Of all the bonkers hypercars out there right now, you could argue that the Rimac C_Two is the most significant. Not because it's going to be expensive and very rare at €2m and just 150 units, but because the direct influence it has on others could be seismic. Porsche and Hyundai have both invested in the Croatian firm with the intention of sharing in its ingenious tech, the latest generation of which is crammed into the C_Two. It looks set to move the game on by some margin when it debuts at next year's Geneva motor show.
Many of the statistics haven't changed since the concept's reveal last year, where the frankly insane output of the four-motor powertrain and accompanying 1,950kg kerbweight were first announced. But now, at a private event in London, PH has learned more about this cutting-edge hypercar - like, for example, that its carbon fibre monocoque is built around is the largest single piece of carbon to go into a production car yet. Unlike more conventional tubs (such as McLaren's Monocell), Rimac's carbon skeleton starts at the nose, includes the passenger cell and then extends back to the tail. It gives the structure a torsional stiffness of 70,000Nm, which is so far beyond conventional road cars that it has more in common with single seaters.
It also means the C_Two is completely homologated for global markets in Europe, the US and Asia, with Rimac going above and beyond by integrating the battery and powertrain directly into the structure and putting it through the same crash tests as mass production models. As far as crash safety goes, Rimac is confident that its machine is set to be a bar-raiser, rather than just compliant with the current regs. But that's not to the detriment of access because the door openings indent into the roof and the side sills are low. Company founder Mate Rimac told PH "this is a car that you can use every day with ease", with his team putting a lot of effort into cabin and boot space to maximise comfort and practicality.
Indeed, the battery cell is located in the car's tunnel and under passengers' feet, rather than across the whole floor, so the seats can be lower to the ground. Although even with this slight sacrificing of battery size, the C_Two and its air-cooled 750V system is said to mix a 342-mile range with claims of 1,696lb ft of torque, enabling a 1.85 second 0-60mph time and 258mph top speed. Such are the demands of the market - and Mate Rimac's understanding of the importance of figures to illustrate technological progress - that the C_Two is capable of hitting 186mph 1.8 seconds quicker than a quad-turbo W16-powered Chiron.
Perhaps the most intriguing feature of Rimac's upcoming hypercar, however, is its adjustable driveline. With each of the car's four motors driving a wheel independently through its own single speed gearbox (Mate said this was chosen over the C_One's two-speed setup to save weight), you're given torque vectoring in its truest form. The company boss explained to PH that the C_Two will get a dash-mounted rotary dial to allow the manual adjustment of torque split from front to rear, or switch it back to all-wheel drive. Of course, rotating the dial all the way to rear-wheel drive would leave those front motors inactive (albeit still capable of kinetic energy recuperation) - although that would still mean there's 957hp to play with at the back. Mate hinted that the level of autonomous technology provided as standard will mean anyone can explore its capabilities safely.
On the subject of driverless stuff, the C_Two will get nine cameras and six radars, be capable of autonomous track driving to demonstrate the best lines and seamlessly provide assistance should you want it. Think of how Ferrari's Slide Slip Control tech helps and then imagine if it were evolved into a platform with the advantages of Rimac's C_Two. That being said, there are some compromises in the package, such as the car's use of two-wheel steer. Mate said he'd like all-wheel steering to boost agility further, but that at this stage it was better to stick with two-wheel steer and maximise the current setup. The same is true for active anti-roll technology, which has so far brought more weight than handling benefits.
In order to give as natural a feeling to the controls as possible, the car's steering and brakes are part 'by wire', part mechanical. This means that a physical connection with the control surfaces remains, but that the electric system can automatically vary assistance in real time, meaning that, among other things, the energy recuperation's constantly changing impact on deceleration will go unnoticed. The mechanical and electric system seamlessly juggle the workload so from the driver's perspective, the process ought to be unrecognisable through the brake pedal - or that's the theory at least. Same for the active aero, which works so the car's balance and performance is consistently maintained. In fact the whole skin has been crafted for maximum efficiency; even the cooling ducts blow air onto a motor without the need for underbody piping - saving weight, build complexity and reducing drag. The attention for detail is astounding.
Mind you, it wouldn't necessarily feel that way if you climbed aboard the development car PH was shown, given that it features an unfinished prototype cabin. The production car, however, will get six screens in total, with Mate emphasising that it would not be a "screen overload" as four are essentially button screens, with the rather conventional pairing of a central infotainment display and instrument cluster accounting for most of the kit. All the main driving controls will retain manually operated buttons and switches, because Mate - a self-confessed petrolhead as well as EV enthusiast - believes these features should be tactile. The materials to surround them, however, will come as standard in vegan form, although a leather interior will be a no cost option.
Once Rimac's latest creation is shown at the Geneva show next March, the brand expects several of the innovations to trickle across to its investors. There's no threat of the company shifting to pure technology development in the future, though, as Mate explained to PH: "I want us to always be a maker of actual cars, as well as a developer of new technology. There are lots of things I have already decided I want to do with the next car. We can do much more with the C_Two base!"