• Highly angular and aggressive
  • 3,450-pound curb weight
  • 1,150 horsepower and 1,316 pound-feet of torque
  • Top speed is rated at 220 mph
  • Supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 V-8 from Chevy
  • Carbon fiber monocoque
  • 3D-printed metal components
  • Wide Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires
  • 0 to 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds
  • Seven-speed dual-clutch transmission
  • Two-tone color scheme
  • Cabin placed in the middle
  • Tons of wings, spoilers, and vents everywhere
  • 20-inch wheels in front, 21-inch in back
  • HRE center-locking rollers with carbon fiber flourish
  • Adaptive aerodynamic elements in the rear
  • Flat carbon fiber undertray
  • Racing harnesses to keep you in place
  • Hybrid AWD powertrain
  • Two axial-flux induction electric motors in front
  • 10-kWh battery pack
  • Carbon fiber body panels

A new all-American hypercar emerges

If you’ve never heard of ‘em, don’t feel bad. Aria is best known as the pen behind projects like the Tesla Model S Concept from 2009, the bespoke carbon fiber body panels that adorn the Singer 911s, and the Ford Shelby GR-1, as well as the SpaceX Dragon capsule and the Warthog from Halo 4. Just 100 employees make up the entire firm. Now, this small, yet talented group is offering up a glimpse at its very first production passenger car, and long story short, it’s a whopper. Recently unveiled at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, Aria calls it the FXE, as it’s an evolved iteration of the FE concept shown in LA last year. The FXE looks like a spaceship, and based on Aria’s claim regarding the onboard hybrid V-8 powertrain, it should go like one too. Taking inspiration from track cars, the FXE is made for the road and aims to topple the best of the best from Europe, including the Ferrari LaFerrari and McLaren P1.

Of course, that’s a rather tall order for any carmaker, let alone a tiny boutique design house looking to make their first production vehicle. So the question is this – can Aria pull it off?

Continue reading to learn more about the Aria FXE.

Exterior

- * Highly angular and aggressive
- * Two-tone color scheme
- * Cabin placed in the middle
- * Tons of wings, spoilers, and vents everywhere
- * 20-inch wheels in front, 21-inch in back
- * HRE center-locking rollers with carbon fiber flourish
- * Adaptive aerodynamic elements in the rear
- * Flat carbon fiber undertray

2018 Aria FXE Exterior
- image 750172
The Aria FXE certainly looks the part of a top-shelf hybrid performance machine

From the off, the Aria FXE certainly looks the part of a top-shelf hybrid performance machine. The lines are crisp and pointed, with deep cuts and sharp angles that simply scream speed. While Aria declined to provide exact downforce and aero specs, the FXE appears as though it would get smashed into the pavement while traveling at high-velocity. There are wings and blades and spoilers galore, which make the car bristle from every angle you look at it.

Of course, such drama should be expected from a modern hypercar, especially the first production model from a well-established design house. All that aggression will help the FXE get noticed, so why not go full throttle right from the off?

2018 Aria FXE Exterior
- image 750173
0 to 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds
Of course, such drama should be expected from a modern hypercar. All that aggression will help the FXE get noticed, so why not go full throttle right from the off?

Up front, we find wide, narrow features that enhance the car’s natural girth. Connecting the relatively small headlight housings is a U-shaped section offsetting the white body panels with a matte-black finish, while the headlights themselves look as though they come equipped with LED lighting elements and daytime running lights. A large vent occupies the top section of the hood, while lower in the bumper, you’ll find large intake sections and a deep splitter element with a curvaceous slant to it, plus a pair of side winglets marked by the FXE logo in white.

Viewed in profile, the FXE places the greenhouse in the center of the vehicle, evening out the proportions into semi-equal parts, front to back. The overhangs are short, while the lower aero sections continue the look of the front splitter with angular dips and dives in a matte-black finish. Enormous side intakes dominate the rear quarter panels and fenders, while a smaller secondary intake was added to the roof. In the corners, you’ll find ornate forged center-lock wheels from HRE, rocking carbon fiber flow inserts for extra style points. The rollers are staggered in size, with 20 inches of diameter in front and 21 inches in the rear.

2018 Aria FXE Exterior
- image 750184
20-inch wheels in front, 21-inch in back
In the corners, you’ll find ornate forged center-lock wheels from HRE, rocking carbon fiber flow inserts for extra style points.

The rear end is a bit blockier in its appearance, with sizable vents placed under the taillights, in the lower bumper, and along the supporting beams in the roof. The diffuser back here is enormous, complimented by a sizable GT-style wing on the trunk lid that appears to have automatic adjustment capabilities. A flat carbon fiber undertray is found just inches from the pavement. Finally, the taillight’s shape is as slim as the headlights, and they get a contour that reminds me a bit of the rear end on the new Chevrolet Corvette.

Compared to the Ferrari LaFerrari, the Aria FXE is much shorter, a bit narrower, and a bit taller. The Aria’s wheelbase is also longer than the Ferrari Squared.

2018 Aria FXE Exterior
- image 750174
Carbon fiber monocoque

Exterior Dimensions

Aria FXE Ferrari LaFerrari
Length 4,470 mm (176 inches) 4,702 mm (185.1 inches)
Width 1,930 mm (76 inches) 1,992 mm (78.4 inches)
Height 1,139 mm (44.8 inches) 1,116 mm (43.9 inches)
Wheelbase 2,709 mm (106.7 inches) 2,650 mm (104.3 inches)

Interior

- * Two passengers max
- * Fixed-back seats look like they were carved out
- * Racing harnesses to keep you in place
- * Simplistic, clean dash design
- * Should offers tons of customizability
- * Pedals and steering wheel move back and forth for comfort
- * All-digital instrumentation

2018 Aria FXE Exterior
- image 750171
Racing harnesses to keep you in place
Both passengers will strap in with racing harnesses to keep from sliding around while exploring the FXE’s upper grip threshold. Customizability opportunities will be plentiful.

While Aria wasn’t opening the doors on the FXE to give journalists a clear view of the cabin space, there are a few things we could glean after seeing it in LA. First off, it’ll only seat two passengers – just as a proper hypercar should. Both passengers will strap into fixed-back seats that appear as though they were carved out of the car’s rear bulkhead, and come complete with racing harnesses to keep you from sliding around while exploring the FXE’s upper grip threshold. A large center section divides the two seats, while a simplistic dash layout provides a space for controls. The gauge cluster spears to be totally digital, while the button layout is ultra-clean and simplistic. There’s also probably little to no storage space, which makes the FXE exactly the wrong pick for a month-long holiday. Unless, of course, you’re vacationing at a race track.

Aria says the seats will be specially molded to each individual customer, while the controls will be able to move forward and backward as needed to accommodate a variety of body types. We also expect a vast variety of additional customization options, given the inherently bespoke nature of the company, the relatively low production numbers, and most importantly, the price tag. Custom materials, custom colors, technology options, and similar stuff will pervade throughout, which, combined with the specially molded seats, should make the interior of each Aria FXE utterly unique.

Drivetrain

- * Hybrid AWD powertrain
- * Supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 V-8 from Chevy
- * Seven-speed dual-clutch transmission
- * Two axial-flux induction electric motors in front
- * 10-kWh battery pack
- * 1,150 horsepower and 1,316 pound-feet of torque
- * 0 to 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds
- * Top speed is rated at 220 mph

2018 Aria FXE Exterior
- image 750200
Supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 V-8 from Chevy
In the middle of the machine, there’s a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8, the same GM-sourced LT4 V-8 used in the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. ‘Merica.

Like the majority of top-shelf hypercars currently on the market, the Aria FXE makes use of hybridization to make all of its go. In front, you’ll find dual front axial-flux induction electric motors, which get juiced by a 10-kWh battery pack. Meanwhile, in the middle of the machine, there’s a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8. This lump is based on the same GM-sourced LT4 V-8 used in the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, and it does well to fit in with the whole all-American theme the FXE is shooting for. The V-8 mates with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to send power to the rear, while the electric motors motivate the front axle. And that means the FXE should offer copious AWD grip when you put its prodigious output to use.

Speaking of output, the V-8 and pair of electric motors combine to create a lot of it – upwards of 1,150 horsepower and 1,316 pound-feet of torque, to be exact. Properly applied by the driver, Aria says the FXE will go from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds, while top speed is rated at 220 mph.

Those numbers are more or less in line with what we’d expect for the segment, although the 0-to-60 mph time is a few tenths short of what you get with the established benchmarks from Europe.

2018 Aria FXE Exterior
- image 750178

Aria FXE Engine And Performance Specs

Drive type mid-engine, hybrid AWD
Engine supercharged 6.2-liter V-8
Electric motors dual front axial-flux induction electric motors
Battery pack rating 10 kWh
Engine transmission seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Combined horsepower 1,150 hp
Combined torque 1,316 pound-feet
0 to 60 mph 3.1 seconds
Top speed 220 mph

Chassis And Handling

- * Carbon fiber monocoque
- * Carbon fiber body panels
- * 3,450-pound curb weight
- * 3D-printed metal components
- * Wide Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires

2018 Aria FXE Exterior
- image 750196
Flat carbon fiber undertray
The real question though is how the chassis and suspension set-up manage to apply the impressive power levels mentioned in the drivetrain section.

Despite its large supercharged V-8 and complicated hybrid AWD system, the Aria FXE weighs in at just 3,450 pounds in terms of the curb weight. As you might imagine, this is made possible thanks to its carbon fiber monocoque chassis and carbon fiber body panels, all standard stuff for something looking to make waves in the hybrid hypercar segement.

Aria says it also used a good number of 3D-printed metal pieces here and there, although details are a bit scant as of this writing. Aluminum is sure to be one of the most important materials used, and we’d love it if the FXE threw in stuff like titanium and the like for the extra bling factor.

Making the traction is Pirelli’s P Zero Trofeo R tire compound, with the FXE coming equipped with a 265-section sizing in front and 325-section in the rear. With all four wheels driven, this much sticky tire should post some impressive grip numbers on the skidpad.

The real question though is how the chassis and suspension set-up manage to apply the impressive power levels mentioned in the drivetrain section. Given this is Aria’s first real venture into making a full-on production vehicle, refinement on the road and adjustability at the limits of grip could be an issue.

Prices

2018 Aria FXE Exterior
- image 750177

Aria says it’s aiming to cap production at 400 units, which is actually rather high for a boutique hybrid hypercar like the FXE. For now, sales are slated to commence some time in 2019.

Pricing wasn’t made public, but rest assured every FXE will cost somewhere around $1 million. For that kind of money, each customer will get to customize theirs to suit there individual tastes, which means the final bottom line might vary greatly between each example.

If seven figures is too rich for your blood, there’s also a “base model” FE that’ll sell for $650,000. With the downgrade, you lose the hybrid system, but keep the blown 6.2-liter V-8 for power. That means less output, but something tells us it’ll still be mighty quick all the same.

The FXE will be built at Aria’s plant in Irvine, California.

Competition

McLaren P1

2014 McLaren P1 High Resolution Exterior
- image 525097

As the very shot fired in the battle for modern hybrid hypercar supremacy, you can bet your bottom dollar Aria has taken careful notes on the P1. Introduced in 2012 at the Paris Motor Show, the P1 floored the automotive world with its incredible specs, making upwards of 903 horsepower thank to a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-8 and electric motor combo. Applied to the rear axle, it’s enough to propel the P1 to 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds, while reaching a top speed of 217 mph at the other end. Only 375 were built, each carrying a price tag in excess of a million dollars.

Read our full review on the 2014 McLaren P1.

Ferrari LaFerrari

2014 Ferrari LaFerrari Exterior AutoShow
- image 496624

Not long after the release of the McLaren P1, Ferrari made its presence known in the segment with this – the hybrid LaFerrari. Mating a naturally aspirated 6.3-liter V-12 with a hybrid system inspired by KERS and Formula 1, the Ferrari Squared makes a combined 950 horsepower, all of which is directed to the rear axle thanks to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The 0-to-60 mph benchmark is dispatched in 2.5 seconds, while top speed is pegged at 218 mph. Motorsport-inspired tech dominates throughout. Pricing is set at around $1.42 million – if Ferrari deems you worthy to buy one, that is.

Read our full review on the 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari

Conclusion

2018 Aria FXE Exterior
- image 750175
Its obvious Aria spent a good amount of time making the FXE look the part of a world-beating hypercar. But here’s the real question – what’ll happen when the rubber really meets the road?

While it’s still a few years out, the Aria FXE certainly appears to be on the right track, at least as far as appearances go. That said, in this segment, appearances count for a lot, and smartly, its obvious Aria spent a good amount of time making the FXE look the part of a world-beating hypercar.

But here’s the real question – what’ll happen when the rubber really meets the road? Will the FXE have what it takes to perform with track superstars like Ferrari and McLaren? Sure, the power numbers are impressive, and with its carbon fiber monocoque, enormous brakes, aggressive aero, and sticky Pirelli tires, it’s got all the right buzz words to make one think it’s in the same class as the P1 or LaFerrari.

So yeah, it’s got the right aesthetic to compete with Ferrari and McLaren, if you like the way it looks. But to us (and the majority of buyers as well), the way it goes is just as important, and we’re not convinced Aria has the right stuff to match the big makes in that regard. McLaren and Ferrari have an incredible resume to fall back on when it comes to actually making the numbers and words work as a complete package, so in that respect, Aria has some catching up to do.

But that said, we’ll reserve final judgment until this thing finally gets driven in anger. Until then, we’re happy to sit back and simply take in all those curves.

  • Leave it
    • * Aria’s first production model might need some ironing out
    • * Styling isn’t for everyone
    • * Not exactly the most forgiving segment to try your hand in

Who Is Aria?

2018 Aria FXE Exterior
- image 750197
3,450-pound curb weight

Based out of Irvine, California, and supported by a research and development center in Detroit, Michigan, Aria is a design, engineering, and manufacturing group focused on the transportation, aerospace, production, and entertainment industries. The company boasts over two decades of experience, and has worked with Honda, Toyota, Ford, GM, Disney, Paramount, and Northrop Grumman.

References

2017 Los Angeles Auto Show – Visitor's Guide
- image 745566

Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: