The battle for EV performance supremacy looks like it’s over before it even began

The world went gaga when Tesla dropped a surprise debut of its next-gen Roadster last November, with analysts and speed fans alike drooling over the claims made by the high-tech EV sports machine. Some of the numbers and specs seemed insane for a street-legal road car, but with an official on-sale date still several years away, there was time for the rest of the industry to catch up. Now, it looks like the Tesla just got one-upped before it could even hit the road, as Rimac dropped the C Two in Geneva with a list of numbers capable of delivering a K.O. punch to the upcoming Roadster 2.0.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story

There’s a lot to learn about these machines, with both offering performance and technology that looks to break new ground. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what each has in terms of the exterior, interior, and powertrain to see how they stack up.

Exterior Style And Aero

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Note: 2020 Tesla Roadster pictured on the left, Rimac C Two pictured on the right.

The Tesla Roadster 2.0 arrives to the party boasting a sleek speed slab profile, while the Rimac incorporates far more details and curves.

Let’s kick things of the with Tesla Roadster 2.0, which arrives to the party boasting a traditional speed slab profile. The stance is low and wide, with flared fenders and huge wheels front to back giving it a poised, ready-to-pounce attitude. The lines are sleek and menacing, while thin headlights and taillights bookend a centrally placed greenhouse.

It’s definitely an original design, and one of the most aggressive we’ve ever seen from the California-based company. It’s also functional, with active aero elements in place to help it stick.

2019 Rimac C Two Exterior
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Dimensionally speaking, the C Two appears to be larger.

By comparison, the carbon-clad Rimac is also quite low and wide, with a central cockpit and flared fenders, but the similarities end there. Dimensionally speaking, the C Two appear to be quite a bit larger, while the style incorporates far more details and curves than the Tesla. There are wings and intakes everywhere on this machine. There’s also more drama thanks to the butterfly doors, while the plus-sized rollers incorporate concave wheel covers to enhance the aero efficiency. LED lighting can be found at both ends, and there’s loads of active aero elements, much more than you get on the Tesla.

Interior Spec And Tech

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Note: 2020 Tesla Roadster pictured on the left, Rimac C Two pictured on the right.

Step into the Tesla, and you’ll be met with a simplified cabin design that’s almost antiseptically clean. By comparison, the Rimac is far more plush.

Step into the Tesla, and you’ll be met with a simplified cabin design. The shapes are solid throughout, with curves and geometric structures that lend it a spacey kind of vibe. It’s also almost antiseptically clean. The steering wheel is small and rectangular, while passengers are help in place by large seat bolsters. Brushed metal and carbon are used for the materials.

A plethora of large digital readouts are on hand for infotainment purposes, including a prominent touchscreen that makes up the majority of the center console, and there’s a G meter that can be used to monitor your performance driving stats. There’s also a 2+2 seating arrangement and several compartments for storage. Up top is a removable targa roof to let in some extra fresh air, and although Tesla didn’t specify, the Roadster 2.0 should come with a host advanced self-driving tech.

Moving over to the Rimac, we find a much more plush cabin space. Carbon is used for the dash, with rounded gauges added here and there to provide the driver with critical info. Leather and Alcantara are used for the upholstery, and billet aluminum is used for the switchgear.

In addition to the screen in the center console, there’s five other screens scattered around the cockpit, including an all-digital gauge readout behind the flat-bottom steering wheel. The tech load-out is on point, with facial recognition rather than a traditional key, plus there is the usual assortment of autonomous safety systems, including automatic braking, evasion control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-sleep assist, and adaptive cruise control. There’s even a “Driving Coach” that helps you perform better in the track. Seating is limited to two passengers, but Rimac insists there’s enough cargo room to bring luggage on an extended getaway, framing the C Two as a “true grand tourer.”

Powertrain And Performance

2019 Rimac C Two
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Both machines offer four-figure output, 0-to-60 mph times under 2 seconds, and top speeds over 250 mph.

Slick styling and sweet tech are all well and good, but we’d be lying if we didn’t say the most important feature of both these vehicles was the performance.

Once again, let’s begin with the Tesla, which comes equipped with three electric motors total, with one in front and two in the rear. That gives it AWD grip and advanced torque vectoring handling. Juicing the motors is a 200-kWh battery. All told, Tesla claims the 2020 Roadster makes an astonishing 10,000 Nm (7,376 pound-feet) of torque, which is the kind of number you’d expect from an aircraft, not a two-door sports car.

Tesla Roadster 2.0 vs the Rimac C Two - Did Rimac Just Beat Tesla To The Punch?
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All that juice means the Tesla can hit 60 mph in 1.9 seconds,100 mph in 4.2 seconds, and the quarter mile in 8.9 seconds

All that juice means the Tesla can hit 60 mph in 1.9 seconds,100 mph in 4.2 seconds, and the quarter mile in 8.9 seconds. Top speed is rated at more than 250 mph, and it’ll go a whopping 620 miles per charge.

On to the Rimac, which offers its own mind-melting stats. Under the floor is a liquid-cooled 120-kWh battery, which sends many many electronics to the four dual permanent-magnet oil-cooled electric motors. Each motor is connected to its own individual gearbox, and there’s infinitely variable all-wheel torque vectoring and carbon ceramic brakes to assist in the handling department.

Output for the C Two is rated at over 1,900 horsepower and 2,300 Nm (1,686 pound-feet) of torque. Rimac also says it’ll do the 0-to-60 mph shimmy in 1.85 seconds and achieve a top speed of 258 mph. Stay off the skinny pedal, and it’ll offer 404 miles of range as well.

Tesla’s Ace In The Hole

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There’s one very big difference between the 2020 Tesla Roadster and Rimac C Two - the price.

While we could draw similarities between these two machines all day long, there’s one very big difference between the 2020 Tesla Roadster and Rimac C Two - the price.

While the Rimac will fetch upwards of seven figures, the Tesla is priced at a much more reasonable $200,000 for the base model, or $250,000 for the fancy first edition “Founder” series model.

That’s a massive difference, and buyers will need to do a pretty major judgement call when lining these two against one another.

Conclusion

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Note: 2020 Tesla Roadster pictured on the left, Rimac C Two pictured on the right.

Here’s the real key differences between these two - the Rimac is here now, while the Roadster 2.0 is still several years away.

It goes without saying that the 2020 Tesla Roadster and Rimac C Two are both absolutely incredible machines. Both look very impressive and come with a cutting-edge suite of technology, and both go like hell from the word go.

There are a few differences to point out, though. For starters, the Rimac takes the styling drama to new heights thanks to the butterfly doors and extra speed-cue styling, plus the advanced active aero makes the thing feel truly alive. We’d argue the Rimac’s interior is also far nicer than the that of the Tesla, although we’d expect the Roadster to win out in terms of autonomous features (and headroom too).

Speed-wise, these things are pretty much matched evenly. The acceleration contest will come down to real-world conditions, drivers, and individual cars. We’d expect more or less the same thing in terms of handling, although we’ll have to see if the Tesla can edge out its competition thanks to a smaller size and lower curb weight.

But here’s the real key differences between these two - the Rimac is here now, while the Roadster 2.0 is still several years away. At the same time, the Rimac ismuch more expensive.

So, if it was your money - which would you rather have?

References

2019 Rimac C Two Exterior
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Read more about the 2018 Rimac Concept Two.

2020 Tesla Roadster
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7,376 pound-feet of torque

Read our full review on the 2020 Tesla Roadster.

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