TOKYO -- Imagine a car that exists only to humiliate every other car off the line at a stop light. How much should that cost? One million? Two million? How about $3.6 million?
A little-known Japanese company is betting at least 50 people will say yes. At least, that's the number it will make of its all-electric Owl.
When it delivers the first car in mid-2020, Osaka-based Aspark is guaranteeing customers a sprint time of 1.99 seconds from a dead stop to 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) on street-legal tires. A prototype that sports racing slicks already clocked this in as little as 1.89 seconds in February.
That face-flattening performance is fueled by an electric powertrain that promises to deliver a minimum 1,150 hp and 653 pound-feet of torque. A carbon-fiber body and magnesium alloy wheels keep the rest of the car as light as possible, giving it a dry weight of about 3,300 pounds.
The Owl will be on display at the Paris Motor Show that begins this week, and the company will start taking nonrefundable 1 million euro ($1.15 million) deposits there. Consumers won't be able to test drive it for another year or so, though — the show car is basically a shell, and the test car is back at a warehouse in Japan. Even the powertrain won't be finalized for a couple of months, as the handful of engineers comprising the Owl team debates crucial details like how many motors to use.
The low-slung two-seater certainly looks the part of a Lambo killer. Aspark founder and CEO Masanori Yoshida says the sleek lines are as much about fulfilling his own personal hypercar fantasy as about aerodynamics. The front end is designed to be menacing when spotted approaching in the rear-view mirror, and the tail lights are styled to resemble a smug grin as the car accelerates away.
Voluptuous wheel arches and an oversized spoiler give an air of extravagance, but in other respects the car is spartan. There's little in the way of electronics to speak of, and no assisted-driving features. Overnight trip? Forget about it. The only storage space is the glove box.