I’ve always thought of Spyker’s cars as being the definition of exotic. The incredibly rare and unique C8 has been around for well over a decade in various forms, and despite some financial troubles and various partnerships of the Dutch car maker, continued production in small numbers to well-off clients.
The C8 Aileron, their most recent variation, is pretty much sex on wheels (well, maybe BDSM on wheels.) The mid-mounted, Audi-sourced V8 engine produces 400 hp (500 if you ask really nicely and have the extra cash for the supercharger,) 354 lb-ft of torque, and can hit zero to 60 in 4.5 seconds, on to 187 mph with a long enough road. On paper, it’s not even that impressive – on par with the Aston Martin V8 Vantage and Audi R8 except it’ll cost you upwards of $260,000 – but you don’t buy the C8 Aileron for the numbers. You buy it because…I mean…just look at the damn thing:
and the interior…
You buy it because of that. Because it’s gorgeous and exotic and sexy and like nothing else you’ve seen before. Because you’ll never pull up next to another one at the stoplight; you want something special, and this car fits the bill.
They know that an exotic car isn’t just about how fast it gets from zero to sixty but about how the car makes you feel. A great car can go fast but what’s more important is that it makes you tingle a bit when you drive it. It makes you touch the interior at random places – you look at it every time you walk away after parking it…it’s almost sexual.
But Spyker knows that not everybody can afford a car that costs as much as a Ferrari 458 Italia with the performance of a car costing $100,000 less – their market is the guy that already owns those cars and wants something special.
Meet the B6 Venator
But what about the guy that already has an R8, V8 Vantage, and 911 in his garage but can’t pony up $250,000+ for a more exclusive supercar?
At the 2013 Geneva Motor Show last month, Spyker returned after a year hiatus to show off their latest concept – the B6 Venator. But this isn’t a concept like we’re used to seeing; they’re actually going to make it.
Spyker says they’re putting every bit as much care and detail into this new model as they do with the C8 Aileron, but the specs are more in line with a Porsche 911:
A transverse-mounted mid-engine V6 sending “at least” 375 hp to the rear wheels, an all carbon fiber body sitting atop an aluminum chassis, and a starting price of around $150,000. Performance numbers haven’t been released, but to compete, it’ll have to be pretty quick.
On a side note, the C8 Aileron is going to need a serious mid-cycle refresh to push its numbers far past the B6. I’d expect an upgraded engine for MY 2015 to put it closer to 500 hp naturally aspirated, which would put 0-60 closer to 3.7 seconds, hopefully less.
Now, there’s no denying that the Venator doesn’t look anywhere as exotic as the Aileron. It’s not a bad looking car, it just doesn’t have that same…pizzazz, the same head-turning “wow” factor, at least on the exterior. The tail lights, which resemble a jet fighter’s afterburners (a throwback to Spyker’s roots in aviation,) are sexy. The view from the side is sleek and curvaceous, but overall the body simply evokes a “yeah, that’s a good looking car,” not a “whoa, that’s hot” feeling it probably should. It’s a step above the 911 and a step below the V8 Vantage in terms of styling, although I think it’s more striking than either of them.
In another throwback to days of yore, Spyker has used the old 1903 logo, proudly displaying their heritage. The dashboard has a turned aluminum fascia like the Spykers of the 1920s. Even the name Venator means “Hunter” in Latin – the name of Spyker’s old fighter aircraft in the early 1900’s.
But not all is retro – the top of the car is almost entirely glass. The LED tail lights, like I mentioned before, are styled to resemble modern fighter jet’s burners. The headlights have trendy LED strips to make it look more aggressive, and 19-inch wheels are a Spyker-signature “turbofan” design. The interior is also built to resemble an airplane cockpit with the open air design and red cover over the ignition switch. In these types of cars it’s less about convenience as it is the whole experience of driving. You want to feel special when you get into a car like this, and little details like this matter, even if it takes a couple extra seconds to start up the car.
The Spyker B6 Venator is the make-it-or-break-it vehicle for the Dutch brand. Yes, many people believe car makers like Spyker should not have “entry level” cars to appeal to a more mass audience, and normally I’d agree (looking at you, Lambo,) but sometimes that’s what it takes for smaller brands to survive. Are they rescinding their ultra-exotic image in favor of just another sports car maker? A bit, yes. But if Spyker goes under, so does the C8 Aileron, and any mega-cool car that comes after it. Although I admit, I think the Spyker SUV is going a bit far.
Check out more pictures of the B6 Venator below – some are my own, some are from Spyker. Let us know what you think in the comments.