Most of us probably have no idea who or what Ermini is, but for those who do remember, it’s an Italian automaker that made a name for itself back in the 60’s. Over the past 50 years, the Italian car brand has been draped in covers, having produced a grand total of zero vehicles.
All that, though, is about to change because Ermini is looking at making a comeback with the new 686 sports car and Ermini has just released a handful of details on this long-in-the-making roadster. Unfortunately, there are still some specifications that Ermini has yet to reveal, but we have enough to bring you a review on the 686 Seiottosei.
We can gather that the Florentine-based automaker is preparing it to be a rear-engined, all-wheel drive sports car that will carry a tubular space frame and a tuned-up suspension.
As for the design of the car, that will be made as a collaborative effort between Giulio Cappellini and Design Team Ermini, and will feature things like extensive use of carbon fiber and the use of racing brakes, shock absorbers, and a transmission unit.
Looking at the renderings of the car, it certainly looks like a stunning sports car. The overall profile is aggressive enough to be a real looker. The huge rear spoiler is a definite turn-on. Finally, you can’t go wrong with a two-seater convertible, right?
To learn more about the 686 Seiottosei and see how it stacks up to the competition in its very small class, click past the jump.
The 686 Seiottosei Roadster will boast a steel spaceframe chassis with carbon-fiber body panels and tub. This combination of steel meets carbon fiber is enough to drop its weight down to relative supermodel-esque 686 kg (1,512 lbs).
Its body looks like a classic Jaguar mashed up with a Lotus Elise and a Le Mans Prototype race car. Yeah, it’s that wild looking to say the least. The fortunate thing is that wild look is something that we like. We’re sick of seeing these smaller manufacturers stamping out Lamborghini and Ferrari cookie-cutter cars. This is certainly a refreshing change.
The front grille boasts an oval shape, much like old Jaguar XKE from the 1970s. Up front, you get a sloped nose that allows the air to flow nicely over the windshield and past the open roof. The front fenders create large valleys on the outer edges of the front end, which likely creates significant down-force on the front axle – a la the Ferrari F12berlinetta.
With this car, lovers of those uncompromising vintage sports cars with their distinctive dynamism, long since replaced by modern supercars, will finally be able to enjoy themselves.
As you work toward the rear end, the body flattens out, helping keep it aerodynamic drag as low as possible – styling be darned, we want slippery! The only place you catch a little drag is the one place you need it, on the massive rear spoiler. Down the rear fascia, you find a pair of circular taillights gracing the outer edges and a center-dump exhaust hanging from the rear bumper.
Needless to say, the overall shape and slippery styling of this roadster is sheer perfection. With this car, lovers of those uncompromising vintage sports cars with their distinctive dynamism, long since replaced by modern supercars, will finally be able to enjoy themselves.
|Chassis Construction||Tubular steel spaceframe w/ carbon-fiber tub|
|Body Construction||Carbon-fiber panels|
|Dimensions (length x width)||4,012 mm (157.95 inches)x 1,850 mm (72.83 inches)|
|Curb Weight||686 kg (1,512 lbs)|
Engine and Drivetrain
Mounted behind the rear seats is a spritely little 2.0-liter, 16-valve, 4-cylinder engine that Ermini sourced from French automaker, Renault. Ermini slapped a pair of turbochargers on the Renault F4RT RS 4-banger and likely performed some minor surgery on the Renault powerplant’s guts to crank its output to 295 horsepower. Taking a page straight out of Lotus’s book, Ermini achieved a stellar 0.19 horsepower-per-pound rating.
Sending the power from the engine to the rear wheels is a 6-speed Sadev manual gearbox. Connecting this gearbox to the engine’s flywheel is a 5.5-inch double-disc clutch, giving it very positive engagement. This drivetrain combination is enough to get this svelte roadster to 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than 3.4 seconds (estimated) and to an estimated top speed of 270 km/h (167 mph).
|Engine Type||Renault F4RT RS 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, 16-valve|
|Engine Output||295 horsepower|
|Horsepower Per Pound||0.19|
|Transmission||Sadev SL75 6-speed gearbox w/ 5.5-inch double-disc clutch|
|Acceleration (0-to-100 km/h)||< 3.4 seconds|
|Top Speed||270 km/h (167 mph)|
Ermini only gave us some basic information on the suspension and braking system. It features a double-wishbone-style suspension on the front and rear with push-rod dampers. This is a very basic setup, but in the words of Ermini Automobili Italia Chairman Eugenio Ercoli, “With this car, lovers of those uncompromising vintage sports cars with their distinctive dynamism, long since replaced by modern supercars, will finally be able to enjoy themselves…” So basically, Ermini designed this car to require driver input to handle its best.
The brakes are a Brembo setup with ventilated discs. With a car this light, the braking system could be just a hole in the floor and a pair of hard-sole shoes, and it would still stop on a dime… Okay, maybe that’s a little much, but you get the point.
|Front Suspension||Double-wishbone-style suspension w/ push-rod dampers|
|Rear Suspension||Double-wishbone-style suspension w/ push-rod dampers|
|Brakes||Brembo w/ ventilated discs|
Pricing and Release Date
There is currently no estimated pricing released by Ermini, but we would estimate it somewhere in the €55,000 range to remain competitive. Ermini anticipates the 686 Seiottosei Roadster being ready for sale in 2013, but there is no mention of where it will be offered. We’re crossing our fingers for a limited U.S. release at least.
Without knowing its official pricing it is really hard to lay down any direct competition, but we will offer up one clear option.
The only real competitor is the all-new Caterham Superlight R600 with its 275-horsepower Ford Duratec 2.0-liter engine. The R600 features a 6-speed sequential gearbox and a Titan limited-slip rear differential transferring these ponies to the rear wheels. There are no official track specs on the Superlight R600, but we anticipate a sub-3-second 0-to-60 mph time and a top speed somewhere near 170 mph. Both of those specs put it head and shoulders above the estimated specs of the 686 Seiottosei Roadster. The R600’s base MSRP of £44,995 ($56,021 at the current rates) is low and the 686 has to come in near that range to compete in this class.
In terms of style, well, there is really no competition. The 686 Seiottosei Roadster is a sexy car and the Caterham is a cute sort of ugly.
|Spec||Superlight R600||686 Seiottosei Roadster||Advantage|
|Engine Output||275 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque||295 horsepower and TBD torque||686 Seiottosei Roadster|
|Transmission||6-speed sequential gearbox||Sadev SL75 6-speed gearbox w/ 5.5-inch double-disc clutch||686 Seiottosei Roadster|
|Acceleration (0-to-60 mph)||< 3 seconds (TopSpeed est.)|
|270 km/h (167 mph) (Ermini est.)||Superlight R600|
For now we will withhold judgment, as we need to wait for Ermini to release the rest of the 686’s specifications. On paper, however, it looks almost like a dead heat between the Caterham and the Ermini. However, the Ermini could come in at a far higher pricing point, which would render it a no contest between the Caterham R600 and the 686 Seiottosei Roadster.
- Looks the part of a unique supercar
- Ultra slippery design
- Super-lightweight chassis and body
- Could be very expensive
- Limited info available
- Ermini name has no recent history to fall back on