Porsche's Cayenne Turbo, BMW's X6M, and Mercedes' ML63 are a hit with buyers. They're big, comfortable, and most of all, fast. But they're in for a shock. There's a new kid in town, a true off-road super ute.
As I drift around a field for what feels like the 150th time, laughing like a maniac and plowing four huge ruts in the soil, it occurs to me that the Bowler Nemesis EXR might just be the most innovative supercar on the road. Or off it.
Independent rally raider Drew Bowler's home-brewed creations were a constant thorn in the side of the works teams on the infamous Dakar Rally and other brutal long-distance rallies. Eventually fellow competitors asked him to build cars for them, and Bowler Offroad was born.
The Nemesis is the third race-bred model in the lineup, and the EXR is the company's first road car. And while it might look like a heavily modified Range Rover
Sport upon which its loosely based, underneath it is nothing of the sort. That is clear the first time I fire up the 500 horsepower supercharged five-liter and fire the car down the field Drew has set aside for this unconventional test.
The acceleration, even on this surface, is borderline insane. On tarmac it hits 62 mph in 3.9 seconds, just a couple of ticks behind the Lamborghini
LP560-4. And even on this track it isn't much slower, as the 22-inch wheels find their footing and the blown V-8 slings roughly 3850 pounds of Spartan warrior towards the horizon. With 461 pound-feet of torque it really doesn't need the revs. Just plant the throttle and it takes off.
Stones hit the floor like a violent volleys of machine-gun fire, and the engine note roars around the cabin, which contains a dashboard, plush leather-trimmed race seats, and not much else. There's some prototype trim, and Bowler intends to offer any level of comfort, from a stripped weekend warrior on rally spec suspension to a fully appointed luxury car that sits more than 2 inches lower than the Rover
Sport and comes replete with leather and aluminum and copious sound-deadening. It also comes with a lower-slung bodykit. All of those options add weight and slow the car down, though, and there's something deeply satisfying about this hooligan spec machine.