Ex-Jaguar design chief Ian Callum is reviving one of his best-loved designs for a range-extender hypercar that aims to fill the space vacated in 2012 by the stillborn Jaguar C-X75 project, with backing from a Swiss-based Hungarian entrepreneur. The car, costing “several millions”, will utilise top British design and engineering know-how and be built in the UK.
It has been named the Kincsem (pronounced ‘kin-chem’) in tribute to a famed Hungarian racehorse that was brought to the UK in the 1870s and won 54 races from 54 starts, scoring its most momentous victories at Goodwood in West Sussex.
The project’s instigator, industrialist Tibor Bak, wants to combine “British expertise and Hungarian verve” to create the new car, which will have a carbonfibre monocoque chassis and be propelled by four electric motors using power generated by a small, ultra-high-revving normally aspirated petrol engine, possibly of V10 layout.
The engine is designed to rev to around 13,000rpm and to “sound like an F1 car”. Power output from the engine has yet to be specified, but it’s likely to exceed 300bhp.
However, the Kincsem’s total power output will be considerably more than that. Its maker has yet to disclose the total output of the four drive motors, but it promises true hypercar performance.
The Kincsem is intended to be the precursor of a new Hungary-based super-luxury EV brand, with the ultimate aim of launching a range of Callum-designed SUVs, priced to take on the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Bak said that his new business plan involves bringing these to market by 2025.
The Kincsem’s exterior details and shape are expected to be finalised in a full-sized clay model this autumn and a completed prototype will be first seen in public, fittingly, at next year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. A batch of 54 production cars (one for each of the famous racehorse’s wins) is to be made at an as yet undisclosed UK factory.
Although the price has yet to be fixed, there has already been “significant interest” from potential owners who have been contacted discreetly by the Kincsem team. The first production models should reach their owners during 2023.
Bak wants Kincsem to ultimately be a sub-brand used for the most luxurious models his new company produces. The hypercar and the first, plushest SUVs that follow will be separately identified with different names and numbers. After that, there will be a premium SUV made in greater numbers. The brand name Helvetia will be used.
Although the hypercar will be built in the UK, the SUVs – both the luxury model and the following premium one – will come from a new factory yet to be established in Hungary.
In size and layout, the new hypercar will be quite similar to the C-X75, said Bak, although there will be no question of copying the shape of the original Jaguar.
How is it different?
“In lots of ways. It’s 10 years newer, for a start, so processes and materials have moved on. It’s more cab-forward than the C-X75, although that was seen as quite cab-forward at the time. There’s more wedge in the window line, and I’ve tried to come up with a new approach for the front corners, because in many of today’s cars they’re just black holes for taking in cooling air. Also, this car is different from the C-X75 in having no grille. It would have been too similar, and it’s just not necessary.”
What in particular makes it an Ian Callum design?
“Well, the work isn’t finished by any means, so some of these comments will probably be a bit premature. But it’s a fairly soft shape that draws on the forms of some of the greatest Jaguars. It’s structured, but it’s not angular, which is what I like. It has a longish tail, because I prefer that to an abrupt cut-off. It’s trying to be beautiful, not brutal.”
What don’t you like about recent hypercar designs?
“I’m not criticising: there’s some beautiful work out there. But because today’s high-performance cars need so much cooling, some recent supercars have become collections of apertures rather than shapes. They’re dominated by the holes in their bodies. I like my cars to have a cohesive shape, with the vents and scoops more subtly created. The C-X75 had 15 different radiators, but no one said its shape was dominated by holes and scoops.”