Donkervoort’s latest offering in terms of ultra-lightweight sports cars was the 2012 D8 GTO, arguably the most impressive model to ever come out of the Dutch factory’s gates. Largely based on the D8 GT, the super sports model is powered by the awesome-sounding inline-five from the Audi TT-RS and RS3 that offers between 340 and 380 horsepower while only needing to move roughly 1,500 pounds of vehicle. With Donkervoort celebrating the fact that it recently opened a new facility in Germany, right in the heart of the Bilster Berg Drive Resort, the Dutch carmaker will manufacture a limited-edition D8 GTO dubbed the Bilster Berg Edition.

Just 14 examples of the D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition will be made, a number that Donkervoort says represents the success the company had in 2014. The model, which was developed on the Bilster Berg circuit itself and earned the best lap time on the circuit, features a number of updates compared to the regular model. In theory, this should make it the top-of-the-range model in an otherwise petite lineup.

Updated 01/06/2015: After a first teaser image revealed last week, Donkervoort released the official specs and details on the D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition. Click past the jump for the full details.

Click past the jump to read more about the Donkervoort D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition.

  • 2015 Donkervoort D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-5
  • Displacement:
    2.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    230000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Donkervoort D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 608973
Sporting a long and narrow hood, which protects a front-midship engine from the elements, this rather petite car is probably what the Lotus Seven would look like if it had stayed in production until today.

From a distance, just about every Donkervoort — including the D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition — looks rather familiar, especially for Lotus Seven fans. Sporting a long and narrow hood, which protects a front-midship engine from the elements, this rather petite car is probably what the Lotus Seven would look like if it had stayed in production until today. The cockpit is narrow and sits near the rear axle, while the car’s overall lightness is further enhanced by the wheels being pushed outside the body of the vehicle.

The front is rather evil-looking thanks mainly to the shape of the headlight housings, a fact that also emphasizes the model’s extreme performance. Despite still weighing about half as much as a modern supercar, the D8 GTO and the subsequent Bilster Berg Edition are actually much larger than their predecessors — almost 14 inches longer and six inches wider. This makes for an even more dramatic overall look, especially since Donkervoorts are some of the lowest cars on the road.

Despite having teased us about the Bilster Berg Edition having an all-new front-end, it seems that the only major difference is the nose section, which compared with the regular D8 GTO is darker and made entirely out of carbon fiber. Other than that, other design peculiarities are the all-new roll cage, which also improves passive safety, new semi-slick tires from Hankook and a "Bilster Berg Edition" emblem.

Interior

2015 Donkervoort D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition Interior
- image 608978
As expected, the Bilster Berg Edition of the D8 GTO comes with a type plate on the dashboard, which shows both the car's production number and the name of its owner.

The overall look of the regular model’s interior has been preserved, except for the addition of a small number of extra details. Usually, the average D8 GTO interiors are a symphony of carbon fiber and leather, thus offering a blend of motorsport and traditional roadster auras. The upholstery of every Donkervoort model is bespoke, with the Dutch car maker offering a choice of numerous leathers, colors, types of stitching and various design patterns.

As expected, the Bilster Berg Edition of the D8 GTO comes with a type plate on the dashboard, which shows both the car’s production number and the name of its owner. On top of that, the model comes with a data logging display system with LCD and GPS, and an entire array of weight-saving measures, including carbon fiber seats, a special type of leather and... an ultra-light carpet, believe it or not.

Drivetrain

2015 Donkervoort D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 608971
The 2.5-liter five-cylinder now has less work to do thanks to a 22 pounds reduction in the overall weight of the vehicle, while the mill is now connected to an ultr-light flywheel and a racing clutch.

Under that freakishly long hood sits a 2.5-liter, turbocharged, five cylinder Audi engine borrowed from the TT-RS and the RS3. In a standard Donkervoort D8 GTO it offers 340 horsepower, with an optional 380-horsepower variant for those who require even more grunt. With the chassis alone weighing just 119 pounds and the entire car checking in at 1,532 pounds when fitted with the Performance package, this is truly a perfect representation of the "simplify, then add lightness" idiom used by Colin Chapman.

It is naturally expected that the Bilster Berg Edition will use the higher-powered version, thus becoming the fastest road-going Donkervoort in history. How fast, do you ask? Well, let’s just say that the D8 GTO with 380 horsepower can hit 62 mph from a standing start in just 2.8 seconds, while the 124-mph mark is passed in a mind-blowing 8.6 seconds. The Bilster Berg Edition model should surpass those already-extraordinary figures, with the model already being faster on the track.

The special edition is fitted with the 380 horsepower variant of the Audi engine, as expected, but a number of mods have been undertaken to improve the D8 GTO’s already bonkers performance. The 2.5-liter five-cylinder now has less work to do thanks to a 22 pounds reduction in the overall weight of the vehicle, while the mill is now connected to an ultr-light flywheel and a racing clutch. Based on the D8 GTO that now holds the Bilster Berg track record, the special edition model also comes with new shock absorbers made exclusively for Donkervoort by Intrax, a newly-engineered roll cage and an extra anti-roll bar at the rear.

Prices

2015 Donkervoort D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition Exterior
- image 608977

Since the options list is so long and varied that each Donkervoort is technically a one-off, it is a bit hard to work out the numbers for a perfect D8 GTO. The regular model starts at the equivalent of approx. $152,000 (as of December 2014) in Europe, but the Bilster Berg Edition carries a much bigger sticker price. There are few hopes of an American ever buying this car, but if you must ask, the Bilster Berg Edition starts at 194,000 Euros, which in January 2015 it is the equivalent of approximately $231,000. Exclusivity does comes with a price.

Competition

Caterham Seven 620R

2013 Caterham Seven 620 R High Resolution Exterior
- image 514266

By far the closest thing out there in terms of performance and power-to-weight ratio, the Caterham Seven 620R is not only a modern take of the Lotus Seven as well, but it is actually based on Chapman’s model. Initially a Lotus dealer back in the 1960s, Caterham bought the rights to continue manufacture of the Seven from Colin Chapman himself in 1973, after Lotus had announced that it wanted to discontinue the then-20-year-old model.

With a bit less power ("just" 310 horsepower) but even less weight, the Seven 620R should run neck and neck with the Donkervoort D8 GTO on a circuit. Powered by a supercharged, two-liter Duratec from Ford, the model is capable of a 0-to-60-mph acceleration time of 2.79 seconds. That number comes courtesy of both the 310-horsepower engine and the overall weight of just 1,201 pounds.

Ariel Atom 3S

2015 Ariel Atom 3S High Resolution Exterior
- image 572506

Currently the only production car with an exoskeleton, the Ariel Atom is in many ways following the same philosophy as the Donkevoort D8 GTO and the Caterham Seven 620R, despite not having almost anything in common with the original Lotus Seven, like the other two. If the interior of the Atom may seem a bit bare to some — keep in mind that it doesn’t even have doors.

The U.S.-only Ariel Atom 3S is powered by a turbocharged, 2.4-liter, four-banger borrowed from Honda, which in this installation produces a rather respectable 365 horsepower, helping the model accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under 2.8 seconds. Assembled by TMI AutoTech in Virginia, the model starts at $89,975, which in theory makes it a bargain compared to what it would cost to bring a Caterham or a Donkervoort in the United States.

Conclusion

2015 Donkervoort D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 608974

Coming from a long lineage of ultra-lightweight sports cars that closely follow the principles introduced by Colin Chapman with the original Lotus Seven, the Donkervoort D8 GTO is a rather special type of vehicle. Even more exceptional should be the Bilster Berg Edition, since the Dutch sports car maker honed its skills on a German track that many say is like a miniature Nurburgring Nordschleife.

The first proof for that affirmation comes from the fact that the model currently holds the absolute track record at Bilster Berg, not to mention that a previous, less powerful Donkervoort ran the Green Hell in just 7 minutes and 14.9 seconds back in 2011. Keep in mind that you may need a big pair of you-know-what to give it the full beans on a circuit. Other than that, driving something as feral as this, with that inline five at full chat, could actually be the closest thing to a man and machine union. Unfortunately, the D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition comes with a humongous starting price, about as high as a Porsche 911 Turbo S, which means that only the mega-rich will be able to afford one. The problem with that is that not that many mega-rich people truly appreciate this dying breed of sports car.

  • Leave it
    • Bare interior
    • Almost no comfort features
    • Not as cheap as we’d like

Press Release

Donkervoort hinted at this development at the end of December. In honour of the feats achieved in 2014, which include breaking the lap record for street-legal production cars at the Bilster Berg circuit and attaining top scores and fastest lap times during various ‘Supertests’ conducted by renowned European auto magazines, Donkervoort proudly introduces a special edition of the D8 GTO: the Donkervoort D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition.

2015 Donkervoort D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 608971

Recognisable design
The special edition is instantly recognisable thanks to the unique design of the nose, created by the Donkervoort design team. The dark nose section, made entirely of carbon fibre, gives it an even ‘meaner’ look and builds on the ‘beastly’ nose design concept found on the existing D8 GTO.

Based on record-breaking test car
The enormous speed of the D8 GTO has already been established. Yet it is a well-known fact that Donkervoort works unceasingly to further refine and fine-tune its cars, and the latest developments were immediately tested and implemented in the test car, which was also used during various comparison tests for important auto magazines in the Netherlands, France and Germany. To the big surprise of many car journalists and test drivers, this D8 GTO clocked the fastest lap times and on more than one occasion left all the other ‘Supercar’ competitors in its dust. During the same period this car also broke the lap record for street-legal production cars on the Bilster Berg circuit. The Bilster Berg Edition is a close relative of this test car.

2015 Donkervoort D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 608972

Technical developments
The D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition features the latest technical advances. Although the speed of the D8 GTO has already been established, it was nevertheless possible to achieve additional speed and grip based on a carefully chosen Performance Plus specification, together with the further development and fine-tuning in the areas of chassis and road-handling.

Further improvements were also made to the power plant, so the engine now provides even better throttle response and an ultra light flywheel and race clutch make the engine even livelier. A further 10 kg shaved off the total weight now lightens the Audi 2.5L R5 TFSI engine’s task of propelling the GTO to those stunning performances.

A new shock absorber has been developed in collaboration with Intrax especially for the Bilster Berg Edition.

2015 Donkervoort D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 608973

To convert the heavier setting of the new dampers and springs to more grip, an extra roll cage construction was designed for even greater torsional stiffness in the chassis. A nice bonus of this development is that this newly engineered roll cage has also contributed to a higher level of passive safety.

This GTO is also equipped with specially developed, limited series production, semi-slick tyres, stemming from the collaboration with tyre manufacturer Hankook. To handle the extra roll generated by these tyres, this D8 GTO is also fitted with an anti-roll bar at the rear, complementing the one that was already present at the front.

Unique series
The Donkervoort D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition is not only recognisable from the design of the nose but also stands apart from the current range of offerings in many other areas. This version, for example, has a special emblem for instant identification, and the dashboard is decorated with a type plate bearing the number and name of the owner of the car. The new version also includes the data logging display, with LCD and GPS, integrated into the dashboard.

2015 Donkervoort D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 608974

In addition, even more carbon fibre alternatives can be ordered for visible interior and exterior parts, which are both beneficial to the total weight and pleasing to the eye. Additional weight savings have also been achieved in the interior, through the use of ultra-light carpet, carbon fibre seats and special leather.

Obviously, this unique version is a full options model, giving the buyer complete freedom of choice for the interior and exterior colours. The D8 GTO Bilster Berg Edition will be built in a limited series of just 14 cars, a number that represents the successful year 2014.

Price from €194,000 including 21% VAT

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