Connaught's V10-powered British coupe
19 July 2006

It’s hard to know which aspect of the new British-made Connaught Type D Syracuse GT is most striking: it uses a supercharged 2.0-litre V10, hits 60mph in 4.3sec, tops out at over 170mph, seats four and costs £64,500. What’s more, there’s a hybrid version on the way, which will use the same 2.0-litre V10, but this time with no supercharger – it will use electric motors instead.

Perhaps the most striking fact of all, however is that Connaught says the first customer car is already under construction, one of five firm orders that the company has taken since the car’s appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed earlier this month.

Connaught intends to build around 300 cars a year, but says that it would be happy to sell its (still unseen) hybrid technology for use on other manufacturer’s cars. They say that the small-capacity V10 provides the smoothest integration with the hybrid power unit, using a CVT gearbox. The hybrid does not use conventional car batteries, instead utilising aviation-grade supercapacitors. In independent testing at Millbrook with a standard four-cylinder engine, it returns fuel consumption improvements of around 20 per cent.

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For the moment, however, only the non-hybrid GT car is available. The car’s narrow-angle V10 is mounted very far back in the tubular steel spaceframe chassis – it is essentially mounted between the front seats - mated to a five-speed Mitchell gearbox that sits behind. The body is made of hand-crafted aluminium panels, the steel and aluminium being bonded via a Twintex thermoplastic composite tub, which prevents electrolytic corrosion.

The show car, which has the signatures of last year’s Ashes-winning England cricket team woven into the seats, will be auctioned for charity.

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