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The Panther Evo is an updated version of Ares’ take on the De Tomaso Pantera

And yes, those are genuine pop-up headlights. Stay calm folks

Published: 01 Aug 2023

Are you desperately keen to own a Lamborghini Huracan, but at the same time disappointed that it doesn’t have pop-up headlights? And do you also have more money than you know what to do with?

Well, surprise! Here’s your new daily driver. It’s the Ares Panther Evo – a reworked version of the Panther ProgettoUno that we first saw and drove back in 2019.

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Based on the Huracan, it still uses its 5.2-litre V10 but gets an Ares-specific ECU to liberate 641bhp at 8,250rpm. The result is 0-62mph in 3.1 seconds and a top speed of 202mph. Sheesh.

Looks delightful too, doesn’t it? The retrotastic body is hand-crafted from carbon fibre, and while things look mostly similar up front, the Evo’s rear end has been updated with new taillights and a central-exit, valve-controlled exhaust. There are new, lighter wheels too which are 20-inches up front and 21-inches at the rear. All in the Panther weighs 1,423kg with no fluids on board.

There’s a pretty major change on the inside too. The Evo gets an open-gate, H-pattern gear selector, but there’s a catch…

The gearbox isn’t actually a manual – it’s a seven-speed DCT and there are paddles hiding behind the new steering wheel. So, you have four different gearbox modes: Comfort is a fully automatic mode, Performance lets you use the wheel-mounted paddles to shift, Manual allows you to use the gear selector like a sequential gearlever and Classic apparently allows you to use the open-gate action as a semi-automated manual. We’re not quite sure how that works with the seven speeds though given that there are only six slots, but still.

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Elsewhere inside you get Ares-designed carbon fibre seats and lots of leather, Alcantara and carbon fibre. We’re told that there’s pretty much endless customisation options too, and Ares claims that “each Panther leaves the factory as unique as its owner".

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