The prize for the fastest, most powerful and most expensive car on display at this year’s NYIAS probably has to go to the 2,201 hp (2,231 hp) Deus Vayanne electric hypercar. So why do I want to give it a second gong for being the most annoying?
Here’s why: Deus seems to have forgotten that there’s more to a supercar than super performance. Everyone loves a sleeper when the car is a sedan or a wagon, but an exotic two-seat millionaire’s toy whose main selling points are a funky set of taillights and power that sounds crazy now, but will have without no doubt look ordinary the moment you can. buy one, it lacks a trick in our opinion.
I remember the time around 2009 when I and colleagues from Car Magazine were invited to view the still-secret MP4-12C at the McLaren Technology Center months before it was publicly revealed. When design boss Frank Stephenson, who had been recruited into the project late in the day and was only able to make small changes to the already completed design, removed the covers, we were shocked at how point it looked bland.
As the first McLaren road car since the legendary F1, the 12C was huge business for the new McLaren Automotive. Still, it already looked dated, and still had a few years left in showrooms, as did the Vayanne, which shouldn’t be ready until 2025. McLaren quickly rectified its mistake, and the 720S which has eventually replaced the 12C (or the 650S it was restyled to become) was bold, inventive and distinctive, three characteristics entirely absent from the Vayanne.
Related: Deus Vayanne is an electric hypercar with over 2,200 HP limited to 99 units
Despite relying on the styling talents of legendary design house Ital Design, Austrian supercar newcomer Deus has ended up with a car that looks almost entirely forgettable. Ever wanted to know what happened to the Ferrari 458 when it retired from the game, stopped training and turned into a grumpy old man? Take a look at the bulging front end of the Vayanne for your answer.
The midsection is also thick and saggy. EVs are heavy by design under the skin, but the best EV exterior designs work hard to disguise this. The Vayanne does not. The only vaguely interesting thing about it is that infinite loop taillight pattern, although it’s far less interesting than the rear of the conceptually similar Lotus Evija. And doesn’t it look more like Zuckerburg and Co’s new Meta logo? Don’t buy one of these and be annoyed if people ask you if this is Facebook’s new car.
I’m going after Deus, but in all honesty steer clear of the established names, and the world is full of incredibly spin-off supercars whose styling doesn’t quite match the excitement no doubt generated when you’re behind the wheel. The Rimac Nevera? It may be the fastest accelerating production car in the world, but my heart rate remains slow and steady when I look at it.
The world of starter supercars is like the Korean auto industry 15 or 20 years ago. Hyundai and Kia struggled to create brand identities and too often relied on copying the designs of established players until they had developed their own design language.
The Vayanne could be fantastic to drive, and with an all-new electric platform from Williams Advanced Engineering and that headline-grabbing 2,201 PS (2,231 hp), taking it to 62 mph (100 km/h ) in 1.99 seconds, and on a top speed of 248 mph (400 km/h), it certainly won’t be boring from the driver’s seat.
But where’s the drama, the wow factor, the rock star sizzle? You might not like the look of the hydrogen-powered Hyperion XP-1 (pictured below), but at least it covers those bases and proves it’s possible to create a supercar that doesn’t look like to a poor copy of every other supercar.
Related: The new Hyperion XP-1 is an American hydrogen-powered hypercar promising a range of over 1,000 miles and +221 MPH
You could say you wouldn’t care how a car looked if it was as fast as the Vayanne claims to be. But I would say good design is more important now than ever. It’s very hard to use a car’s full performance potential with half that power, and it’s only likely to get harder with future restrictions on our speed and its oversight.
On top of that, it’s going to get harder for manufacturers to make the giant leaps in performance we’ve seen in the past when cars like the McLaren F1, Bugatti Veyron and Rimac Nevera opened up new performance chapters. in the book of supercars. Like Olympians chasing 100m glory, future 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) records are likely to be shattered, not reduced, and few automakers will bother trying to exceed 300 mph (483 km/h) like Bugatti does with the Super Sport 300+.
That’s why getting the design right, inside and out, is so important. Bugatti is famous for the speed of its cars, but less talked about, though just as important, is the focus on quality materials. If you’re lucky enough to sit inside a Chiron, you’ll notice there’s almost no visible plastic. Each surface is covered in leather or composite, each button is in metal. The steering wheel is carved from a solid piece of billet aluminum, for heaven’s sake.
And when you’re cruising through city traffic on your way to the casino in Monaco, unable to use more than about 30 of your W16’s available 1479bhp (1500hp), it’s the Chiron’s quality that will remind you why it was a good idea to spend the mansion money on a toy.
Contrast that with the Vayanne’s interior, which, aside from the funky lighting, certainly delivers on those exterior lines. Low-volume manufacturers have traditionally relied on parts from major OEMs because it’s more cost-effective than tooling to make custom components, but buyers at this price point certainly aren’t expecting to jump in. in what is likely to be a $3 million-plus car and be up against the switchgear and instrument cluster of a $50,000 BMW. And why does the whole cabin look like the inside of a sedan?
Related: Williams and Italdesign team up for high-performance EV architecture
Deus says it only makes 99 examples of the Vayanne, and you can bet there will be enough ultra-rich guys to buy the production. But it strikes us as a car built by great minds and packed with fascinating technology in the form of that Williams platform that’s let down by a lack of imagination.
But maybe we are wrong. What do you think of the Deus and its contemporary New Age hypercars? Leave a comment and let us know.