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RE: Zenvo TS1 GT: Driven

Wednesday 8th November

Zenvo TS1 GT: Driven

Leaf-eating new model has 1180hp - and potentially a ticket to the big time



For £1,200,000 you could buy a very well used Learjet - or a much newer Cessna - but if you're really in a hurry, you should consider the 1180hp Zenvo TS1 GT. It'll get you there faster.

The Danish company is the latest arrival in the increasingly packed boutique hypercar sector - although it isn't really new at all. Having been founded way back in 2004, Zenvo has been hanging around in the margins for some time now, but is yet to establish itself as a credible rival to the likes of Pagani and Koenigsegg.


Its first car, the ST1, went into production in 2009, although only a small handful were ever built. Recently, though, the company was bought out by a Russian billionaire - how often have you read that in the last decade? - which means Zenvo finally has the backing and financial stability it's been lacking for so long. Company bosses hope its latest model, the TS1 GT, will be the car that puts it on the map for good.

The TS1 GT is clearly an evolution of the original ST1. The styling hasn't changed a great deal, but under the skin plenty of work has been done. The engine, for instance, is all-new and unusually, even for this rarified corner of the performance car sector, is Zenvo's own design. The 5.8-litre V8 is boosted by a pair of superchargers, which immediately gives the car its all-important USP amongst the rest of its hypercar competition.


In an everyday context the TS1 GT looks utterly sensational, especially in this eye-watering shade of green. What's most commendable about the design though is that it isn't derivative in any way. It doesn't look anything like a Bugatti, or a Lamborghini, and you certainly wouldn't confuse it for a Ferrari. The squashed hexagonal styling theme works well on the outside and it spills into the cabin, too, with no degree of restraint. There are six-sided polygons everywhere you look, which I don't mind, but when even the steering wheel has been crafted into the angular shape, they may well have gone too far.

In many ways the Zenvo is a pretty conventional performance car. It uses a steel and aluminium monocoque rather than a carbon tub - at 1,710kg it's far from the lightest hypercar on the block - and the suspension is double wishbones all around with passive KW dampers. What is unique about the TS1 GT, though, is that you can choose from three transmission options; a six-speed manual (yes, the kind that has a stick-thing on the transmission tunnel and that funny third pedal), a paddle shift sequential with synchromesh and a paddle shift with dog rings. The latter is the rawest, most aggressive gearbox option, Zenvo says, and it's the one fitted here.


Rather than being the finished production model, this car is a pre-production prototype and, apparently, there's quite a lot of work still to be done. The car is in the UK to undergo some late-stage, low-speed testing - it needs to be useable around town, after all - and also to get the attention of whoever it is that might spend £1.2m on a car they've never heard of. Zenvo has appointed Buckinghamshire-based Super Veloce Racing as its first dealer, which hopes to sell between two and five cars per year.

Naturally enough the car's beating heart is its throbbing engine... even when it's way down on power. For this stage of the development process Zenvo has turned the boost right down so it's only producing 760hp or so - why did I even get out of bed? - but it's still completely monstrous. It feels less like a complex arrangement of mechanical parts and more like something Saint George would have squared up against. Being twin supercharged it has instant throttle response, like a normally aspirated engine, and with no turbochargers to smother the exhaust note there's a rich, authentic soundtrack, too. Power delivery is linear and progressive, meaning the longer you dare keep your right boot in the more the rate of acceleration builds and the faster it seems to haul you towards the scene of the accident. Even when it's been robbed of 400hp, this engine is so much more exciting than most big power turbo units.


The gearbox shows flashes of brilliance too, like when you pull for an upshift on a wide open throttle at 7,000rpm and it swaps ratios in an instant. Elsewhere though, it's pretty rubbish. Ask it to change up on half throttle at 3,000rpm and the ignition cut is so severe you'd swear somebody had just jabbed the brake pedal. Zenvo admits there's still a lot of development work to do here.

Its KW suspension is three-way adjustable, but set up the way it was on the day, and on the bumpy roads we were using, the TS1 GT's ride was only just about on the acceptable side. It's busy, pattery and the car crashes over ridges and sunken drain covers. It's perfectly reasonable on slightly smoother roads, though, where you really can appreciate the composure, body control and damping in compressions. The car is also really well balanced in cornering and has very good traction. The fat Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres give it masses of grip which you can really lean on thanks to the detailed, intuitive steering.


In fact, once you get up the TS1 GT a little bit you basically drive it like it you would a much smaller, lighter sports car. It isn't as intimidating as you might imagine, although I can't say what it feels like with close to 1,200hp. Utterly terrifying would be my guess.

There is a fair way to go before the TS1 GT is ready, as Zenvo itself acknowledges. But can it ever justify that £1.2m asking price? As it is, I'm just not convinced the cabin, or overall fit and finish, is exceptional enough to do so. Go ahead and buy the business jet for now, we'll see if Zenvo can deliver the goods with the production model.


ZENVO TS1 GT
Engine
: 5,800cc, twin supercharged V8
Transmission: 7-speed CIMA sequential, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 1,180@7,700rpm
Torque (lb ft): 811@7,700rpm
0-62mph: 2.8secs
Top speed: 233mph (limited)
Weight: 1,710kg (kerb weight)
MPG: N/A
CO2: N/A
Price: £1,200,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

cmoose

Original Poster:

39,856 posts

152 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
Leafy.

MDMetal

728 posts

71 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
Looks a bit too angular for my liking, bit of a cooling issue if the grill fills up that easily?

E65Ross

19,459 posts

135 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
cmoose said:
Leafy.
Does seem to eat them doesn't it....and forgets to brush its teeth afterwards!

DrSteveBrule

1,347 posts

54 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
With a few twists it transforms into...


MrBarry123

4,312 posts

44 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
cmoose said:
Leafy.
Leaf it out.

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pozi

1,495 posts

110 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
Why did they bother letting PH drive a car that is so far from being finished, if it was an attempt to drum up interest I cannot see how this review will help in the slightest.

As a side note if I remember correctly the original Zenvo broke down on Topgear, and then caught fire when it came back repaired.




DaveR

1,207 posts

207 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
I don’t get the fascination of so many manufacturers with using expanses of honeycomb pattern everywhere. The only time honeycomb looks good is when bees have made it and it’s full of honey.

Fetchez la vache

4,966 posts

137 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
In fairness to Zenvo *all* pre-production models are rubbish!

I remember taking a pre-production Escort cab over to Ireland in 1991. The border guards gave the car a good going over and thought there was something hidden in the door - the thing really was rattling so much like a wooden cart. With the car unloaded and the door skins off they still couldn't find where the rattle was coming from and gave up. Happy days.


Good luck to Zenvo - I'd love it to be a success - it does seem so different from the rest.

ZOLLAR

18,872 posts

96 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
The steering wheel looks huge/fat!



Looks great but not sure if it's worth over a million?

AmosMoses

2,633 posts

88 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
I'd need to have a poke around it to see if that price tag is valid, seems really strong money for what it is! At least this one hasn't caught fire.

mooseracer

228 posts

93 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
Fetchez la vache said:
In fairness to Zenvo *all* pre-production models are rubbish!

I remember taking a pre-production Escort cab over to Ireland in 1991. The border guards gave the car a good going over and thought there was something hidden in the door - the thing really was rattling so much like a wooden cart. With the car unloaded and the door skins off they still couldn't find where the rattle was coming from and gave up. Happy days.


Good luck to Zenvo - I'd love it to be a success - it does seem so different from the rest.
It wasn't just pre-production Escort Cabriolets that were rubbish.....

Europa1

5,262 posts

111 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
The interior looks a bit Blake's 7. And not in a good way.

Aes87

76 posts

6 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
yeh I'll take the Learjet thanks

Hoofy

65,614 posts

205 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
I am seeing a design flaw!

DrSteveBrule said:
With a few twists it transforms into...

hehe

The Surveyor

4,929 posts

160 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
DaveR said:
I don’t get the fascination of so many manufacturers with using expanses of honeycomb pattern everywhere. The only time honeycomb looks good is when bees have made it and it’s full of honey.
It's to pick up on the styling of the front grill, similar to Aston Martin making the instrument binnacle the same shape as their grill back in the old days.

I'm sure its awesome but I'm not convinced it's £1.2m awesome though.

Atomic12C

3,825 posts

140 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
The Surveyor said:
I'm sure its awesome but I'm not convinced it's £1.2m awesome though.
I'm surprised every car manufacturer hasn't jumped on the band wagon for producing excessively expensive museum pieces?

Nice car, but I am also thinking that its not worth £1million to any sensible buyer.
£250K or less would be more realistic in the absence of the asset bubble.

I'm guessing the company is trying to recoup the cost of producing its own engine instead of using an "off-the-shelf" unit from another manufacturer?


GranCab

1,006 posts

69 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
Eats, leaves and shoots .....

oobie38

25 posts

98 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
out of curiosity, how does road testing work for stuff like this- do they get some sort of type approval- is the reg plate a mock (it doesn't show up on the database) so does it need to run on trade plates?

Fetchez la vache

4,966 posts

137 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
mooseracer said:
It wasn't just pre-production Escort Cabriolets that were rubbish.....
You might think that. I couldn't possibly comment smile

Fair to say the '91 cab won't go down as one of the greats, even if it was "mean & roofless"..

olliete

298 posts

34 months

Wednesday 8th November
quotequote all
Why?

- would you let Pistonheads drive a pre-prod model that they have *politely* slated
- would you spend £1.2m on a car that has an interior that looks like a cross between starship enterprise and a refurbed VW camper van
- would you ever need that power - people buy these cars for posing! If you do need that much power, much cheaper ways to get it (think R35 modded)

The mind boggles...

Also SVR dealership is in a run-down industrial estate outside of High Wycombe... seriously doubt the appointment process included stringent vetting of the dealer and more "who has a business model geared to sell zip all cars"