03 March 2009

Geneva show: Gumpert Apollo Speed

Top Gear’s lap record holder gets even more fastness. And silly wheels…

Gumpert Apollo Speed

Remember the humble Gumpert Apollo, the sensible Teutonic family runabout that accidentally smashed the Top Gear lap record last year?

Well, the German hobbyists behind the Apollo have decided that 650bhp and a 200mph top speed are a bit modest, so have gone in search of even more fastness with this: the Apollo Speed. Wasn't he one of the baddies in Rocky?

Anyhow. It's all about minimising drag, this slicker, sleeker Apollo. The rear wing has gone, and instead you get fixed wheel covers - like on them F1 cars - a fully enclosed underbody, a smaller roof-mounted air intake, and a revised tail. That means a bit less downforce (and likely a slightly slower TG lap) but an improved top speed: Gumpert won't give exact numbers, but reckon it'll be in excess of 224mph. Yowch.

Not that the Apollo Speed will be slow off the line, exactly. 62mph appears in less than three seconds, while 124mph is cracked in nine seconds flat. And, impressively, it's still road legal.

"Yes, you can drive it on the road," a Gumpert spokesman on the Geneva stand told us. "But we'd prefer it if you had a race licence. Just to be safe."

He then followed it up by describing the Apollo Speed as ‘a proper horse', so take from that what you will. But one thing's for sure, this is a monster of a car. Bring on the Murcielago SV twin-test.

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