The new Ultima RS hypercar: 1200 horsepower and 250 mph for drivers on a budget
The new top dog Ultima hypercar can compete with multi-million dollar dream machines on nearly every performance metric – despite the fact that it costs a fraction of what they do, and offers a totally "analog" manual-shift driving experience for absolute purists. We love it.
British boutique supercar manufacturer Ultima has made a habit of not messing about. The last of its cars we covered was 2015's Evolution, a thousand-horsepower, Le Mans-inspired tire-torture device with a weight figure of just 950 kg (2,094 lb) that made it one of the hardest-accelerating machines in the world, hitting 60 mph (98 km/h) in a Tesla-like 2.3 seconds and 100 mph (161 km/h) in 4.9 seconds.
The new Ultima RS manages to add 200-odd horsepower thanks to a harder state of tune on its top option – a supercharged Chevy LT5 V8, pulling "over 1200" ponies. It also manages to drop 20 kilos (44 lb) from its tube-frame chassis and carbon-everything bodywork for a ludicrous final weight figure of 930 kg (2050 lb).
The performance figures, however, hardly budge. Tire-to-road traction on those rear wheels can only pull so hard, and this thing runs a six-speed Porsche manual gearbox, so you'll have to make do with the same 2.3 seconds for 0-60 mph and just a tenth faster to 100 mph at 4.8 seconds.
Top speed is somewhere over 250 mph (402 km/h), and will depend more on gearing than anything else. Performance specs become pretty academic when you start making these kinds of figures – they're up there with the absolute icons in the hypercar stratosphere, where only multi-million dollar dream machines from Koenigsegg, Bugatti, Pagani, Hennessey and the like dare to soar.
The Ultima RS, however, can be yours as an assembly project kit for a price "around the same ballpark price as a mundane new BMW M3, depending on options selected." This puts it at somewhere around the US$120,000 mark, in its lowest state of tune, which still makes a very decent 430 horsepower, hitting 60 mph (98 km/h) in 3.3 seconds and topping 180 mph (290 km/h) flat out.
That leaves you a ton of money to hot the engine up and tick a lot of carbon option boxes, and still come away with a genuine, knife-edged hypercar for an absolute bargain. And while Ultima hasn't done any world record hunting with it yet, the company says the RS "has the potential to outrun every other road-going hypercar on the market" and that "a clean sweep of every production road car world speed record is not a pipe dream."
It's not going to look super fancy – the interior is all business, with its race-tastic steering wheel, bare gearshift lever and serious seat harnesses, and nary a cup holder or heated seat to be seen.
It will however handle like a full-on race car, pulling massive cornering Gs thanks to its fully adjustable, custom-made Ultima suspension, forged lightweight 19-inch rims and Pilot Sport Cup 2 hoops. And if your passengers are less than whelmed by the lack of luxury, the thunderous acceleration, wild handling and savage brakes – we're talking 3 seconds from 100 mph (161 km/h) to a dead stop on the higher spec brake option – ought to keep them quiet.
Other options include a speed hump-friendly hydraulic lift system and a "truly thunderous" stainless steel exhaust. But you won't find a soft top, and you definitely won't get Ultima to sell you one with a PDK paddle-shift dual clutch auto. These guys are hardcore: "Most manufacturers seem intent on installing as many technological driving aids as they can, steadily numbing that very feel a sports car driver craves. To us, that's almost sacrilege ... There is a craving amongst true driving enthusiasts for the adrenaline pumping analogue sports cars that we produce."
We're all for anything that takes the show-pony ponciness out of high performance motoring and concentrates on pure performance and pure driving exhilaration. In an Instagram world where price tags equal cred and hypercars are investment pieces, the Ultima RS looks like a people's speed machine for true driving enthusiasts. Bravo.
Check out a hilariously over-edited video below, or a ton of photos in the gallery.
Source: Ultima Sports