new Siracusa doesn’t look completely tragic! In fact, it vaguely resembles a scaled-down LaFerrari, right down to its FXX K–style split rear spoilerettes. The diffuser, if it’s even functional, practically drags along the ground in a highly impractical manner, and the yellow-accented wheels are a bit much, but taken as a whole, the Siracusa looks far less tuner-y than did the original, 458-based version.
It might be tolerable to behold, but the Siracusa didn’t completely escape Mansory’s hammy fists. The engine has been juiced to shove out a claimed 790 horsepower, shortening the trip to 60 mph by 0.1 second and raising the top speed to 211 mph. (Again, according to Mansory.) Lowering springs likely can’t match the standard 488GTB setup’s elán, and bring the already low car into “avoid speed bump” territory.
Mansory Mercedes-AMG GT S
Just as Mansory borrowed cues from Ferrari’s top-dog LaFerrari for its the 4XX Siracusa, it mined the top (or at least, the late top) of Benz’s lineup for inspiration in designing its tuned Mercedes-AMG GT S. It isn’t difficult to spot echoes of the now-discontinued Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series in the Mansory-fettled AMG GT S, from the bulging fender extensions to the fender vents to the wide-mouth front end. Even the stubby little spoiler on the back mimics the unit fitted to the outgoing Black Series.
The Black Series visuals are backed up by Black Series horsepower, with the modified Mercedes-AMG twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 engine pushing 720 horsepower to the rear wheels. Thanks to the extra power, the GT S’s top speed rises to 205 mph. As was the case with the 4XX Siracusa, Mansory’s Mercedes-AMG GT S is surprisingly restrained, at least externally. Inside, the cabin is a riot of different materials, textures, and colors, with red leather, carbon-look carpeting, white piping, chrome, wood-look appliqués, and more.
It very nearly doesn’t matter what the Nimrod Concorde—or any Nimrod Luxury Cars product, for that matter—looks like when the car is a Nimrod. Perhaps in Europe the Nimrod name doesn’t carry the connotation that it does in English-speaking America, but would you introduce your hot new ride to your friends with that name? Oh well, at least Nimrod appears to have improved on its body kit–making abilities, given how the Concorde lacks any obviously wooden or plaster-derived components.
Is it just us, or does this thing’s rear end (and front end) resemble a bionic mole rat’s sneering mug? Between that and all of the random slats, vents, and extra pieces tacked all over the Ferrari’s once-pretty body, the Concorde lacks only taste. Perhaps this bit of wisdom from Nimrod’s website offers a clue to its motives: “In Monaco it is difficult to stand out from the crowd. But with the NIMROD Concorde you could make a difference.” If the bar is lowered to merely standing out, the Concorde clears it in one fugly step!
Apparently unaware of what “lemon” means to cars here in the U.S., Nimrod doubled down on unfortunate naming schemes with the Nimrod Lemons. This creation, like the Nimrod Concorde, is Ferrari-based, but with splashes of yellow bits all over it and a Hennessey power upgrade for its V-8 that’s good for 738 horsepower.
It’s easy to think that the Lemons name was plucked from the color of the citrus fruit—yes, this is accented in orange, but oranges are a cousin to a lemon, which makes about as much sense as the car itself—but you’d be wrong. It is instead a reference to a fictional Russian woman whom Nimrod has named Lemon (keep your 30 Rock jokes to yourself) who has “sophisticated Italian charm but with the Russian power than can destroy you immediately.” Sounds charming. Apparently, this modified Ferrari 458 Italia is just like Lemon, only pluralized. As Nimrod puts it, “She will take you to her favorite places that you will never forget . . . ever. And you will fall in love with her . . . forever. Let you fall in love!” But will it be forever?
Nimrod Avanti Toro
Do you find Lamborghini’s big, V-12–powered Aventador is too subtle? Nimrod has the solution: Slats. All of the slats. Indeed, the Aventador-based Avanti Toro is perfect for slat-lovers, because nearly every single vent or scoop is peppered with the things. To ensure nobody can miss them, some of the pieces are painted bright red.
Despite looking like a 12-year-old’s doodle during a particularly dry math period, the Avanti Toro isn’t particularly offensive. That has more to do with Lamborghinis being seemingly impervious to all but the worst body modifications, thanks to their wild and crazy styling from the get-go. Sure, there are maybe 67 too many slats, louvers, and other addenda here, but what can we say? It’s a Lambo!
What you’re looking at here is “Generic Supercar, Color Yellow.” That’s the impression we get from upstart supercar-maker Arash’s boringly named AF8. Perhaps it was difficult to spit out a decent name while coping with . . . a rash. (We slay ourselves.) Either way, everybody wants to build supercars, and the Geneva show has long been a revolving door of hopeful supercar and exotic manufacturers, most of whom fold quickly after their 15 minutes in the spotlight. If there’s one thing that helps a budding exotic’s cause, it’s stunning looks. But the AF8 is not a particularly stunning thing to behold; it’s barely whelming.
The Arash Motor Company, as it refers to itself, has lasted longer than most, having first debuted a homebuilt-looking sports-car creation in 2002. Since then, it has revealed just two new models, this, and something called the Farboud GTS. Next came the Falcon, which looks to have formed the basis for the AF8 in that it is exactly the same. Powered by a 7.0-liter V-8 engine that sounds suspiciously like that from the C6 Corvette Z06 and wearing a lightweight carbon-fiber body around a tube-frame chassis, the AF8 seems like a lovely Noble competitor.
Now here’s an interesting idea: Take the yawn-inducing Arash AF8, give it a mini Ferrari Enzo (or even Maserati MC12) body, and stuff it with a claimed 2080 horsepower. Suddenly, having Arash doesn’t seem so bad, right? Using what appears to be the same carbon tub and tube-frame setup as the AF8, the AF10 hybrid manages to fit a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine (again, sounds Corvette-y) in its midsection along with four electric motors dispersed equally among the four wheels. Each electric motor produces a claimed 295 horsepower and is paired with a dedicated two-speed transmission, while the V-8 engine puts down 900 horses. Somehow, the rear motors work in concert with the gas engine to drive the rear wheels.
Incredibly, the max-attack AF10’s performance underwhelms, the car needing a claimed 2.8 seconds to reach 60 mph. Given how much power it has onboard, this is likely a reflection of the very real limits of traction when dealing with a combined 2080 horsepower. Top speed is claimed to be over 200 mph. The price is a bit eye-watering, with the “hybrid” powertrain commanding a nearly $1-million price premium over the base, V-8–only AF10 that starts at $380,000.