The car that should relaunch Pininfarina after seven years since it last made a car

Pininfarina, the company best well known for its association with Ferrari, wants to break free from under the shade of the Prancing Horse and make a name for itself as the builder of the fastest car to come out of Italy. The name of this car? Battista, like the name of the company’s founder. The numbers that should firmly plant this car on the map? 1,900 horsepower and 1,696 pound-feet, a 0 to 62 mph sprint in less than two seconds, and a top speed of about 250 mph. All done by an EV powertrain that’s capable of running over 300 miles between charges.

Reading those numbers it’s easy to dismiss the Pininfarina Battista as just another ludicrous car that will never actually become reality. Something like the Devel Sixteen, the Arabian hypercar that packs a V-16 engine that’s capable of 5,000 horsepower. That one was supposedly slated to start final testing this month. Or the equally insane Vector WX-8, Jerry Wiegert’s project that should’ve brought his once proud company back from the dead. He said 12 years ago that a 10-liter, twin-turbocharged, V-8 will power the car and that it will crank out 1,850 horsepower. More recently, Wiegert sold his two WX-3 prototypes to fund the project.

But the Battista is a more serious offering than both those elusive creations. First off, Pininfarina was bought by Mahindra four years ago for $190.6 million and, as we know, Mahindra has the financial power to throw cash at a project like this if so desires. With Pininfarina aiming to build just 150 of these, 50 dedicated to each of its three markets: Europe, America, and the Middle-East, we can expect people to actually come forth with pre-orders once it gets revealed at Geneva in a couple of weeks.

Exterior

  • Striking low-slung body
  • Light bar across the front fascia
  • Taillights attached to the rear wing
  • Inspired by Pura design language
  • Draws minimal inspiration from the H2 Speed
  • Glass greenhouse to go from front to back
  • Clever aerodynamic features
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Pininfarina isn’t a new name on the block. In fact, it’s one of the oldest, with Battista ’Pinin’ Farina founding the company back in 1930 as a coachbuilding firm aimed at the rich and their passion for tailor-made automobiles. During its first years as a coachbuilder, Pinin Farina built bodies that would sit on Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Isotta Fraschini, Hispano-Suiza, and even Rolls-Royce underpinnings. Pinin Farina also built some of the first unibody cars for Lancia in the ’30s before World War II broke out.

After the War, Pinin Farina designed the classy Cisitalia 202 that featured many cues that went on to become typical of Pinin Farina’s designs in the following years. The company was also behind arguably the prettiest Nash ever made, the Healey. Another American manufacturer to partner with Pinin Farina after the War was Cadillac who dispatched the build of its 1959-1960 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham to Italy where the cars were painted and partially assembled before being flown back to the U.S. for final assembly and check-ups.

Around the time the Nash-Healey debuted, Pinin Farina also designed the first car for Ferrari - the 212.

It all came together after Battista Farina and Enzo Ferrari met at a restaurant in Tortona and struck a deal that saw Pinin Farina carry out not only the design process but also much of the engineering and building process of coming Ferraris. As Sergio, son of Battista, recalled, "It is not difficult to imagine how I felt that afternoon when my father, without taking his eyes off the road for one moment told me his decision as we drove back to Turin: ’From now on you’ll be looking after Ferrari, from A to Z. Design, engineering, technology, construction—the lot!"

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The partnership became so close over time that Pinin Farina (re-named Pininfarina in 1961) designed almost every Ferrari road car to come out of Maranello until 2013. In fact, the only non-Pininfarina Ferraris in over five and a half decades of intense and very close (Sergio Pininfarina used to be on Ferrari’s board) collaboration were the lackluster Dino 308 GT4 and the Ferrari LaFerrari. The LaFerrari came out at a time when Pininfarina was starting to wind down its operations as a car builder due to increasing financial pains.

As close as Pininfarina’s link with Ferrari was, the Italian company also designed cars for many other automakers throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century. One of the company’s big breaks was securing the design of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider which Pininfarina built at its plant near Grugliasco, outside of Turin. Sergio Pininfarina and Renzo Carli took over the reins of the company from Sergio’s father in the early ’60s and, then, in 2001, Andrea Pininfarina became CEO. Nowadays, Paolo Pininfarina is at the top of the pile while German Michael Perschke is the Director.

It’s hard to list all of Pininfarina’s world-renown creations.

Sergio himself is probably best known for designing the 206 GT and 246 GT Dinos as well as the Dino 206S.

However, the list of cars that received the Pininfarina badge stretches far beyond the confines of the Prancing Horse. For instance, the Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider is a Pininfarina design, as is the Lancia Flaminia Coupé, the Fiat 124 Sport Spider (which actually remains the only car to wear the Pininfarina badge until the Battista is formally launched as it was marketed without the Fiat logo in its final two years of production), and even the Peugeot 504 in both Coupe and Cabriolet forms.

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Pininfarina also employed an enviable list of top-end designers such as Tom Tjaarda, Leonardo Fioravanti (who was the CEO of Research and Development and penned, among others, the F40), Emanuele Nicosia (whose most famed creation is the 1984 Ferrari Testarossa), Ken Okuyama, and Jason Castriota among many others.

In spite of this storied history, wasn’t able to successfully dodge the effects of the 2008 recession and, by 2010, Pininfarina ended its last mass-production agreement with Alfa Romeo. Then, in 2013, the Volvo C70 also went out of production, that being truly the last car built by Pininfarina in a joint venture with Volvo.

At the same time, the Pininfarina Sergio came out and was built in very limited numbers, but by Ferrari.

Then the company went quiet until Mahindra bought it and got to where it is today, on the brink of launching the Automobili Pininfarina arm of the operation.

Luca Borgogno, the man behind the New Stratos, is Pininfarina’s Chief of Design and he talked with Top Gear about what the Pura philosophy which shaped the Battista means. "For us, purity is in our design, our powertrain, it’s in the materials we use. It’s a word that goes through our entire development process,” he told TG. “The design must be very simple, and so strong that we don’t need anything else.”

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Paolo Pininfarina, Battista’s grandson, added in the same article that "my grandfather used to say that our cars are designed by the wind," pointing out that "we had to comply with this idea of smoothness, of fluidity and aerodynamics. Driven by the air. The car that we are doing is following this clear vision.”

In the front, you can't miss the styling cues inspired by the Pininfarina Sergio model from 2013.

The curved nose is similar as is the narrow light bar across it. There’s also a blacked-out area just before the windshield with a rearward-facing vent that opens up lower down the nose of the car.

The light bar fits in a narrow opening of the fascia. The light bar was always lit up on the car seen at Geneva and it’s guarded by the two main light clusters positioned in the corners of the fascia with one main light source inside. The shape of the headlights vaguely reminds us of a McLaren but no McLaren has as big an adjustable wing on top of the nose as the Battista does. This element is rounded and comes on top of the nose, further standing out thanks to its blue paint that makes a stark contrast with the rest of the silver bodywork. There are other other blue details around the car like the blue stripe over the roof rails or the blue details on the rocker panels and around the intakes on the rear fenders.

Below the headlights, you can see a protruding splitter, again in the vein of the Sergio concept. That car too had a large, gaping mouth and this is what you’ll find on the Battista. The opening is actually intricate with multiple openings and a few winglets and fins that tell air what to do. There are two openings in each corner with a horizontally mounted fin and there’s also a central mesh grille that’s also in a recessed position, leaving the large-scale splitter with its dark carbon fiber inserts in the middle to do the talking.

According to Autocar magazine, the Battista features five radiators, but only two are prominent - the ones placed atop the rear wheel arches. The others are flush within the body lines that are less aggressive even than you would’ve expected from a 1,900 horsepower hypercar.

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Viewing the Battista from its side makes you realize just how ample the glass canopy really is, together with the narrow side rear-view mirrors. The line of the front fenders blends perfectly with the line of the doors and then goes up again to form the rear wheel arches and the two active wing elements. According to Autocar, the two elements that elevate above the line of the bodywork in the back "can also act as an air brake, but these will be modified to act as a single unit on the production car."

The same air-bending wizardry will apparently go on in the front where "the whole of the upper section of the nose cone acts as a spoiler that can lift up.

" Also, the diffuser is adjustable and works in tandem with the flat underbody.

You’ll also notice the beautiful way in which the rear wheel arches widen beyond the line of the cockpit with some brilliant surfacing along the doors, above the air vents that cut through the sills. On another example displayed at the show, the roof is covered in exposed carbon fiber and, what is more, the wing in front is painted in the same color as the rest of the body to make it harder for onlookers to tell it apart from the rest. The two air vents in the back, above the wheels, blend perfectly with the hips of the car which slightly conceal them and their carbon fiber elements.

Talking about the rear end, it’s the only part of the car we’ve seen in earnest. We’ve first seen it in a video by Supercar Blondie last year and, quite frankly, it’s stunning. From the way Pininfarina decided to incorporate the taillights in the twin rear wings to the shape of the rear bumper that’s basically one piece with the active diffuser and its G-shaped elements down below on both sides and with fins connected to them. This really is a car whose design blends form and function quite spectacularly without overdoing either things - if you can ignore the fact that, basically, the whole back bumper that’s one-piece with the diffuser is made out of carbon fiber.

Interior

  • Curved two-piece dashboard
  • Top piece covered in dark leather
  • F1-style steering wheel
  • Two main screens on either side of the wheel
  • Clean design with very few buttons and knobs
  • Driver-centered layout
  • Equipped with Level 3 autonomous systems
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We didn’t really know how the cabin of the Battista would look like until it got released. We were only treated with some artsy previews by Pininfarina that show the organic-looking interior with its smooth lines and uncluttered feel. The dash is one undulating piece that’s made out of two elements sandwiched together - a darker one on top and a lighter, metallic-esque one, down below.

Finally, at the Geneva Auto Show, we could glimpse at the cabin in ’flesh’. What we saw is quite stunning: the cabin blends black and brown leather in an amazing fashion with the top part of the dash being black and the bit below being brown. The two areas are separated by a strip of blue LEDs that are placed below the center panel of the dash. The center panel hosts the two digital screens on either side of the steering wheel as well as some air vents and some dials that are almost hidden from view.

The driver’s seat features brown upholstery while the passenger’s seat is covered in black leather instead. This blend can be seen on the central armrest where the two colors meet. Behind you, there are enormous amounts of carbon fiber that cover the speakers of the audio system. That is not to say you don’t have carbon fiber on the dash too: there is carbon fiber on the squashed steering wheel and then some more on the steering column and the two screens. It’s not surprising when the whole car is all but carved out of this lightweight material.

It all looks high-quality and it’s, obviously, 100% customizable. You’ll be able to choose the color of the materials, the materials themselves, the color of the stitching and, maybe, even the motif of the stitching on the seats - although I like the triangular design with light-colored stitching seen inside the cars at Geneva. You can also choose how much carbon fiber you want and where. I guess you can have those buttons and knobs on the center console (the big round one that is located towards the driver and controls the infotainment system and whatever the screens display for you and the other one positioned just in front of the key fob) wrapped in carbon fiber if your heart desires.

Only one lucky person will be able to share the experience of riding in a Battista with you but, if we are to trust the Italian automaker, it won’t be a harrowing experience, at least not as far as comfort goes. Michael Perschke, the Director of Pininfarina, told Top Gear that "we see the PF0 has a hyper GT, we are not selling a track car. The objective is day to day usability." To make the car more user-friendly, the Battista will feature Level 3 autonomous driving hardware but this isn’t a Tesla Model X, this is a car that - I hope - you’d want to drive yourself at all times!.

Drivetrain

  • 1,900 horsepower and almost 1,700 pound-feet of torque
  • Top speed of 250 mph
  • 0 to 62 mph in under 2 seconds
  • Powered by four electric motors
  • 0 to 186 mph in less than 12 seconds
  • Range of about 300 miles
  • Platform co-developed with Rimac
  • Will use technology from industry leaders to cut costs
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When I first wrote this review, the full specs weren’t out so all I had to work with were rumors and Pininfarina’s own words.

The company said it wants to put out a new standard in the supercar world, a car that will become the fastest ever to be born in Italy.

There numerous rumors that talked about a Rimac-developed platform underpinning the Battista proved to be bang on the money. This in spite of the reserved attitude of Rimac when reached on the topic by Road & Track. The Croatian automaker and tech developer that’s the creator of the ludicrous C Two said that "we are good friends and have had some interesting discussions in recent months around powertrain development and other mobility solutions relevant to sustainable and future automotive opportunities."

The supercar benefits from four electric motors, one connected to each wheel, each giving out equal amounts of torque and power. The battery packs are distributed between the area in front of the bulkhead and behind the seats in a smart ’T’ format. To cut the weight down, the chassis and body is made entirely out of carbon fiber. The combined capacity of the battery packs is 120 kWh. This is more than the reported figures which stated that the Battista will come with a battery pack 25% bigger than that on a Tesla Model S (the basic Model S is equipped with a 60 kWh battery pack and there’s also an 85 kWh version). You’ll also be able to fast-charge the Battista and replenish 80% of the battery’s juice in just 40 minutes.

Now, let’s talk performance.

The Battista puts out 1,900 horsepower and 1,696 pound-feet of torque.

That’s 420 horsepower and 520 pound-feet of torque more than the Bugatti Chiron. Most of us would be happy to HAVE a car with 420 horsepower and 520 pound-feet of torque alone! Also, the Battista will probably weigh less than the 4,400-pound Chiron in spite of the electric drivetrain.

These numbers may seem over ambitious but let’s just think a moment about the Rimac C_Two. It has 1,888 horsepower from a 120 kWh Lithium-ion battery pack with a claimed range of 400 miles on the NEDC cycle. It can do 0 to 62 mph in 1.85 seconds and will go on to a top speed of almost 260 mph. The Battista, meanwhile, can’t exceed 250 mph and it’s also slower to 62 mph as it needs a whopping - I’m kidding - 1.9 seconds to reach that speed and 12 seconds to reach 186 mph from naught.

Details about the suspension, steering, and anything about driving modes and electronic aids are thin on the ground at the moment, but you should expect the Battista to pack everything that’s new in this department, at least if the company wants its car to be driveable given its Earth-shaking numbers.

The test driver of the Battista will be Mahindra's former Formula E driver Nick Heidfeld.

The 41-year-old German took part in 183 Formula 1 Grand Prix races and finished on the podium eight times.

Autocar reported that "the business plan is for Automobili Pininfarina to produce the car ‘asset light’, leveraging existing technology and using technology partnerships rather than sinking huge sums into proprietary technology. Most of the company’s efforts will go into interior and exterior design and fit and finish." The range is expected to be around 300 miles on a single charge and this, again, falls short of Rimac’s numbers but that’s not surprising.

Pricing

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The first Pininfarina road car will be hugely expensive and that’s to be expected given all the tech that goes in such a project, the expected performance figures, and the exclusivity.

When it will go on sale, sometime in 2020, it will cost $2.5 million.

That’s about $400,000 more than the $2.1 million Rimac C_Two and at least $100,000 cheaper than the standard 273 mph Chiron - although if you add options you can easily spring up to $3 million. The Chiron Sport, on the other hand, has an MSRP of $3.4 million,$900,000 more than the Battista.

In the light of these price tags, the Italian EV might not seem like quite the steal we hoped it would be (with a project MSRP of $1.7 million that is), but you mustn’t forget that only 150 will be made. There will be 50 allocated for each key market: the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East and the Far East together. Apparently, most of the cars reserved for the American market have already found owners, interested parties being wowed by a scale mock-up of the Battista they got to see last year. That’s to say that if you have $2.5 million to spend on an electric supercar designed by Pininfarina and you live Stateside, there might not be any Battista left for you at the time of writing...

Competition

Bugatti Chiron

2018 Bugatti Chiron High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Bugatti isn’t of the opinion that you should refresh your lineup too often. That’s why the Veyron was kept in production for over a decade and that’s why the Chiron will be the company’s main product for many years to come. The hypercar named after Louis Chiron, the Pre-War Grand Prix racer that won the 1934 Grand Prix de l’ACF, weighs 4,400 pounds, is filled with leather and other materials of the highest caliber, and could be the fastest car in the world. Sadly, Bugatti won’t attempt a top speed run, so all we know is that, with the special key, it can reach 261 mph.

The Chiron is underpinned by a carbon fiber monocoque structure with independent suspension all around. Max torque, which is 1,180 pound-feet, is available between 2,600 and 6,000 rpm. The Veyron’s replacement develops 492 horsepower more than its predecessor and 295 horsepower more than the Veyron Super Sport. It does 0 to 60 mph in 2.4 seconds according to the manufacturer, 0 to 124 mph in 6.5 seconds, and 0 to 186 mph in 13.6 seconds. Finally, it’s the fastest accelerating car from 0 to 249 mph (400 km/h) as it reaches the ground-shaking velocity in 32.6 seconds. Insane numbers for an insanely expensive and, frankly, popular car (among the world’s richest, that is).

Read our full review on the 2018 Bugatti Chiron

Koenigsegg Regera

2017 Koenigsegg Regera High Resolution Exterior
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The Regera is Koenigsegg’s answer to people that’ve been lamenting about the Swedish supercar maker’s constant rehashing of the CCX design into countless other versions topped by the Agera RS and the One:1. The Regera, unveiled three years ago, is a whole new design and hides within a whole new concept. Aimed to be a more laid back alternative to the Regera, it’s a hybrid with a one-gear transmission.

That clever transmission, invented by Christian Von Koenigsegg himself, named Koenigsegg Direct Drive System (KDD). It features a single-speed fixed-gear unit, often called a direct drive, with a 2.73:1 reduction ratio. At speeds below 30 mph, the wheel shaft electric motors mostly propel the car through the use of a hydraulic coupling. In spite of the presence of this gearbox, the Regera still has paddles behind the steering wheel that simulates downshifts.

The Regera puts out a combined output of 1,797 horsepower and 1,475 pound-feet of torque. The curb weight is 3,510 pounds, about as much as an Audi A6 or a Nissan Maxima. However, no Maxima will ever dream of reaching 62 mph from a standstill in 2.8 seconds and, obviously, no Maxima costs $2.2 million. Actually, you could buy almost 65 $35,000 Maximas for the price of one Regera!

Read our full review on the 2019 Koenigsegg Regera

Final Thoughts

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The Pininfarina Battista seems to be a genuine contender at the title of ’fastest EV car ever’ and, maybe, fastest car ever outright. With 1,900 horsepower and a partnership with Rimac in place, we’re sure the car can deliver the astonishing performance Pininfarina’s been talking about. It will also be an ultra-rare bird and, frankly, it won’t be that expensive given that a transmission-less Regera costs only $300,000 (or a Lambo) less than a running and driving Battista.

Then there’s the styling. We can agree that the Chiron isn’t particularly beautiful and, in my eyes at least, the Regera also isn’t as pretty as the Agera or One:1. But the Pininfarina-designed EV supercar seems to also tick the looks box. We haven’t seen it in its entirety just yet, but from what we’ve been shown, we think it’s gonna be a great looking piece of kit considering the Pininfarina Sergio is through and through.

Further Reading

2020 Pininfarina PF0 Battista
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Pininfarina’s PF0 Electric Hypercar Wants To Redefine The Segment

Pininfarina Partners With Rimac For The First-Ever Pure Electric Hypercar
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Pininfarina Partners With Rimac For The First-Ever Pure Electric Hypercar

2019 Pininfarina H2 Speed
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Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Pininfarina H2 Speed.

2018 Pininfarina HK GT
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Read our full review on the 2018 Pininfarina HK GT.

2015 Ferrari Sergio Exterior High Resolution
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Read our full review on the 2015 Ferrari Sergio

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