Roland Gumpert builds very intriguing rides. Take his bread-and-butter model, the Apollo. It shocked international media back in 2005 with its "Transformers"-meets-"Tron" looks and wowed them with its racecar-derived athleticism (a standard model hits 62 mph from nil in around 3.1 seconds). Since then, the car has been a tough sell even in the extremely exclusive hyper-car world, which is largely immune to economic woes. Buyers willing to shell out $500,000-plus must forgo a lot in terms of comfort and convenience, and not many multi-millionaires like the sound of that.
Now, Gumpert has partnered with famed Italian coachbuilder Touring Superleggera (whose clients include Bentley
and Ferrari, among others) to create a model that is substantially more civilized than the Apollo, but no less potent. It's called the Tornante, or "Fast Tourer," and the partners say the car redefines the two-seat coupe segment. It is sporty, elegant, luxurious, and yes, fast. While that sounds like artificially sweetened marketing jargon, the Tornante does look as shocking and futuristic as its Apollo sibling.
Forits Geneva Show debut, the Tornante remains a static prototype meant to test the new chassis and fitment of the mid-engine V-8. Its lines are smooth and long, and ooze Italian influence. Designers made sure to use some of the Apollo's lightweight technologies such as composite body panels and a chrome-molybdenum steel space frame. Passengers are surrounded by an extremely stout carbon-fiber monocoque and enter and exit via gull-wing doors. Builders incorporated inboard double A-arm suspension for improved grip and long distance comfort.
Gumpert ApolloThe Audi-sourced 4.2-liter V-8 gets twin-turbocharged and sits mid-belly for optimal weight distribution. The German heart pumps out 700 horsepower in base trim (similar to the Apollo), so we can expect at least that amount of power in forthcoming production models. All of the might is routed through a TT40E six-speed automated manual gearbox with paddle shifters.
If you're wondering, the Tornante will "probably" be available in the U.S. market, a company spokesman tells us. Final testing is still underway, but European roads can expect the finished exotic sometime next year. Our source also says to look out for an "alternative powered" version (i.e. hybrid, electric, etc.) to arrive in 2012. More details are sure to arrive soon, so stay tuned.