We have a thing called #namethatconcept on the facebook page of this website, where we post a few photos of a long-forgotten concept car and survey the group for info and answers.
Some are much, much easier than others to decipher. It is a way to remind us that the old-school car mags showing one image of a concept years ago might not have been enough to appreciate and remember its intricate details.
Before posting the photos of these concepts, we usually know the answer to what they are. But sometimes… we do not. The photos are often downloaded by yours truly from news agencies with file names like P9870436786, and any detail about what show they were from or what the make/model was is out the window. Reverse google image searches in the case of this mystery in white turned up nothing of value.
But we have tracked down the origin or yesterday’s riddle: This is the 2010 Hispano Suiza Gran Turismo XIOV.
The design is brutal and seems a bit crude at first. You know in your heart of hearts that it must be a rebody of some other car? How else could a vaporware supercar be so well-resolved, clearly safe for road use with functional brakes and lights, and a full cabin?
We could not place the proportions of this car with another. Corvette re-shell? It certainly looks front-engined? But the windshield rake is too steep and stubby for the Corvette. So what is it?
Question time is partially over. This is the Hispano-Suiza XIOV, a rebirth of the marque revealed at the 2010 Geneva motor show. Hispano-Suiza made cars from 1904-1936, and many are highly valuable now.
It is a re-skinned Audi R8 V10, but with a dramatic new design for every body element and almost all interior fittings. The engine itself now has two turbochargers and pushes a quoted 850-horsepower. The one give-away are the internal LED brake light shapes – which when lit are recognizable from the R8.
2010 was obviously a hard time to launch a hypercar brand, and it takes a lot of capital commitment to deliver production models. The one exception to the 99-percent-will-fail rule is W Motors and the Lykan Hypersport — selling briskly at $5-million each, based in a Dubai skyscraper, and running Porsche RUF engines in bespoke carbon-fiber chassis designs. Finest suppliers from OEM world.
Is the Hispano Suiza XIOV (pronounced “gheee–ohhh–veee”) dead on arrival?
The signs are not good for being able to buy one today as a 2015 model. The website of the firm, http://www.hispanosuiza.de/, is a single-page entity housing a digital brochure/flipbook. We have emails out to the addresses in Switzerland about the car, and the addresses did not bounce back.
So that is good.
Assuming you can buy one of these, the design is what will lure you most. Its sharp and shark-like front end is unlike the bottle-nose appearance of the R8, making for a longer and more elegant shape. The performance is surely stunning, with manual or DSG S-Tronic gearbox choices to select from.
Pricing is a firm unknown. We would ballpark $150,000 for the R8 V10, and an extra $300,000 for the change-over into Hispano Suiza form. Little change from a half-million-dollar check, in other words. It will theoretically be road legal as its registration will still say Audi R8.
The last bit is the Hispano-Suiza name. Famous from the Dubonnet Xenia we love to such, the licensing and name usage rights appear to be unresolved. There have been rumors on Autoblog and elsewhere that the use of the name may not be this new firm’s legal right.
In fact, the rightful owners of the Hispano-Suiza name were furious when this car came out sharing badges and their IP without permission. Legal statement below.
This is not a slam-dunk for the claimed owners of the Hispano Suiza name. Their trademark coupe well have lapsed long ago. But the badges are another matter, and would likely still be in breach of copyright. Regardless, the last thing a new supercar needs is a legal battle right from the very beginning.
We hope they figure it out. There is an eager market for vehicles like this in supercar havens like Singapore, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi.
Watch this space for updates if we hear back from the company.
2010 Hispano Suiza Gran Turismo XIOV
2010 Hispano Suiza Gran Turismo XIOV
Engine: 5.2L FSI V10 with direct fuel injection, twin turbo
Displacement: 5204 cc
Transmission: 6-speed manual gearbox, optional automatic 6-speed – gearbox with pedal shift
Drive: permanent all-wheel drive
Clutch: Double-plate clutch
Engine power(max.): 850HP at 8.200 rpm
Torque (max.): 625 lb-ft at 6,650 rpm
Acceleration: 0-62 mph 2.9 seconds
Top speed: more than 360 km/h
Brake system: 380 x 38 carbon-ceramic, ventilated (front), 356 x 32 carbon-ceramic, ventilated (rear), with ABS/ESP
Wheels: 22 x 10 (front), 22 x 11 (rear) I+r 7-spoke forged wheel, Center-locking
Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 275/25 ZR 22 (front), PS2 295/25 ZR 22 (rear)
Curb weight: 1,590 kg (3,505.35 lbs)
Average fuel consumption: 13.5 L/100 km (17.42 mpg)
CO2 emissions: 348 g/km (560.05 g/mile)
Dimensions: (L x W x H) 4,940 mm (194.49 in) x 2,064 mm (81.26 in) x 1,250 mm (49.21 in)
Bodywork: Aluminum space frame with carbon body.