The Middle East has seen a lot of automotive commotion of late, most of it due to Anthony Jannarelly and his multiple United Arab Emirates-based projects. A new potential player has now emerged from neighboring Qatar with the launch of a radical sports car concept that looks like a four-wheeled Stealth Bomber. The company and 525-hp concept car go by the name Elibriea.
The Middle East's elite have long been major consumers of the world's most expensive cars, but only recently have we seen the trend of sports cars designed in and for the market. Cars from the likes of W Motors and Zarooq certainly aren't fit for everyone's tastes, but they have spiced up the global auto market with interesting new ideas and aesthetics.
Elibriea revealed its concept car at the Qatar Motor Show this week, and it's nothing if not an interesting experiment in aesthetics. With surfaces sharp and angular enough to make the Lamborghini Veneno look buttery smooth, the car feels more like a military jet or armored car than the luxury sports car the Qatar company hopes to develop.
The concept car was designed and developed by Elibriea Automotive founder Abdul Wahab Ziaullah under the Undergraduate Research Experience Program at Texas A&M University's Qatar campus. Qatar-based retail and distribution company Ali Bin Ali Group sponsored the project.
The short front-end and sharply angled windshield are reminiscent of extreme wedge shaped concept cars like the iconic Bertone Lancia Stratos HF Zero. The long, arched cabin is sandwiched between that front-end and an equally short, sharp rear, giving the car a very disjointed 3/4 profile. It feels like several designs mashed sloppily into a single car.
The side windows, in particular, look like they were just squeezed between the roof and belt line out of necessity, as opposed to purposefully styled. The pairing of stealth headlights (we're still looking for them) with huge, exaggerated taillights further adds to the design dissonance.
Elibriea says that the concept features a mid-mounted 525-hp GM V6 engine below its carbon fiber skin. The company puts dimensions at 126 x 102 x 59 in (L x W x H, 3.2 x 2.6 x 1.5 m) and weight around 2,200 lb (1,000 kg). Unfortunately, there are no performance estimates following those basic specs.
The design doesn't do it for us, but we do respect when a car designer has some fun outside the box instead of just copying something that's been done again and again. And to his credit, Ziaullah appears very open to criticism and evolution.
"I'm excited and curious to know people's feedback on Elibriea, particularly the views of the critics," he told Qatar's Doha News. "I will use all their comments constructively to shape the hypercar. I want to make sure it outperforms Elibriea."
The "hypercar" Ziaullah references is the even more powerful production sports car he hopes to build at Elibriea. The company's website suggests the car will be an 800-hp mid-engine RWD named Equvallas.
A university-supported sports car with a weird, impractical design from a country with no history of building sports cars has all the makings of "vaporware never to be seen again." The fact that Elibriea is simultaneously soliciting sponsors and advertising March 2016 preorders doesn't add confidence, so we remain skeptical about this car having life beyond the 2016 Qatar show. We'll wait and see ... and hope that we're wrong.