Thanks to the Geneva Motor Show, "supercars," including the Koenigsegg One:1 and Pagani Zonda Revolucion, have been a major focus of automotive news this month. But one supercar that debuted just prior to the show and didn't make an appearance in Geneva is the Arash AF8 – a light, lithe British exotic sports car with a big 7.0-liter engine.
The AF8 is only the second car to carry the Arash name, following the AF10 that debuted in 2010. Arash only developed a single AF10 show car but plans to actually build and sell a limited run of AF8 models.
Like the AF10, the AF8 has a reworked 7.0-liter GM V8 engine mounted amidships. Interestingly, output has been dialed back a touch from the AF10 spec sheet, with the AF8 firing out 550 hp at 6,500 rpm (versus the AF10's 600 bhp) and generating 470 lb-ft (637 Nm) of torque at 5,000 rpm. The engine breathes naturally with the help of a carbon intake system, while a titanium exhaust system spits things out the other end. A six-speed manual transmission mounted to the rear subframe puts the driver in charge of gear selection.
The real magic of the AF8 lies in its lightweight build. It steps gingerly on the scale, weighing in at 2,645 lb (1,200 kg), a fighting weight it maintains with a diet of carbon fiber body panels and carbon-reinforced tubular steel chassis. The car touches ground with Michelin Pilot 2 tires wrapped around forged aluminum wheels (19 x 9.5-in front, 20 x 12.5-in rear), which send it rolling to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in an estimated 3.5 seconds, on up to a top speed of 200 mph (322 km/h). Double wishbone suspension eats the bumps of the road, while ventilated floating steel disc brakes bring the car screaming back to rest.
Its powertrain may be old school, but the AF8 does employ plenty of modern technology, including a five-stage Arash Stability Management traction control, touchscreen infotainment system, heated windshield and optional Navtrak ADR security immobilizer and tracking system. The air conditioning will come in handy while showing off the exotic wheels on the sweltering summer beach circuit.
Arash explains in detail that the styling of the AF8 was carefully evolved from the AF10 and Farboud GT models that preceded it, but the truth of it is, the company might as well have just spit it out of a "generic supercar" 3D printer. Thanks to its rounded edges, it packs a more refined look than the AF10, but it's arguably less interesting as a result. It looks like any dozen of equally derivative designs from supercars present and past, with its only point of visual interest being the LED taillights – and those are slapped on a flat, broad afterthought of a rear fascia.
We wouldn't refuse an AF8 test drive, but for the £165,000 (US$275,000) "indicative on road price," it's far from the most intriguing option in its class. Arash plans to offer 36 specially numbered first edition AF8s painted up in "launch edition yellow." Beyond that, there will be a full selection of solid and metallic color options.