Arash opens the cage doors for the insane 2,000-hp AF10 hyper-hybrid
Just days ago, we felt pretty confident that the Bugatti Chiron or production Koenigsegg Regera would be the most crazy-powerful car at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. That's now looking very unlikely, as those two will probably come up several hundred horsepower short of the new AF10 from the UK's Arash Motor Company. This wild hybrid hypercar relies on a five-motor "warp drive" to put out 2,080 bhp. If it isn't the most over-the-top, ultra-powerful car in Geneva, we really look forward to seeing what is.
We last heard from Arash two years ago when it showed the AF8. With its derivative styling, mediocre specs and high price tag, it was far from the most intriguing sports car we looked at in 2014, or even March 2014. The new AF10 Hybrid promises to be a much more interesting reveal.
The AF10 name actually predates the AF8 and was Arash's big project after the company, previously Farboud Limited, changed its name in 2006. The original car went through several years of development before making its world debut at MPH The Prestige and Performance Motor Show 2010. It was powered by a 550-hp GM LS7 V8.
Between the name, the looks and the fact that it's still available in 550-hp V8 spec, the 2016 AF10 is more like an evolution than an all-new car launch. The hybrid version is a completely different animal than the V8 car, though, not just a step up, but a couple galaxies away.
When discussing a 2,000-hp car, there's no option but to start with the the powertrain, and in the case of the AF10, it's a very interesting starting point. Arash calls the powertrain a "warp drive," a nickname that would usually get dismissed as cheesy marketing long before making it to our homepage. It seems rather fitting for this particular hybrid set-up, though.
Things start with a 900-bhp supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine (we assume it's from GM, as in past Arash cars, but the origins are not specified). That engine could power a carbon-tubbed sports car pretty convincingly by itself, but it gets help from four German-designed electric motors. With power from a 32-kWh lithium-ion battery, those four motors provide the additional 1,180 bhp needed to reach the 2,080 bhp (1,551 kW) total. Combined torque slides in at 1,681 lb.ft (2,280 Nm).
Channeling over 2,000 horses to four wheels from five power plants is no small task, so Arash assigns it to a team of five gearboxes. The V8 is hooked to the buyer's choice of six-speed manual or paddle-shift, and each electric motor transmits power through a two-speed gearbox. We look forward to getting more specifics in Geneva about how the individual powertrain elements work together and what driving modes are available.
The AF10's "race car for the road"-styled body is made from a CFRP/aluminum honeycomb construction. It's dressed in aerodynamic components, including the large rear wing, active front wing and aerofoils. Below, a 13-piece carbon tub and aluminum front/rear subassemblies provide the structure. The front and rear double-wishbone suspensions rely on active hydraulics to keep performance tight on everything from speed runs to speed bumps.
The AF10 opens up via electro-hydraulic dihedral doors, and the rear engine cover and front trunk lid also have electro-hydraulic hardware. Arash hasn't revealed the interior, but it does say that there's an infotainment system with touch-less satellite navigation. Certain features can be controlled remotely with an Apple Watch or iPhone.
We're not sure how effectively all the carbon fiber and aluminum can offset the weight of five motors and transmissions, and Arash hasn't revealed the curb weight. Performance estimates are solid but not at the world record level you'd expect from a 2,000-hp car: 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) comes in 2.8 seconds, 0-124 mph (200 km/h) in less than 8 seconds, and 0-186 mph (300 km/h) in less than 27 seconds. Passing acceleration from 50 to 75 mph (80 to 121 km/h) takes less than 1.8 seconds, and top speed is just over 200 mph (322 km/h).
The car has some zip to it, and those lower acceleration numbers are good, but overall, the numbers fall flat for such a powerful car. The 0-186 mph and top speed, in particular, are way behind what less powerful cars from brands like Bugatti, Hennessey and Koenigsegg are doing.
Those shortcomings will undoubtedly give potential buyers pause if and when it comes time to compare the AF10 to other seven-figure supercars. The AF10 starts at £1.1 million (US$1.6 million) for the standard hybrid and £1.2 million ($1.7 million) for the "racer" version with roll cage, fire extinguisher, intercom and racing livery. Those who like the AF10's looks but don't want to pony up for the hybrid powertrain (anyone?) can still opt for the 550-hp V8-powered model for £350,000 ($494,000).
We plan to get a closer look at this hybrid-gone-wild in Geneva, where Arash will also be showing the latest evolution of the AF8, the AF8 Cassini pictured in yellow above.
Source: Arash Motor Company