The Aspid is a new, exciting and technically-advanced luxury sports car, from automotive engineering consultancy IFR Automotive, making its world debut at the British International Motor Show. Very much a driver’s car, it offers exceptional performance, agility and style. It is also small, lightweight and ultra compact.
IFR’s luxury two-seater is the result of an uncompromised five-year development programme by a top team of professional automotive engineers who have set out to create a vehicle with distinctive looks, outstanding road holding, the most predictable handling possible, and exceptional levels of performance both on and off the track.
The extensive engineering has resulted in a highly developed sports car with well resolved vehicle dynamics. Notably, the Aspid delivers its track performance without compromising the ease and reliability with which it can be driven about town and in the countryside. Another desirable quality is that it makes the most efficient use of its available space and is extremely well packaged.
As a technology showcase for demonstrating the company’s design and engineering capabilities, the Aspid’s packed with advanced technical features and patented innovations. The strong immensely stiff chassis, for example, underpins the car’s superb dynamic performance and tenacious road holding, while the car’s compactness and low mass ensures excellent fuel economy and correspondingly low CO2 emissions.
The Aspid is the only car in the world to meet both FIA safety requirements and European homologation standards. This means it already has the strength within its main body structure to avoid the need for an additional roll cage; it really can be driven from the road directly onto the race track without the need for any special preparation. And after a hard race the car is robust, durable and safe enough to be driven again on public roads.
Aspid prototypes feature a 2-litre engine; either naturally aspirated to deliver 270bhp or supercharged to 400bhp. The engines are highly modified by IFR, such that the engine block can be sourced from a number of possible suppliers. Power is delivered to the rear wheels through a manual 6-speed gearbox and limited-slip differential.
The lightweight aluminum and carbon structure of the car, which has a mass of just 700kg (1,550lb) and the resulting 570bhp-per-tonne (1.75kg/bhp) power-to-weight ratio gives awe-inspiring acceleration on the track, with the car reaching 62mph (100km/h) in 2.8 seconds and 100mph (160km/h) in 5.9 seconds.
That, however, is only half the story since the car has equally remarkable braking performance and can stop dead in its tracks from 100mph (160km/h) in 3.0 seconds. When cornering, the car can generate enormous grip and an intense 1.6g of lateral acceleration. Maximum speed is restricted to 155mph (250km/h).
The Aspid’s natural proving ground for its development includes the notorious mountainous roads used for the main stages of the Catalonia Rally. The mountains are near Reus in northern Spain, where the company is based, close to the coastal cities of Tarragona and Barcelona. Also conveniently nearby are the new vehicle technology park and race circuits of the MotorLand Aragón project now under construction at Alcañiz.
Following its exclusive motor show preview and final testing of the car, journalists will have the opportunity to drive the first production models later this year. With advance orders already taken, a six month lead time for components, and the company aiming initially to build cars at the rate of just one a week, the first customers can expect to take delivery next summer.
With a long list of options, no two Aspids will be exactly alike. And with each one tailored to the precise needs of each individual customer the anticipated base price of £75,000 (€95,000) and upwards for this ultra-exclusive super-quick luxury sports car, which is full of quality bespoke parts, can only serve as an approximate guide. Expect fully loaded models to cost twice as much.
So what’s behind the name? Aspid is the Spanish name for the small and very quick snake that killed Cleopatra. It is thought to have been a member of the cobra or viper family and is native to southern Europe. And as we all know vipers and cobras tend to move very quickly.
The Aspid and its main technical innovations will be displayed at the British International Motor Show in London docklands in the north hall (stand N8A) of the ExCel exhibition centre. The show runs from Wednesday 23 July to Sunday 3 August 2008.