2017 Zenvo TS1
Another shot at gloryby Jonathan Lopez, on
Zenvo’s genesis wasn’t exactly an easy one. The Danish manufacturer was founded in 2007 with the noblest of intentions – to make high-dollar, low-volume, ultra-high-performance sports cars for both the street and the track. The marque’s first model, the ST1, was released in 2009, and it looked like it met all the criteria, with an 800,000 euro price tag ($877,040 at current exchange rates, 03/02/2016), a production run of 15 units, and a 233-mph top speed. But there was a problem – it kept catching fire, first during a track test on Top Gear, then again at the Copenhagen Historic Grand Prix. As you can imagine, Zenvo would like to put all that behind it, and as such, it’s unveiled a new model called the TS1, bearing improved aero, a dramatically updated interior, and a new twin-supercharged V-8.
Philosophically speaking, the TS1 follows closely in the footsteps of the ST1. It’s still a hand-built, outrageously powerful hypercar for the enormously well-to-do. However, Zenvo is quick to point out that this new model was carefully refined to meet customer demands, combining extreme performance with daily-driver comfort and high levels of customizability.
While the TS1 got its big reveal at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show, Zenvo left a few important details up in the air. That said, there’s quite a bit left to explore here, so let’s check it out.
Continue reading to learn more about the Zenvo TS1.
2017 Zenvo TS1
Transmission:seven-speed paddle-shifter automatic
0-60 time:2.9 sec. (Est.)
Top Speed:233 mph
Taking responsibility for the exterior look is the same man who penned the ST1 – Zenvo’s Chief Designer, Christian Brandt, who also lists Alfa Romeo as a previous employer. Brandt says he was inspired by a vision of a “lioness stalking its prey” when coming up with the original sketches, but personally, I’m reminded of an exaggerated iteration of the Lexus LFA (granted, the LFA was released a year after the ST1, but still, the lines and shapes are undeniably similar).
take a closer look, and there are a few discernible changes, most of which pertain to increased downforce and improved aerodynamics
Next to the ST1, the TS1’s lineage is obvious, as the two all-carbon bodies look nearly identical. However, take a closer look, and there are a few discernible changes, most of which pertain to increased downforce and improved aerodynamics.
Let’s start in front, where the splitter was clearly made much deeper. On the sides, small winglets were added to help guide air along the flanks and towards intakes in the rear, feeding the twin intercoolers for improved engine performance. The intakes also get their own vertical splitter elements for better chiller efficiency.
In back, the rear wing was made much taller, gaining an additional 5 degrees of angle for more downforce, balancing out the changes made up front. The rear diffuser is also more aggressive. Further aero improvements come from the relocated exhaust outlets, which were moved inwards, just above the new diffuser.
Zenvo calls the changes “subtle,” reiterating that it did the job right the first time around, and that the minor tweaks were added for extra high-speed performance and a slightly sharper look.
The wheels are made from forged aluminum and come with motorsport-style center locks. As you’d expect, the rollers are massive, measuring in at 9.5x19 inches in front and 12.5x20 inches in back.
Following up on its promise of customizability, Zenvo will paint your TS1 in any color you’d like.
|Length||4,665 MM (183.7 Inches)|
|Width||2,041 MM (80.4 Inches)|
|Height||1,198 MM (47.2 Inches)|
|Ground Clearance, Standard||160 MM (6.3 Inches)|
|Ground Clearance, Handling||110 MM (4.3 Inches)|
|Wheelbase||3,055 MM (120.3 Inches)|
Beyond that little combustion problem I mentioned in the intro, one of the main complaints made against the ST1 was that the interior was as drab and uninspiring as week-old unseasoned oatmeal. While generous with its portions of carbon fiber and Alcantara, the layout and look was nowhere near appropriate for the performance levels on tap.
There’s a new steering wheel, new seats, a new dashboard, and a new center console
Luckily, Zenvo addressed this issue with a total revamp of the cabin space. Not only is it supposedly much more comfortable, it actually looks like a proper hypercar cockpit now. There’s a new steering wheel, new seats, a new dashboard, and a new center console, and the color scheme offsets the driving position with a contrasting hue, emphasizing the “driver oriented” feel.
While not the craziest interior I’ve ever seen (Pagani, anyone?), the TS1 is a huge improvement over the ST1. Everything is geometric and sharp, manifesting that futuristic atmosphere needed for a car in this segment. There are hexagons everywhere – in the upholstery quilting, steering wheel, buttons, and console surrounds, all of which echo the shape of the front fascia. I also really like the climate control vents, which are segmented into three individual outlets.
Zenvo says buyers get to work with the design team directly when customizing their TS1’s interior, with “unlimited” options at their disposal. That includes leather, Alcantara, carbon fiber, and aluminum for the list of materials. No word yet on the availability of Nomex.
|Headroom||998 MM (39.3 Inches)|
|Legroom||1,109 MM (43.7 Inches)|
|Shoulder Room||1,395 MM (54.9 Inches)|
To better understand the evolution of the TS1’s drivetrain, let’s briefly dive into ST1’s engine bay, where we find a 6.8-liter V-8 boosted by both a supercharger and a turbocharger. All that displacement and forced induction is good for a total of 1,104 horsepower and 1,050 pound-feet of torque, which is routed to the rear wheels through either a seven-speed paddle-shifter automatic, or a six-speed manual transmission. A sprint from 0-to-62 mph takes 3.0 seconds.
The mid-engine, RWD layout remains the same, but the powerplant is all new – a 5.9-liter flat-plane crank V-8.
That’s the benchmark the TS1 has to meet, if not exceed. So then – what’s the strategy?
The mid-engine, RWD layout remains the same, but the powerplant is all new – a 5.9-liter flat-plane crank V-8. Developed in-house by Zenvo, the lump gets a twin centrifugal supercharger system from Rotrex, significantly heightening throttle response. Made from lightweight metals and using carbon-fiber inlet manifolds, the new engine also saves weight and lowers the car’s center of gravity.
But here’s the kicker – Zenvo declined to specify max output figures. We do know there will be three driving modes, with 650 horsepower available in “Wet,” and 850 horsepower available in “Sport,” but figures for the top-tier “Race” mode are yet to be announced as of this writing.
Acceleration figures are also under wraps. However, Zenvo did say that top speed will be electronically limited to an ST1-matching 233 mph.
All of this suggests two things. First, the car should theoretically exceed 233 mph without the nanny, which is pretty insane if you think about it. Second, the TS1 will probably out-accelerate the ST1, but Zenvo is still ironing out the details.
Whether or not my assumptions hold any truth, the TS1 will still be blisteringly fast.
Let’s move on to the transmission. Buyers get two to choose from, both with paddle-shifters – a seven-speed synchronized gearbox with full-auto mode, or a “race inspired” seven-speed with dog-engagement.
A dog box is an odd option for a street car, as it’s often too noisy and hardcore for civilian duty, but Zenvo says it achieved rpm control precise enough to make it viable. The automaker also says it’s the fastest single-clutch transmission available on a street car, with a mere 40 milliseconds required to swap gears.
Chassis And Handling
Zenvo says the TS1 is lighter than the 3,700-pound ST1, but didn’t say by how much, maybe because it’s still tweaking the engine to find the best possible power-to-weight ratio.
The suspension is a double-wishbone set-up, with adjustable anti-roll bars, plus three-way adjustable shocks from KW
Whatever the reason, the TS1 uses a lightweight steel-aluminum monocoque, just like its predecessor. The suspension is a double-wishbone set-up, with adjustable anti-roll bars, plus three-way adjustable shocks from KW. There’s also a hydraulic lift system to keep that gaping maw away from unyielding speed bumps and steep angles.
The steering is rack and pinion, with 2.2 turns required lock-to-lock. The brakes are now larger, sourced from Brembo and made from carbon ceramic. There are 395 mm (15.6-inch) discs up front and 380 mm (15-inch) discs in back, with six-piston calipers in each corner.
Torsen provides the limited-slip differential, while Michelin provides its Pilot Super Sport 2 tires, measuring in at 275/35 ZR19 in front and 345/30 ZR20 in back.
Just like the ST1, the TS1 will be limited to only 15 units. Exact pricing is unavailable, but I expect a figure similar to the old model (800,000 euros, or $877,040 at current exchange rates, 03/02/2016).
Pre-orders are open now.
Following a corporate reboot in 2015, Gumpert is back, now flying under the banner Apollo and touting a pair of new performance vehicles. The first is called the Apollo N, and it’s got a twin-turbo V-8 good for 690 horsepower and 649 pound-feet of torque. That’s a lot less than what’s expected from the TS1, but the N weighs a lot less too, tipping the scales at just 2,646 pounds. The means 0-to-62 mph takes just three seconds, while top speed is 224 mph.
Read the full review on the Apollo N here.
Tushek & Spigel are a fresh face in the exotic game, but they’re coming on strong with the TS600. Thanks to a mid-mounted 4.2-liter V-8 pilfered from the Audi R8, this lightweight sprints to 60 mph in less than three seconds, rocketing on to a top speed of 218 mph. It’s exclusive, too, with a total of just 33 units produced. Pricing, however, is far below that of the TS1, starting at $330,000.
Read the full review on the Tushek TS600 here.
Oh, how quickly things change.
Not too long ago, a car like the TS1 would have completely baffled the imagination. Now, however, four-digits at the rear wheels, carbon-fiber everything, and a 230+ mph top speed is all pretty much expected.
Does that dilute the final product? Yes and no.
The recent proliferation of extreme performance vehicles is certainly at play when considering the reduced “wow factor” of the modern hypercar, but from a technical perspective, I think we’re rapidly entering territory that the layman has a hard time grasping.
For example, 230 mph isn’t just a little faster than 200 mph, it’s a lot faster. The amount of power and aero efficiency required to go that extra 30 mph is huge, and the fact we’re seeing so many street cars pushing so deep into territory once reserved for aircraft is simply amazing.
And that, in a somewhat circuitous way, brings me back to the TS1. This is a machine that’s pushing the envelope of what’s possible on four wheels, and in that respect, it should be celebrated. As an evolution of the ST1, Zenvo did a good job fixing what was wrong and keeping what was right. The only thing left are those final performance numbers, which I’m sure will be more than impressive.
And that’s good, because by the look of it, there’s an even bigger evolution waiting silently in the shadows…