The chief engineer behind the Eterniti Hemera, the first offering from British car maker Eterniti Motors, has described the firm’s new luxury vehicle as an ‘SUV meets BMW M5’.
The north-west London-based manufacturer is deep into its testing programme with the Eterniti Hemera, with ex-Jaguar engineering guru Alastair Macqueen overseeing development of the 600bhp super-SUV.
As the rendering shows, the car's final styling is taking shape, although this image doesn't show the definitive version – changes to the front lights and splitter area are planned, for example.
Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert, who is a brand ambassador and test driver, sampled the machine – which is based on the underpinnings of a Porsche Cayenne Turbo S – for the first time at a test venue in Warwickshire last week.
“Johnny said he didn’t realise an SUV could go around a go-kart track that well,” said Macqueen. “The Hemera has a responsiveness that I’ve never felt in an SUV. The immediacy is tremendous. A ‘sporting-luxury SUV’ might sound like an oxymoron, but I’m confident we can achieve what we set out to do.”
Company chiefs say the final specification of the Hemera is about 80 per cent complete. The car uses the 4.8-litre V8 from the Cayenne Turbo S, but the engine has been tuned to produce about 600bhp. Three prototypes currently exist: one each to assess interior and exterior trim options, and the third as a test mule that Macqueen is using for his daily drive.
Thanks to a ground-up chassis rebuild of the Cayenne base vehicle, the Hemera is lower, wider and has a lower centre of gravity. Rear legroom has been extended by 120mm by moving the rear seats upwards and backwards. Although boot space has been compromised as a result, Eterniti believes its customers will not use the vehicle for load-lugging.
The Hemera will be offered with super-lightweight 23-inch wheel rims and low-profile tyres as standard, although Macqueen insists the ride will still be refined.
“The ride won’t be limo-like, but in the realms of a sports saloon,” said Macqueen. “It will be sufficiently composed. We’re going for a younger buyer than for cars such as the S-class and long wheelbase A8, which in China are regarded as cars for older people. We want Hemera buyers to be able to sit in the back and be chauffeured, but occasionally get behind the wheel and enjoy the car.”
The Eterniti Hemera is set to appear in its final production form at the Beijing motor show in April next year and hit the showrooms ahead of other planned luxury SUVs from the likes of Bentley and Maserati.
A target of 50 sales has been set for the Hemera’s first full year of production, with 90 per cent going to China and the rest split between Russia, Europe and the Middle East. The price will be ‘above £150k’, with a variety of bespoke options available.
Eterniti is planning a Far East operations hub in Hong Kong to mirror the one that is under construction in Park Royal, London.