Did I trip over a frayed extension cord, die, and get uploaded into a heaven dreamed up by adrenaline-addled robots? Or are we all just going to accept that the Apollo Intensa Emozione is an actual car?
A $2.7 million asking price for a 6.3-liter V12 churning out 780 horsepower without the help of a turbocharger, supercharger, nitrous or fancy hybrid-electric system. And all that energy moving a scant 2,755 pounds. At least, that’s what it says in the brochure.
Launching off a mercifully short runway of hype yesterday, the car I’m only calling “IE” forever because its real name is dumb, was introduced to the world via a little video and a set of studio photos. Someone pulled a cover off an actual Apollo somewhere too, but I wouldn’t worry about that.
Only the best-connected automotive test pilots will get to drive one of these before its entire production run of 10 units is sold off and squirreled away in, probably, the high-rise parking complexes of Dubai.
The rest of us will only be able to appreciate this outlier of extremes in photographs and, frankly, that might be enough. 24 hours after seeing the IE’s full form in these images I still haven’t been able to pick my jaw up.
Is this real life?
My colleague Erik said the IE “made a Lamborghini look tame” and the rest of the car scene is pretty much on the same page. I would take it a step further and say this thing makes most Lamborghinis look like body-kitted economy cars.
Alright, fine, the Lamborghini still look pretty intense. But it does look like a derivative, whereas the IE has obviously been downloaded from another dimensions.
The lines! The angles! Every single shape is a new order of batshit!
I would normally be one to dismiss the IE as an exercise in silliness since, of course, only two handfuls will even exist and the few that are put to pavement will probably not get the privilege of chasing the car’s claimed 208 mph top speed.
But the new Apollo’s real magic is that it managed to land in the razor-thin sweet spot of extreme design that’s actually cool. Anybody can do over-the-top, but the IE is interesting too. It’s barely a car; as far away from traditional automotive design as it could possibly be while also seeming like the new definition of what a cool car could look like.
It’s not blasphemous for the sake of stirring up trouble like a Mansory-rebodied Mercedes and it definitely doesn’t have the elegance of an Aston Martin. The Apollo IE is just so successfully radical that it, and the people who put it together, deserve our respect.
The fact that the Apollo is essentially old-school with a naturally aspirated engine, rear-wheel drive and a six-speed transmission is such a twist of the knife stabbed into today’s supercars that are trying so hard to sell us on new-fangled takes on propulsion and intelligent electronically optimized ways to put down power.
Even (especially?) if no reviewer ever drives it, the idea of this car is going to be really difficult to beat. And in the supercar game, numbers are important, but the idea is all most fans ever have to go on and how legends are forged.
But I have to admit, I’m a little scared of this car. Even seeing it from the safety of my computer screen. Just weeks ago the car community was alight with arguments over whether or not the Honda Civic Type R looked too extreme. Now look at this and then find a picture of the Civic.
Honda’s hot hatch barely seems like it’d stand out in a gaggle of CUVs parked at Baby Gap.
So, you see where I’m going with this, right? What fresh futuristic hell awaits us in the post-Apollo IE world?
Seriously though, I don’t envy the talented automotive artists in Maranello and Bologna and everywhere else who now have to sit down and try to draw a car that can out-insane this without falling into an uncanny valley of self-parody.
Actually, what am I talking about. That kind of challenge could get us the coolest wave of supercars the world’s ever seen. Bring it on. If nothing else, I think we’ll have the Apollo to thank for some exciting experiments at the extreme end of the automotive world.