It’s easy to see the appeal of an Ultima in 2019; as the automotive world apparently strives to put ever more distance between car and driver, Ultima’s commitment to a pure sports car experience sounds really rather good. Now that experience is set to take another step forward, with this new RS model.
Described by Ultima as “the most thorough and comprehensive revision” of the product in its 35-year history, this RS promises not only to be more capable than ever, but more comfortable as well.
Fear not, however, as the fundamentals have not changed. The Ultima RS is still powered by a Chevrolet V8 (with anything from 480 to 1,200hp), channelling that power through a six-speed manual and rear-wheel drive. It still looks like a mini Group C racer (albeit with a significant aerodynamic overhaul from before) and can be bought, in kit form, for “the same ballpark price as a mundane new BMW M3”, says Ultima. In the most potent, LT5 spec currently released – this is a 930kg car, remember – Ultima says an RS is capable of 0-150mph in less than nine seconds.
While still recognisable as an Ultima, the RS has been subjected to extensive wind tunnel testing and a raft of new body parts as a result. See the front splitter and dive planes, GT3 RS-esque wheel arch vents, prominent side scoops and enormous rear diffuser. Even the front canopy has been redesigned, to reduce frontal area and therefore drag. Ultima says the design reflects a need for both increased cooling and airflow as well as outright downforce. This is the most versatile Ultima yet, don’t forget…
This hasn’t suddenly become a McLaren Grand Tourer, because that would be missing the point, but RS buyers can choose from a new hydraulic front lift kit, and a quieter stainless steel exhaust. The official line is that as well as being “pure and blisteringly fast, it’s also ideal for touring in comfort.” Sounds like the perfect claim to be tested with a Nurburgring road trip, right?
Further points of note for this new car include larger AP Racing brakes (now 362mm at each corner), bespoke forged wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. All told, Ultima reckons the RS has “the performance capability to wipe the floor with every road going supercar on the planet.” Quite the claim, though with 800hp and less than a tonne to move, it’s certainly not baseless.
Ultima will reveal the new RS to expectant crowds at the Festival of Speed next month, where it will be taking pride of place on the Michelin stand. The car is available to order now, either as a self-assembly package or a turnkey factory build, though you’ll be waiting two years for one of the latter because of current demand. Still, if it’s as good as the claims and the numbers suggest, this RS could well be worth the wait…