The Mexican-made Vuhl 05 is now on sale in the UK, priced from £59,995.
The open-top sports car slots into a price bracket between rivals such as the £30,573 Ariel Atom and £75,750 Elemental RP1, and uses a 285bhp version of Ford’s four-cylinder 2.0-litre Ecoboost engine to produce an impressive 295bhp.
Power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission, and the car is claimed to be capable of reaching 60mph in 3.5sec. It has a top speed of over 150mph.
The Elemental RP1, by comparison, features a 320bhp version of the same 2.0-litre Ford engine. It is capable of reaching 62mph in an estimated 2.8sec and has a top speed of 165mph.
We've already driven the Vuhl 05 as the company had originally intended to launch the model into the UK market last year. But after some chassis and aerodynamic modifications, the car is now being sold in Britain as this 2016 model.
The Vuhl is based around an aluminium tub, with a steel subframe bolted to it, while the car’s standard bodywork is made from glass-reinforced plastic (GRP). In total the car weighs just 695kg, though a further 30kg can be shaved from this figure with the fitting of optional carbonfibre bodywork, which are available exposed, as opposed to painted.
A new high-flow exhaust system also takes 6kg off the car's weight, and a machined aluminium pedal box also features on the UK-spec car, as do five-point harnesses, a keyless console system, a quieter induction system and upgraded brakes.
The Vuhl 05 features 17in alloy wheels at the front and 18in alloys at the rear, all shod with Michelin rubber. Double-wishbone suspension features at the front and rear. Around 40% of the car’s components are sourced from the UK.
The car’s styling has been led by Vuhl’s Iker Echeverría and the Turin-based Esiete design company, which counts Lamborghini and Pininfarina as clients. The car is therefore packed with fine detailing. "Our customers like motorsport," said Echeverría. "But even though they don’t have a race car, they know what a kill switch and a towing tag are for.”
There are no doors to access the minimalist interior, something which Echeverría says contributes to a “race-car feel in a car you could use on the road every weekend”. Echeverria has previously said a one-make racing series for the car hasn’t been ruled out.
The new car is on display at the London motor show in Battersea this week, where Echeverria added: “This is a momentous occasion for the company as the UK represents a key market for us from both a sales and engineering perspective, with almost half of the components sourced here. We hope many visitors will come to our stand and get a close-up look at our first UK car.”
Vuhl has the capacity to build 50 cars a year at its factory in Mexico City. The company was founded by Alberto Chapa and brothers Guillermo and Iker Echeverría. The Vuhl name is an acronym derived from "vehicles of light weight and high performance". The model 05 is named after the number the Echeverrías' father used throughout his racing career.
“It is naturally very rewarding to have a bank of orders for Mexico and the Middle-East,” said Echeverría. “But we fully recognise the importance of the UK market and have therefore worked especially hard to ready the car for sale in this territory.”
Darren Moss and Sam Sheehan