Ambitious start-up wants you and three mates to have the ride of your life
Vapourware-o-meters at the ready, people. As here’s another ambitious supercar start-up that wants to plug a niche with a load of money and yet another headline-grabbing 1,000bhp+ hypercar. So, without further ado, please be upstanding for ‘The Naran’ – Naran Automotive’s front-mid engine 1,048bhp, four-seat, GT3-inspired hypercoupe.
Yes, hypercoupe. According to Ameerh Naran, the Indian-Zimbabwean entrepreneur and private jet mogul that founded Naran Automotive, hypercoupes are now a thing. Mainly because he’s always wanted one. So he’s building one. With his own money.
So what exactly is Naran’s ‘The Naran’? Well, there’s quite a lot to unpack and a few contradictions to get your head around, so let’s start with the basics. It’s a limited run (just 49 will be produced, all built in Germany) hardcore 2+2 coupe that’s as wide as an Aventador SVJ and seemingly as long as a Riva boat – even making that Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead in the back of the photos look small. Underneath is a BMW M8 that’s been heavily modified to include new subframes, axles, double wishbones and adjustable roll bars so it can wear that butch carbon cloak on its shoulders.
The M8’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 has also been carried over, albeit heavily modified. It’s been heavily worked on by block boffs Racing Dynamics in Germany - they’ve bored it out to 5.0-litres then changed the stroke and compression to incorporate new, bigger turbos that all come together to deliver a four-figures power on a dyno pull. 1,048bhp, apparently. This is all fed through the same ZF 8-speed auto ‘box as the M8 (again, heavily modified so not to chew itself to death with the new 764lb ft of torque) and BMW’s four-wheel drive system. But if you really want to turn the Pirelli P-Zeros to dust, the option to send everything to the rear wheels is also there. We’d recommend your best pair of Brave Pants for that one.
Considering all that exists so far is a design buck, the projected performance figures are ambitious: 0-60mph in less than 2.3 seconds, 0-100mph in 4.56, a top speed of more than 230mph and 1,377kg of downforce. However, they do have some proper brains working on the project, including EY3 Engineering and Daniel Mense, the folks who worked on the NIO EP9 – the electric car Nürburgring lap record holder… and also a car we’ve yet to see go into mass production.
The design is the work of Jowyn Wong, a man who knows how to pen Instagram famous shapes given he designed Apollo’s reborn GT1 racecar for the road – the Apollo IE – as well as the De Tomaso P72. Both of these have proved themselves popular online but are yet to properly prove themselves under rigorous, independent testing. Which we’re more than happy to do, if they’d give us the chance. Being of such imposing scale (for perspective, the wheels are 22-inches) the design is quite the trick for your brain to digest as the overly aerodynamic flicks, shapes and ducting makes you think it’s a lot more supercar than muscle car; when in reality it’s a bit of both. It kind of reminds us a bit of the MG XPower SV, just with more Sci-Fi flexapeal to it. A bit like if The Mandalorian got busy with a platypus. Inside – well, when it’s finished – Ameerh plans to use his aviation nous to bring in materials that you would see in a private jet cabin. We’re talking wood and marble, but also four-point harnesses. Quite the juxtaposition, huh?
In fact, the whole car is quite the juxtaposition. Ameerh says vehemently that the hypercoupe is not a GT car or a rival to the Koenigsegg Gemera, rather a hardcore car. A hardcore car that’s not stripped out and has a marble interior. Hmm. According to him it will have the excitement of an Aston Martin Vulcan but with the handy ability to ratchet the driver’s seat forward and sling two (presumably small) friends in the back. As well as being fast, he also wants it to be luxurious and finely detailed. But it also has a race car’s flat floor, diffuser, bushings, four-way adjustable Ohlins and centre-lock wheels hiding AP brakes.
As you can imagine, this isn’t going to be cheap, with the Naran starting at £850k but more likely topping out at £1million when people have specced it and added their own individual nameplate. But to develop a car like this is expensive and even though £850k is a lot of money, that doesn’t recoup the costs. Luckily Ameerh has a lot of rich mates who’ve already said they’d buy one, plus a Rolodex of some of the wealthiest people in the world from his jet company to also proposition with it.
Given the world is currently clutching its stomach thanks to a severe economic contraction, it might seem an odd time to launch a brand new hypercar brand. But the Naran team seem determined to see this through, with a rolling development car being built in Northamptonshire and set to be pounded with miles from March next year. First deliveries are set to be 2022, so they’ve got their work cut out.
Now we’ve heard this ambitious storyline many times before, famously by the likes of Dendrobium. So could the Naran just be destined for that stockpile of other fanciful, slightly odd-looking hypercar manufacturers that we see once a year at Goodwood’s Supercar Paddock? Y’know, the W Motors Fenyr Supersports, Arash AF8s and Prato Orages – the kind of cars that get a role as an extra in Fast & Furious XXXVII and then fade away into non-existence? We hope not as this has potential to be a weird niche we dig, but we won’t believe it until we see it. So get cracking, chaps.
Horncastle, R. (2020). The Naran is a 1,048bhp, four-seat, GT3-inspired hypercoupe. [online] Top Gear. Available at: https://www.topgear.com/car-news/first-look/naran-1048bhp-four-seat-gt3-inspired-hypercoupe [Accessed 30 Nov. 2020].