An insane exploration of the physical limits

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Of course, this carbon fiber supercar bears a strong resemblance to modern Ferraris: Pininfarina was the supercar maker’s styling house for more than half a century.

JAMES LIPMAN / PININFARINA

Ferrari is no longer so into Pininfarina. So what is Pininfarina doing now? The name has been around since 1930. The only car ever sold under that name was the ugly 102-hp Azzurra Spider, an old Fiat that the famous Italian design house maintained in the 1980s to keep busy. But now it’s started a new company building a $ 2.4 million, 1,877-horsepower, two-seat, all-electric, all-wheel drive supercar. Is that enough?

The Battista literally vibrates in anticipation of a trip. Pininfarina has outfitted it with speakers that constantly hum a musical chord for character and drama. This adds a vibrato resonance to the carbon fiber structure, but goes unnoticed at speed. It’s threatening and calming at the same time, depending on whether you’re in or out of the car. A 4,400 pound street rocket that can reach 217 mph shouldn’t be too quiet. In every existential crisis there is an opportunity.

This story originally appeared in Volume 8 of Road & Track.

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With money from India, a head office in Germany, the Swedish CEO Per Svantesson and a lot of help from the Croatian company Rimac, this carbon fiber ogre, named after the founder of the design house, Battista “Pinin” Farina, embodies what Automobili Pininfarina has to offer his has decided.

To be clear, Carrozzeria Pininfarina is the old school design company. Automobili Pininfarina is the new auto company taking advantage of the recognizable name and design tradition. Pininfarina’s design studios are still located in Cambiano, Italy. Automobili Pininfarina is now in Munich.

The Battista has the familiar shape of a mid-engined super sports car. However, that is some comforting consolation to the Convention. An electric motor drives each wheel, and a massive T-shaped battery fills most nooks and crannies. If the form of the function is strictly followed, it may not look like it at all.

It may be the wrong mid-engine, but it’s not built to dominate the racetrack. “We decided to stay away from the Nürburgring because it is basically not suitable for us,” explains Georgios Syropoulos, driving dynamics manager and chief test driver of the Battista. “This is not a car that we put on the market as a lap time product. But we’re using another venue that’s probably just as – if not more – prestigious in terms of supercar development. This is Nard. To a certain extent even more challenging than the Nürburgring. It’s a very fast-paced place. ”Okay, but the ring is the standard. The Nardò route in southern Italy does not have the same seal of approval.

Ours was a brief adventure – just a few miles on roads above Palm Springs, California, and a couple of laps around the 2.68 mile desert circuit at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway in a near-production prototype. Keep these impressions in context before making a purchase decision.

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As with a real super sports car, the doors don’t just open, they fly upwards. The cockpit isn’t lavish or particularly luxurious; it’s strong in a bespoke Armani way. Opposite the driver are three flat screens, the middle one an iPhone-sized speedometer. The steering wheel is thickly edged and flattened at the top and bottom. In the footwell there are beautiful brake and accelerator pedals made of cast aluminum and a dead pedal for support. Much of the interior is made from the raw carbon fiber that makes up the passenger pan.

pininfarina battista
Battista’s dashboard is as high-tech as you’d expect from an EV supercar, but there’s no getting around it looking like two tablets and a smartphone.

JAMES LIPMAN / PININFARINA

Inside the Battista, the insane details of the Bugatti Chiron are missing. And while it’s good looking overall, it’s not as amazing as a Lamborghini. For a car that bears the name of the company that has drawn so many beautiful cars for other brands, the Battista looks a bit general. The gazillionaire hypercar market is specialized and small. Madness and daring are not necessarily defects of character when the edition is only 150 pieces.

Since there is virtually no insulation between the carbon fiber and the driver’s body, the Battista has a real mechanical feel. Computers modulate everything – the torque vectoring dance between the four motors, the steering assistance, the brake feel, that sound – but the engineers at Pininfarina decided to make the occupants of the Battista fully aware of the physical sensations that all this computing power entails. The driver feels the insane exploration of the physical limits of the Battista.

pininfarina battista
The interior is economical in order to save weight, but the few cushions that are there are evidence of great attention to detail.

JAMES LIPMAN / PININFARINA

pininfarina battista
A depiction of the signature of Battista “Pinin” Farina on the steering wheel of the Pininfarina Battista.

JAMES LIPMAN / PININFARINA

It’s unlikely that the ultra-wealthy owners will wait for all of the 6960 lithium-ion cells to be fully charged. Let help take care of the charging. Workerbees will appreciate the range of 310 miles according to EU regulatory tests or 230 miles according to US EPA standards. With a 180 kW charger, the Battista can charge its batteries from 20 to 80 percent in 25 minutes, according to Pininfarina.

The driver won’t care because, dear God, this thing is fun.

Climbing out of town, chasing a Tesla pace car, the achievement here is the steering feel. While part of the support comes from the torque vectoring algorithm, the electric power steering is precisely mapped to counteract an overboost. Credit is also due to the Rimac team, which conjured up the drive train and developed the central control software. There’s a lot of Rimac Nevera in the Battista, and figuring out how they differ in final character and performance will take a long time to grapple with both of them. Hopefully that will happen soon.

Speed ​​comes with blinding suddenness. Pininfarina claims a time of 1.8 seconds from 0 to 60 mph and a top speed of 217 mph. The Battista’s overwhelming torque causes the driver to involuntarily contract his diaphragm so as not to drown in pound feet. Its thrust recurs spines. It is absolutely amazing. And terrifying. And intoxicating.

pininfarina battista

JAMES LIPMAN / PININFARINA

On this short stretch, the Battista’s boundaries seem to be around Neptune. Maybe there is some way to scour the edge of this car on a long track like Monza, but on a tight track like Chuckwalla, forget about it. It has traction like a rocket propelled salamander climbing an endless strip of flypaper. Pushed just right, the tail wags like that of a happy husky and then pulls in again with the slightest correction. It’s as entertaining as hell’s own multiplex.

And yet, despite so many computers, it doesn’t feel like a moderated machine at work. A Ferrari V-12 makes more vivid sounds, a supercharged General Motors V-8 is more brutal, and virtually any internal combustion engine is more challenging (after all, gears are involved). But it’s great fun when the batteries are charged and the road ahead is dominating.

The Battista is expected to be delivered to its first buyer in early 2022. How relevant, how innovative, how exciting it will appear in the midst of so many other supercars remains open to speculation. Or daydreaming.

Specifications
2022 Pininfarina Battista

Price:

$ 2.4 million
Engines:

4 electric motors
Output:

1877 hp
1696 ft-lb
Transmission:

Direct drive
Empty weight:

4400 lb
0-60 mph:

1.8 seconds


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