Power is 395bhp and torque 354lb ft - price £194,000
Raw speed doesn't mark thsi car out, but its charm does
Brake feel is a current problem - but is being worked on
No question, if you buy one of these then you have to like being stared at
The engine and six-speed semi-auto gearbox have been lifted straight out of an Audi S4
It isn’t as quick as you’d expect given its impressive power-to-weight ratio
Cabin quality is peerless, and at core of Spyker philosophy
Spyker customers include Jennifer Lopez and Missy Elliot
Interior quality goes a long way towards justifying the eye-watering price tag
Mid-engined space frame aluminium chassis has been designed and set up for Spyker by Lotus
Louis Vuitton luggage is a £17,800 option
Spyker's motto - 'For the tenacious no road is impassable'
What is it?
The C8 Aileron is Dutch car company Spyker’s latest and, undoubtedly, its greatest road car creation. It emanates from the same fearless men of orange who, over the last 10 years, have systematically entered and then dropped out of F1, bought Saab and, in the meantime, produced some of the world’s weirdest supercars. Spyker is not, it is fair to summise, your typical sports car company.
To give you an idea what sort of outfit we’re talking about, Spyker’s motto is Nulla Tenaci invia est via. Translated literally this means; For the tenacious no road is impassable. Or to put it another way; anything in life is possible – so long you’ve got the balls for it. And the new £194,000, 395bhp V8 Aileron certainly has plenty of cojones.
Yet beneath its strikingly aggressive, aircraft industry influenced styling – complete with jet turbine wheel design and jet engine inspired air intakes – the C8 is an extremely serious piece of kit. The engine and six-speed semi-auto gearbox have been lifted straight out of an Audi S4 and then tuned to suit Spyker’s needs, while the mid-engined space frame aluminium chassis has been designed and set up for Spyker by Lotus.
Power is 395bhp and torque 354lb ft, and if you think these numbers seem somewhat underwhelming in return for £194,000, you need to understand two key things about the Aileron; one, it is made mostly from aluminium and therefore weighs an impressively lithe 1425kg as a result.
Two, although it’s meant to be a quick car, the Aileron’s prime motivation is not to destroy its opposition with raw speed. Instead, says Spyker, this car is built to charm its audience with a unique combination of style, grace, pace and exclusivity. The fact that it’s not as fast as similarly priced rivals from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin et al doesn’t really matter, as far as Spyker is concerned – because Spyker knows its customers aren’t interested in pure speed.
What does matter, according to Spyker, is how the Aileron car will feel, sound, look and satisfy its small band of merry owners, of which there will be between 80-100 each year, and all of which will already own a small fleet of much faster supercars as well. Spyker’s current client base includes none other than Jennifer Lopez and Missy Elliot, natch.
What’s it like?
In many ways the Aileron is a peculiarly beguiling car, even if it isn’t as quick as you’d expect given its impressive power-to-weight ratio. The good bits include the thunderous noise it makes, the quite extraordinarily exquisite cabin design, the way it steers (which is to say, quite beautifully), and its handling and ride. Oh yes, and its bespoke Louis Vuitton luggage.
Spyker is dead proud of the fact that it is the first car company in the world to persuade Louis Vuitton to make luggage for its cars as an option. Then again, this particular option does cost, deep breath, just under 20,000 euros (17,800). More than anything else, this gives the clearest idea what sort of market the Aileron is aimed at. Namely, the very rich indeed.
The bad bits are the brakes – which are snatchy but powerful at the moment but are due to be reworked on by AP before the car goes on sale anyway – the slightly unamazing straight line performance, the poor rear visibility and, of course, the seemingly bonkers showroom price.
It’s only when you climb into and drive the Aileron that the justification for such pricing becomes apparent, however. But when you “get” the Aileron, when you discover how beautifully made it is inside and out, and appreciate just how much craftsmanship has gone into its creation, the price no longer seems quite so silly. In fact, it almost starts to seem like good value.
Should I buy one?
Only if you are very rich and very confident in your own sense of taste – and very happy to be gawped at wherever you go. It would also help if you were as pleasantly unhinged as the good people from Spyker itself, too. And if all those boxes are ticked then, yes, what’s not to like about a car as beguiling as this?