Zenvo's all-new Aurora V12 hybrid hypercar rocks lots of big holes
The world's most powerful production V12 engine now has a home. Danish concern Zenvo Automotive has plonked it in a brand-new pair of unobtanium hypercars, aided and abetted by electric motors for seriously silly power, acceleration and speed.
Denmark's Zenvo Aurora, set to be thrown before the beady, judging eyes of the unworthy proletariat at Monterey Car Week, will be available in two models: the Agil and the Tur.
The track-focused Agil would be the more likely of the two to wear its baseball cap backwards, and echoes Zenvos of days gone by, by furnishing an enormous, active rear wing. Mind you, it's not nearly as active as the wing on the old TSR-S, which was notable for its habit of tilting jauntily sideways as the car goes into a turn, allegedly placing extra downforce over the inside rear wheel to stop it from lifting, and generating a centripetal aerodynamic force pulling the car toward the inside of the corner.
The Agil's rear wing abandons this idea, and simply flips up to operate as an air brake, suggesting that the most interesting and unique feature of the TSR-S might not actually work all that well. A bajillion-dollar hypercar that's more about appearance and attention than function? Tell me it ain't so.
Either way, the Agil is focused on downforce, agility and lightweighting in the name of racetrack relevance, promulgating the fiction that buyers will go and thrash this thing about or race it, instead of sitting it on a rotating pedestal in the atrium of some soulless penthouse where it'll appreciate at the rate of 30-40 teacher's salaries a year.
This lightweighting extends to the point where wafer-thin seat pads are glued directly to the carbon monocoque tub; you don't adjust the seats in an Aurora, you can't. You move the steering wheel and pedals around instead.
In achieving a weight around 1,300 kg (2,866 lb), the Agil also abandons the all-wheel drive system used on the Tur model, deeming the 400 kilowatts (536 hp) added by the two electric motors on the Tur's front wheels as less helpful than the weight saved in their absence.
That's a heck of a lot of horsepower to decide you don't really need, but then the Agil's rear-wheel-drive powertrain still gets the full 1,250 hp from that ridiculous Zenvo/Mahle V12 engine, plus a bonus 200 hp from a single electric motor integrated into the donk to fill in any power gaps you might experience as your quartet of turbochargers are getting out of bed or recovering from a sneeze.
Some 1,450 of total peak horsepower and 1,400 Nm (1,033 lb-ft) of torque helps the Agil sail comfortably past the magical one-horsepower-per-kilogram power-to-weight mark, which always used to make me picture a Clydesdale hauling a single pineapple around, until the day my innocence was shattered and I learned horses actually peak at somewhere closer to 15 horsepower.
I take some solace in the fact that the very bounder that came up with the idea of horsepower now has to endure the indignity of having a replacement metric term named after him. Suffer in your jocks, sir.
Either way, the Agil is the one you want if you're pretending you'll be shaving tenths against the Miata bros at your local racetrack. The Tur model is described as more "subtle" and "elegant" – "an iron fist in a velvet glove," according to Chief Designer Christian Brandt, and it's the one to get if you're pretending you're going to put miles on it.
It's not the thickest velvet glove we've ever seen; the seats look almost exactly as luxurious as the ones spray-painted onto the tub in the track version – the only apparent difference being the luxurious decadence of stitchless leather covers.
As the more street- and touring-focused Aurora, the Tur gets those extra front wheel motors, boosting peak power to 1,850 bhp, enabling acceleration to the tune of 2.3 seconds from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph), and a street- and touring-friendly top speed of 450 km/h (280 mph).
The track-focused Agil, on the other hand, will only go 365 km/h (227 mph), so the message is clear: keep your high-speed shenanigans on the street, you hoodlums, the track is no place to go fast.
As with many recent hypercars, the Aurora's chief design feature is a series of huge holes. Gaping aero-chasms separate the front and rear wheels from the central frame, giving you a clean look at the inside of the front tires from the driver's seat.
The holes at the front might make squirrels think they've got a fighting chance of avoiding becoming roadkill if they jump at just the right time and clear the colossal expanse of the front splitter, but there's bad news behind that in the form of some stern-looking suspension linkages that are unlikely to tickle.
Front and back end alike show plenty of exposed struts, springs and structural-looking bits, as well as the requisite aero channels and diffusers. Indeed, the designers say they've tried to expose the mechanical workings of this car wherever possible, taking motorcycle and watch design as inspirations.
Weirdly, this doesn't extend as far as the centerpiece V12 engine, which is arguably the most mechanical part of this whole affair but finds itself completely hidden beneath a carbon cover that looks ... well, kind of like a vacuum attachment. But hey.
The Aurora might not have the same fun tilting rear wing as its predecessor, but it does have a party trick. Two of the three traditional-looking dial gauges that make up its dash are designed to swivel around, revealing circular, color infotainment screens controlled through thumb buttons, instead of the fiddly touchscreens that many drivers are now wishing never made it into the console.
If I was a cynic, which I can sometimes become when faced with the task of writing about ultra-exclusive gasoline-powered hypercars as the world burns, I might quip that those little dials will probably do more revolutions than the wheels on a lot of these new Zenvos. But that could be seen as bitter and crass, so I shan't.
Zenvo is making 50 Aurora Agils and 50 Aurora Turs. Prices start at US$2.83 million, if that's remotely relevant. Have a look and listen in the video below, if you can handle the British voiceover gent's rather disturbing attempt at an erotic pillow-talk tone. I, for one, can not.
Source: Zenvo Automotive