How do you go about marking the 90th anniversary of one of the most significant coachbuilding outfits in the history of the automobile? Well, if you happen to be in the process of launching the world's first luxury hyper EV, then that probably wouldn't be a bad place to start. Out of the box, though, a pure-electric, carbon fibre spaceship on wheels is a little too futuristic to fly the flag for nine decades of petrol-powered, hand-beaten tradition, meaning a few tweaks likely wouldn't go amiss. If only Pininfarina knew where to find a decent designer or two...
For those of you still unfamiliar with the Battista, a quick recap. No more than 150 examples will be made once production gets underway in Turin later this year. A boundary-pushing halo product, it's intended to fly the flag for a coming range of Pininfarina EVs, which over the next few years will introduce the marque to more competitive price points and market segments than those to which the €2,000,000 Battista appeals - think Ferrari and Rolls-Royce, though, not Toyota and Renault.
Performance is suitably stratospheric for a machine with such lofty goals. The all-wheel drive car's four electric motors produce up to 1,900hp and 1,700lb ft of torque, enough to propel it to 62mph faster than a current Formula 1 car, let alone any of its contemporary road-going rivals. So relentless is the Battista's ability, in fact, that development driver Nick Heidfeld told PH he's having to relearn tracks at which he's raced single seaters for years once behind the Pininfarina's wheel.
By way of illustration he explains that in simulations the Battista is 4.259 seconds quicker around a 1:15 lap than a 2019 Formula E racer, with the cars reaching top speeds of 188mph and 135mph respectively. When full throttle is applied at 150mph, he says, he experiences the same levels of g-force and acceleration as he would flooring a Tesla Model 3 off the line. Then, when driven less aggressively, a range of over 310 miles on a single charge makes the car usable in the real world too.
So that's the jumping off point, onto which we can add something dubbed the 'Furiosa' package. Newly available as an optional extra on all Battistas, but standard on the Anniversario, the Furiosa trades a little of Pininfarina's traditional 'less-is-more' elegance for healthy doses of aggression and presence. This is achieved via the addition of a revised carbon fibre front splitter, side blades and rear diffuser - as well as a bespoke rear wing, aero fins and other exclusive details on the Anniversario. Add to that lot a new set of 21-inch, centre-locking forged aluminium 'Impulso' wheels, reducing unsprung weight by almost 10 kg, and the performance-focussed nature of the package is clear enough.
The five owners of the limited-run Anniversario won't just receive a Furiosa-equipped Battista and a pat on the back, though. In order to honour the 90 years since Battista 'Pinin' Farina founded his eponymous coachbuilder, each of the cars is also finished in an exclusive anniversary livery which pays tribute to the company's heritage. Comprised of three signature colours: Bianco Sestriere, Grigio Antonelliano, and Iconica Blu, it takes three weeks to hand paint each car, the design built up layer-by-layer with the body needing to be disassembled after each coat so that pinstripes in the three separate colours can be hand-applied directly onto it.
Unfortunately, the renderings provided here come nowhere close to conveying how special the finished product is - there was an audible intake of breath in the room when PH saw the car unveiled in Turin last month - so we'll leave it to Luca Borgogno, Chief Design Officer of Automobili Pininfarina, to convey its beauty: "This is arguably one of the most complex hand-made paint finishes in the world," he said. "The process of creating such a finish is little short of a great artist completing an Old Master painting. The result is more than just a visual work of art. Styling, balanced with ultimate performance, produces a genuine Pininfarina: the beauty of power and the power of beauty."
A new, sportier seat design is the key feature within the cabin, where swathes of sustainable leather and Alcantara are joined by brushed aluminium detailing and exposed carbon. Throw in 'Anniversario' headlight engravings and script on the side skirts, some signature 'Pininfarina 90' logos, door plaques with a homage to Pininfarina's founding and a specially engraved chassis plate between the seats and you're left with an incredibly beautiful, unbelievably quick and vanishingly rare hyper EV - and a bill for €2.6 million.
With its Geneva debut now scuppered, and no alternative plan just yet, we'll have to wait a little while longer to see the Battista Anniversario for real. Hopefully Pininfarina can find itself a photographer sooner rather than later...