In the pantheon of supercars, it’s kind of hard to stand out. With so much sexy sheet metal in showrooms already, how can an upstart compete? Why not build a car that really is “super?” Forget style, luxury, and brand recognition; supercars are supposed to be about one thing: performance. Enter the Gumpert Apollo, an ugly car with an ugly name that is capable of ungodly speeds. Two new versions of this world-beating monster were just unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.
The Apollo was no slouch to begin with. The current Apollo S packs a 4.2-liter Audi V8 (similar to the motor in the R8), which produces 750 hp and 663 lb-ft of torque. That means the top-spec Apollo can do 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 223 mph. Aiding the quest for speed is a lightweight, aerodynamically optimized, body (which accounts for the ugliness).
Turning things up a notch is the Apollo R, a racing version of the S that is so extreme, it isn’t street legal. For the Apollo R (inset photo), the Audi V8 gets enhanced air intake ducts and engine/transmission cooling, some tweaks to the ignition and timing, and a race exhaust system. That all adds up to an astounding 860 hp, in a car that only weighs 2,425 pounds. A Lambirghini Aventador weighs 3817 lb, and has “only” 691 horsepower.
To suit the Apollo R’s hardcore performance, Gumpert says “all frills were removed” from the cabin. Drivers get a digital display instead of gauges, switches on the steering wheel to control the transmission, some seats, and a steering wheel. The driving experience will probably be akin to summoning Cthulu.
For gentleman racers who might think the Apollo R is too extreme, Gumpert prepared a more civilized model, called the Enraged. Gumpert says this limited edition is street legal, but just barely. The Apollo Enraged (top photo) has to make do with 780 hp, 30 more than the formerly-top dog Apollo S. Gumpert says the Enraged will beat the Apollo S’ 0-60 time, and that only three will be built.
If you’ve never heard of Gumpert, don’t feel bad. The company hand-builds its cars out of carbon fiber and Audi parts in a small factory in Altenburg, Germany. A few have been imported to the U.S. but, with a sticker price of roughly $550,000, they are extremely rare. Like Ferrari, Porsche, and Lamborghini, Gumpert is named after its founder. Roland Gumpert led the development of Audi’s quatro all-wheel drive system; under his direction, Audi Sport won four World Rally Championship titles.
Only a racer could create a car like the Apollo. Most supercars try to balance performance with style and comfort. Trying to please everyone can be a bit boring; it’s nice to see at least one car maker going crazy.