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New V-12 Apollo Intensa Emozione

Konstantin Sheiko
February 5, 2018

Supercar start-up Apollo is an Italian based firm backed by Chinese capital investments. The Apollo Company has its evolution roots planted in German automobile manufacturing enterprise Gumpert. Roland Gumpert, the founder of Apollo, once held the position of director of Audi Sport. Under his management, Audi won a total of 25 World Rally Championship races and four World Rally Championship titles.

Last year’s October, Apollo had finally presented to the world its supercar model named Intensa Emozione, or IE. The title stands for “intense emotion” in Italian. The 986-horsepower Arrow supercar was first showcased at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show where it presented. During the presentation, Apollo confirmed that 10 examples only will be sold, each at a price approaching a hefty $2.71 million.

The Apollo team has pursued a set of straightforward objectives while developing the Intensa model. First of all, creating a lightweight, aerodynamically efficient car equipped with superb driver-to-vehicle connectivity was the company’s main goal. Secondly, the vehicle should be simple enough and devoid of the host of technological inhibitions that the contemporary models seem to thrive on. 

The Intensa Emozione is a separate model oriented toward buyers who feel comfortable on the track. European top racetracks will be offering training courses for potential customers. Judging by this fact we can deduce that the car will present certain challenges even for an experienced driver; first of all, due to its sheer power and speed, regardless of the fact that it has also been marketed as street-legal. Similar buyer-training programs have been included with other track-focused cars such as the Aston Martin Vulcan, McLaren P1 GTR, and Ferrari FXX K. 

Production-wise initially Apollo collaborated with America’s Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus jointly developing the Intensa and Arrow alongside the SCG003. Their intention was to bring down the manufacturing costs and expenditures through mutually shared research and production of major components, including engines and chassis. At the end of the day though, Apollo exclusively cooperated with Manifattura Automobili Torino (MAT) on development and production of its models, while the partnership with Glickenhaus did not work out as intended. Consequently, the Italian engineering research team was also responsible for much of the SCG003.

Although the Apollo Intensa will be entering a very crowded market for supercars, yet the experts and the fans alike can be assured that it will come with the proper credentials. Apollo Intensa model has been developed according to precisely calculated geometric proportions, ensuring that all the creases, fins, winglets and exposed wheels facilitate precise airflow around the body. The rear spine and wing mounts are designed in order to achieve and sustain over 2,970 pounds of downforce at 186 mph, a level closely reminiscent of a prototype racecar. At its lowest, in certain driving modes, parts of the car are just over two inches off the ground. 

The carbon fiber construction covers the central tub, and also the front and rear subframes. Attached to these subframes is push-rod suspension with adjustable anti-roll bars and dampers. The wheels are BBS units measuring 20 inches at the front and 21 at the rear. The wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires for road use and slicks for the track. The rear tires measure a massive 325/30. Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes are used at all four corners. The engine compartment is lined with heat reflective gold leaf. 

Powering the IE is a naturally aspirated 6.3-liter 780 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque V-12. The engine is paired to a 6-speed sequential shifter, chosen for its strength and low weight compared to dual-clutch transmissions, ensuring the IE rocket to 62 mph in 2.7 seconds and top out at 208 mph. Speaking of noise, the triplet exhaust is a 3D laser-printed item that costs, in Apollo Chairman Norman Choi’s words, “more than a whole BMW M4”. The material attention to detail is everywhere in the obsession with lacquered, symmetrical carbon and anodized metal components. Theoretically, a car so powerful, and so well designed, can drive on a ceiling.

Despite its awesome power potential, the car is driver-oriented and friendly. The Intensa is offering various level systems that the driver can select from to suit their skill levels or the conditions. For example, the engine has three settings, the suspension also three settings, the ABS 10 settings, and the traction control up to 12 settings. The car has a six-speed sequential manual transmission, with adjustable gear ratios and paddle shifters, allowing the driver to go in reverse. The pushrod suspension is fully adjustable. There’s a built-in air jack. The seats are cushions stuck directly to the carbon tub, and the button-covered steering wheel and pedal box adjust to meet the driver’s limbs. 

According to the statement made by Chairman Chou, “We felt that all the technological advancement and automation in today’s supercars took away the pure, raw emotional connection between driver and car. We wanted to build a car that would fill that void separating car and driver. So we built the Apollo IE.” His sentiment is echoed by the Apollo press release, stating that “The decision to refrain from using any emotionally dilutive technological systems, such as hybridization, was made to deliver a modern, yet nostalgically, pure, unadulterated sensory experience.”

Apollo has rounded up a versatile team to create the IE supercar that supposedly anyone across the generations can appreciate, whether you are most into power, noise, handling, material science, or lap times. Norman Choi himself is just 45 years old but looks half that. His chief aerodynamicist, who sorted all the downforce using computational fluid dynamics and zero wind tunnel time, is 23. The chief designer is a 27-year old Brit. Yet, other engineers involved with the oily bits are in their seventies. 

It is also great to see the unbroken chain of automobile evolution. It started with the original super fast, but kind of ugly Apollo Grumpert, improved to the 2016 concept Apollo Arrow, now finally culminating with the superbly developed and designed Apollo Intensa. However, the road to perfection never ends; following the completion of the 10 IEs in 2018, Apollo plans to start production of the Arrow in 2019.