Pause for a moment and think about where the world’s fastest and most powerful cars are built. Italy would almost certainly be on your list, and Germany. Detroit likely makes it, as well. But Croatia? Who builds cars in Croatia?
It turns out there are several local manufacturers in that Balkan republic, including Dok-Ing Automotiv and Đuro Đaković, as well a a bunch of factories owned by American and Western European manufacturers like Fiat, Ford and Renault. But one particular marque is making headlines out of the Geneva Motor Show this week – and no surprise considering Rimac Automobili, which was only founded in 2009, is showing off a sleek hypercar making nearly 2,000 horsepower and capable of launching from 0 to 60 in less than two seconds.
But what’s drawing even more interest is the fact that the new Concept Two – like the Concept One before it, is powered entirely by batteries, with four motors, one for each wheel. The new model is already loaded with a suite of sensors, though Rimac is still working on its autonomous software. In the meantime, you can set its Driving Coach function for tips on how to manage your way around some of the world’s top race tracks, with tips on the best race lines and braking and acceleration points.
Live from Geneva! Click Here for our coverage of the 2018 Geneva Motor Show.)
The company was founded by Mate Rimac who, in 2007, started working out of the garage in his home, initially converting a BMW E30 to run on batteries. Two years later he formed Rimac Automobili and set up shop in the village of Sveta Nedejia, not far from the capital of Zagreb.
Concept One, the first in-house model, wasn’t shabby, delivering 1088 horsepower and weighing just 4,079 pounds. And with the batteries mounted in its load floor, the initial model had a low center of gravity which helped its handling – though Richard Hammond, then of the BBC’s Top Gear, still managed to drive one off the side of a hill.
Details of Rimac’s third offering have been rumored for months, but the Croat carmaker appears to have exceeded expectations with the Concept Two making a full 1,914 horsepower and 1,696 pound-feet of torque. That will get you from 0 to 60 in just 1.85 seconds and blow through a quarter mile in 9.1 seconds. Top speed is said to be 258 mph.
At that sort of speed you won’t get very far before needing to recharge the Concept Two’s 120 kilowatt-hour battery pack, but take it a bit more gingerly and the European NEDC test cycle predicts you’ll get an average 404 miles of range. (The U.S. EPA cycle typically is about 20-25% lower.)
Monika Mikac, Rimac’s chief operating officer, claims the new hypercar is not only quicker but also a good bit more comfortable to drive.
The company may have started out of a garage, but theConcept Two is as sleek as anything you might put it up against, with a low and aggressive nose, muscular shoulders framing oversized wheels and tires, butterfly-style doors and various air inlets designed to cool the batteries and motors and improve aerodynamics. There are a variety of active aero systems constantly adjusting the front and rear diffusers, rear wing and hood flaps.
The car’s monocoque is made out of lightweight but strong carbon fiber.
The Concept Two also uses it four motors to maximum effect when torque vectoring.
(Aston Martin goes to extremes with track-only Valkyrie AMR Pro and all-electric Lagonda Vision Concept. Click Here to check them out.)
One might be tempted to compare the Concept Two to the Tesla Model S with Ludicrous Mode – though the American battery-car will be substantially less expensive. Using NEDC results, the Rimac gets about a third less range, the Model S rated at 620 miles. But it’s about a half-second faster off the line. And it’s far more unique, the Croatian company expected to run a very limited build. Word out of Geneva is that the Concept Two will go for a cool $1 million, with production limited to 100 cars.
Rimac claims the Concept Two has a variety of sensors that will eventually give it Tesla Autopilot-like autonomous capabilities. In the meantime, one of the car’s more interesting features is its ability to “load selected racetracks into its on-board systems via the ‘Driving Coach’ function, offering clear and precise guidance on racing lines, braking/acceleration points and steering inputs. A virtual driving coach with a very practical application and learning experience.”
Considering the performance the Rimac Concept Two will be capable of, having a good copilot on hand is not a bad thing.
(Porsche reveals second all-electric model. Click Here for a look at the Mission E Cross Turismo.)