Did I trip over a frayed extension cord, die, and get uploaded into a heaven dreamed up by adrenaline-addled robots? Or are we all just going to accept that the Apollo Intensa Emozione is an actual car?
A $2.7 million asking price for a 6.3-litre V12 churning out 780 horsepower without the help of a turbocharger, supercharger, nitrous or fancy hybrid-electric system. And all that energy moving just 1 249kg, that is the same weight as my polo GTI for goodness sake! At least, that’s what it says in the brochure. Only the best-connected automotive test pilots will get to drive one of these before its entire production run of 10 units is sold off and squirrelled away in, probably, the high-rise parking complexes of Dubai.
The rest of us will only be able to appreciate this outlier of extremes in photographs and, frankly, that might be enough. 24 hours after seeing the IE’s full form in these images I still haven’t been able to pick my jaw up.
Just look at it, it somehow has the ability to make a Lamborghini look like a Toyota Corolla, and the rest of the car scene is pretty much on the same page. I would take it a step further and say this thing makes most supercars look like body-kitted economy cars. Alright, fine, the Lamborghini still looks pretty intense. But it does look like a derivative, whereas the IE has obviously been downloaded from other dimensions. I would normally be one to dismiss the IE as an exercise in silliness since, of course, only two handfuls will even exist and the few that are put to pavement will probably not get the privilege of chasing the car’s claimed 340km/h top speed.
But, the new Apollo’s real magic is that it managed to land in the razor-thin sweet spot of extreme design that’s actually cool. Anybody can do over-the-top, but the IE is interesting too. It’s barely a car; as far away from traditional automotive design as it could possibly be while also seeming like the new definition of what a cool car could look like.
It’s not blasphemous for the sake of stirring up trouble like a Mansory-rebodied Mercedes and it definitely doesn’t have the elegance of an Aston Martin. The Apollo IE is just so successfully radical that it, and the people who put it together, deserve our respect, fully! The fact that the Apollo is essentially old-school with a naturally aspirated engine, rear-wheel drive and a six-speed transmission is such a twist of the knife stabbed into today’s supercars that are trying so hard to sell us on new-fangled takes on propulsion and intelligent electronically optimised ways to put down power.
Even (especially?) if no reviewer ever drives it, the idea of this car is going to be really difficult to beat. And in the supercar game, numbers are important, but the idea is all most fans ever have to go on, and that's how legends are forged. But, I have to admit, I’m a little scared of this car. Even seeing it from the safety of my computer screen. Just weeks ago the car community was alight with arguments over whether or not the Honda Civic Type R looked too extreme. Now look at this and then find a picture of the V-Tec Yo!
Seriously though, I don’t envy the talented automotive artists in Maranello and Bologna and everywhere else who now have to sit down and try to draw a car that can out-insane this without falling into an uncanny valley of self-parody. Actually, what am I talking about, is that kind of challenge could get us the coolest wave of supercars the world’s ever seen. Bring it on. If nothing else, I think we’ll have the Apollo to thank for some exciting experiments at the extreme end of the automotive world.