Relatively unknown in the automotive mainstream, Canada’s Magnum began building open-wheeled race cars and specialized parts in the late 1960s. Now the boutique manufacturer from Quebec has moved to the streets with the introduction of the open-aired, dual-purpose Magnum MK5.

Described as "wedging itself between expensive supercars and track-day cars," the MK5 sports a mid-mounted 4-cylinder engine developing 250 hp married to a 6-speed sequential gearbox. It weighs just 1,200 lbs (545 kg), making for a power-to-weight ratio of 460 bhp per tonne. This ratio helps the car produce a reported 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 240 km/h (150 mph), putting it squarely into international performance waters with Mexico’s VŪHL 05, Britain’s BAC Mono, Austria’s KTM X-Bow GT and most recently New Zealand’s Zenos E10.

Like the other multi-purpose street/track racers in this group, handling is perhaps higher on the priority list than commuter functionality. Magnum’s claim of managing 2G’s on the skidpad could be due in part to its combination of composite body materials, big performance rubbers and a race inspired suspension configuration. On the outside corners, 225/40 R18 tires up front and 265/35 R18 out back attached to 18 inch alloy wheels keep the car on the road. The MK5’s pushrod suspension geometry and inboard 2-way adjustable dampers are similar in concept to systems used in Formula 1 and Lamborghini’s Aventador.

On the design side, the French-Canadian firm certainly seems to have embodied its own language in the modular carbon fiber composite bodywork of the MK5. From a forward three-quarter view, design influences from Acura and Audi spring to mind in the hood and fender department. The MK5’s long nose is also counter to the short-overhang treatments typically used on most track cars. The exaggerated butterfly shape between the front and rear haunches is both visually striking and functional in providing air to the engine and brakes for cooling. The rear section of the car, with its deep inset taillights and linear, boxy finish, speaks to a time when Transformers will walk the earth.

Inside the MK5, drivers and passenger are kept in place by race-inspired carbon fiber seats and 6-point racing harnesses. A built-in GPS-enabled lap-timer, mounted on the removable suede steering wheel gives track feedback during the weekend race events. According to Magnum there’s enough storage space on board for two helmets and a briefcase, so extended camping trips may not be part of the equation.

Magnum says the base price includes “carbon-fiber bodywork and seats, removable racing steering wheel, data-logger system, cockpit adjustable brake bias, rear-view camera & monitor, 6-point racing harnesses, fully adjustable racing dampers and anti-roll bars, ultra-high performance tires, 18-inch ultra-lightweight alloy wheels, and limited-slip differential.”

The Magnum MK5 will be built on an order basis, with an initial annual production rate of 20 cars. Prices start at US$139,000 and deliveries are projected to begin in late 2014.

Source: Magnum Cars

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