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This 750bhp X-Raid is the first car from Ares

Modified G-Wagen is first to emerge from new Modena-based coachbuilder Ares Design

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Coachbuilding stretches back as far as the dawn of the motor car itself. Indeed, there was a time when you’d simply select a manufacturer for a chassis, and then enlist a coachbuilder of your choice to fit out a body style.

Step forward ex-Lotus boss Dany Bahar, and his new venture, Ares Design. It’s just announced that a brand new, 18,000sqm factory is close to completion, nestled right in the heart of supercar valley in Modena, Italy. Yep, Modena.

The aim? To be a modern-day coachbuilding service. The first of the company’s new products is this modified G-Wagen, dubbed the Ares ‘X-Raid’. It’s based on the Mercedes-AMG G63, and features a body made from carbon, along with aluminium, to shed a significant amount of weight over a regular G63. We’re talking a drop of 200kgs.

Underneath sits a fettled version of AMG’s 5.5-litre V8, here producing that headline 750bhp, and a top speed of 155mph. Inside, the X-Raid gets a custom sports steering wheel, and a “completely new cockpit” said to provide the modified G with “state of the art contemporary design”, elements of which include nappa leather and single VIP seats at the back. Plush.

Which of course, brings us back to the whole premise of Ares. “The X-Raid and the Mulsanne-based Coupe are typical examples of Ares Design’s core automotive product offering,” the company explains, “limited edition, modern-day coachbuilt cars designed in collaboration with the client and re-engineered and redesigned to offer new levels of performance and style.”

Ares tells us it took ownership of the Modena plant in 2016, when the first orders for the X-Raid were commissioned. As mentioned, the X-Raid will be followed up by a Mulsanne Coupe, and there’ll be a full product plan revealed early next year. Think individual detailing of client cars, one-off commissions and more.

“Our ambition at ARES Design is to provide a unique offer to car enthusiasts,” explains Ares boss Dany Bahar. “A blend of skills, service and technologies through a network of artisans and craftsmen working under one roof with our own design and technology team. The new ARES headquarters will underline that ambition as it combines the traditional coach-building principles of the 20th century, defined by companies such as Pininfarina and Zagato, with state-of-the-art technologies such as 3-D printing, 3-D milling, and carbon-fibre pressing.

“I am pleased to say many of our trusted suppliers and a number of experienced Italian car guys from the region have joined us in this next chapter,” he added. One of those ‘Italian car guys’ is none other than Pagani’s former head of R&D, Andrea Galletti.

“For me, as a car enthusiast,” Bahar added, “it really is a dream come true.”

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