Zenvo TS1 GT: Driven

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.

: 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)
CO2: N/A
Price: £1,200,000











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Comments (66) Join the discussion on the forum

  • cmoose 08 Nov 2017


  • MDMetal 08 Nov 2017

    Looks a bit too angular for my liking, bit of a cooling issue if the grill fills up that easily?

  • E65Ross 08 Nov 2017

    cmoose said:
    Does seem to eat them doesn't it....and forgets to brush its teeth afterwards!

  • DrSteveBrule 08 Nov 2017

    With a few twists it transforms into...

  • MrBarry123 08 Nov 2017

    cmoose said:
    Leaf it out.

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