Previously known solely for powerful and more powerful sports cars built atop existing bones, Rezvani surprised the automotive world when it announced it had a hardcore 4x4 deep in the works. Today, it drove that 4x4, called the Tank, out into the light, revealing an "xtreme utility vehicle (XUV)" with 500 hp, looks straight out of Hollywood's latest apocalypse blockbuster, and available add-ons like night vision and ballistic armoring.

At US$178,500 to start, the Tank is far from the simple, utilitarian workhorses it shares some design cues (and actual structure) with, but it could definitely find a niche with well-off doomsday preppers and auto collectors looking to round out their elaborate stables with a unique, new piece.

Boutique utility vehicles have had a bit of a renaissance of late, so perhaps it shouldn't be completely surprising to see a small sports car marque release its own. The past several months have brought to light projects like the Bollinger B1 and Zarooq Sandracer, and the Tank is but another in the growing market.

Unlike the B1 or Sandracer, the Tank is not a ground-up build, but a re-skinned, re-engined Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon with a heavily modified frame and a variety of upgraded pieces. The new body is, of course, the addition that will draw the most attention, for better or worse.

Rezvani has always displayed a keen eye for design, creating sharp sports cars that are both distinctive and quite attractive. We're not sure that eye is quite as keen when it comes to utility vehicles – the Tank is definitely distinctive, but "attractive" isn't a word that we'd use to describe it.

Designer Samir Sadikhov strived to create a military vehicle built for civilian use, a logical starting point for a project like this, but it feels like he picked out too many disparate elements from past and present vehicles, creating what feels like a mishmash of incompatible cues.

The Tank starts off well enough up front, where Rezvani effectively injects modern styling into the strong, upright structure of a burly off-roader meant for mud and rock. The strong nose, integrated headlight and grille design, and floating contrast bumper look both powerful and contemporary, and the appealing look continues up over the near-level hood and upright windscreen.

Where things start to fall apart is along the sides, which look over-stylized to the point of messy. We can almost see an attractively rugged 4x4 if we visually erase the odd front fenders that, instead of flaring out as on a Wrangler, flare straight up and hover weakly over the wheels. The recesses toward the rear might look okay on Rezvani's next sports car, but they're out of place on a slab-sided 4x4.

At the rear, it feels like Rezvani tries too hard to make the Tank modern and different, instead of just keeping it clean, simple and purposeful. The combination of Humvee-like sloped rear roof, straight, upright window and lower fascia, sculpted corners and recessed taillights reaches almost a Pontiac Aztec level of awkward – with no sign of a tent to offset that awkwardness with a little "RV-light" cool factor.

Some observers might disagree and find the Rezvani a unique breath of fresh air, especially when comparing it to the watered-down "urban small SUV" that's been dominating auto shows of late. And for the subset that can afford it, the Tank definitely offers a more convincing blend of rugged construction and off-road capability, seeing how it starts from one of the best off-road platforms on dirt and builds up from there.

Rezvani gives its already-capable Rubicon-based Tank even more off-road potential with two available upgrade packages. The basic off-road package supplies a 6-in lift, 37 x 12.5-in off-road tires, a Dynatrac ProRock 44/60 axle set with e-lockers, and Fox 2.5-in remote reservoir shocks. The "off-road extreme" package brings the same 6 inches of lift but adds in 37 x 13.5-in tires, a Dynatrac ProRock XD60/80 axle set with air lockers and an air compressor, Dynatrac ProGrip front and rear brakes, front 1350 and rear 1410 driveshafts, and Fox 2.5-in internal bypass shocks with DSC.

The Tank puts plenty of power to the ground thanks to the 500-hp 6.4-liter Hemi V8 under its high hood. That engine is good for 430 lb-ft (583 Nm) of torque. You won't find tracks on this particular Tank, but the on-demand four-wheel drive distributes output to all corners whenever extra grip is needed.

The Tank's interior isn't your basic, easy-clean utility vehicle cockpit. With the available leather package, Rezvani will give you a much more luxe look and feel, wrapping the cabin in hand-stitched leather and securing a suede headliner above. The Tank also has a 7.9-in infotainment display and available head-up display. Not one to be satisfied with traditional vehicle doors, Rezvani has swapped the rears for coach doors.

The Tank will probably earn some buys from folks looking to be seen in something totally different and a few drives at the hands of Hollywood super villains, but between its price tag and over-stylized design, we don't see it appealing to the average off-roading enthusiast. We suppose if an aftermarket component-loaded Jeep Wrangler feels like too much effort, a Bentley Bentayga too ritzy, an East Coast Defender too outdated, a Jeep Trackhawk too plain-looking, and a Bollinger B1 too electric, maybe the Tank is for you. Otherwise, probably not.

If you are one of those that appreciates it to the point of putting one in your garage, order books for the $178,500 Tank are open now. You can personalize it with options like FLIR thermal night vision; a ballistic package with Kevlar armor, bulletproof glass, run-flat tires and more; the interior leather package; and a tow package with hitch and front winch. Deliveries are slated to begin before the end of the year.

Have a closer look in the video below and our photo gallery.

Source: Rezvani

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