Spyker CEO Victor Muller has said his company will develop combustion-engined, manual sports cars long into the future, despite pressure from regulators to switch to greener powertrains.
In an exclusive interview with Autocar, Muller said he disliked the idea of an all-electric sports car because “electric engines are not very exciting to drive”.
He said: “If I take away the sensation of a V8 or a V12 from a super or sports car, I think it will be very hard to sell. [With electric cars], we’re not yet able to replicate the feeling you get when you switch the ESP off in a manual gearbox car.”
Muller’s beliefs are mirrored in the sales figures of the recently unveiled Spyker C8 Preliator, which has been ordered in manual guise by 86% of customers.
“Forty-three of the 50 Preliator orders have been for a stick, showing that the manual gearbox is back with a vengeance,” he said. “It shows that it’s impossible to predict where the market is going to go.”
Half of Preliator buyers are from the US, and Muller said the manual gearbox is increasingly ‘fashionable’ there. “[Compared with other markets], not many in the US can drive stick. So there it’s cooler to drive a manual.” However, Muller believes all-electric powertrains are relevant in SUVs and he wants to produce such a model next year. “If I drive an SUV, I don’t mind having a quiet engine. Electric power is therefore sellable here.”
The SUV will take heavy influence from the 2006 D12 Peking-to-Paris concept and will also be offered with a V12.