Take away the “concept” tag from the B6 Venator Concept and what is left is a Porsche 911 challenger from the Dutch firm that – for all intents and purposes – went bust trying to save Saab.
The Venator is extremely well proportioned, around 140mm shorter than a Porsche 911 but wider and with a longer wheelbase. In the metal, this gives it a neater and more compact appearance than the plump-ish Spykers of years past. The chassis is aluminium and the body carbon fibre, which helps to explain how those creases across the wings were rendered so crisply. It does not explain, however, the refreshing simplicity and elegance of the Venator’s lines, penned by company chief executive Victor Muller himself. Perhaps the saga of Muller’s failed attempt to save Saab has led him to a newfound clarity of approach.
Spyker pitches the Venator as a sign of a new design philosophy at the tiny brand. Propeller motifs are out, turbine cues are in. The 19-inch wheels are described by the company as Turbofan designs. The LED taillamps resemble jet afterburners. Even the roof mimics a glass aircraft canopy, rather than the slightly Boeing touch of older Spykers. Aerospace, not aircraft.
The stats certainly stack up. This two-seat, mid-engine sports car has 911 rival written all over it. It weighs less than 1,400kg (3,100lbs), produces 375 horsepower from a turbocharged V6 engine and, as is the modern trend for sports cars, a self-shifting gearbox rather than a stick shift (pity about only six forward gears, mind). Spyker is known to set cars up properly, too, with dynamics to match the visual drama.
It is scheduled to arrive in Europe and the Middle East in early 2014, with North America following in the fall. Prices have yet to be announced, but if the interior is anything to go by, the Venator will command a premium over the 911. Spyker’s utterly beautiful aircraft-inspired cabin design – from green dials to swathes of metal switches to rich tan leather – showcases the beautiful craftsmanship that such an expenditure would bring.
Few expected Spyker to survive. Even fewer believed it would bring out a leftfield alternative to the 911 that genuinely offers something new and neat in the marketplace. But the Venator suggests there may yet be another act for Muller and his little company.