We don't usually expect to see niche hypercar marques like Gumpert come back from the near-dead to offer "entry level" models, but that's exactly what the German manufacturer has done. At the Geneva Motor Show, it introduced the Explosion, a more humbly styled and powered sports car than its past offerings, with a price just a touch north of €100,000. Despite drawing power from a modest 2.0-liter engine, the Explosion still shoots off the line to 62 mph (100 km/h) in a mere three seconds.
Gumpert is best known for several Apollo iterations, absolutely brutal pieces of world-beating machinery that once scorched the Nurburgring in 7:11.57. After it showed the 700-hp Tornante "fast tourer" in 2011, it looked like the company's next car would be another big, hammering supercar, albeit overhauled for a more refined look and road ride. Then, it looked like its next car wouldn't come at all, as it scraped closely with insolvency last year.
It would appear that Gumpert's money troubles have been put behind it (at least for the moment), as the next car has come, and it's not the Tornante, but the all new Explosion. For a company that specializes in huge road-racers that make the Bugatti Veyron look gaunt in the face, the Explosion is a shockingly simple design. Upon quick inspection, it could be mistaken for a new sports coupe from the likes of BMW or Lexus.
What the Explosion's plain face and torso conceal is a rather dynamic, rally-inspired build. The new model represents a sort of back-to-basics for Roland Gumpert, who made his name in four-wheel-drive and rally cars at Audi in the 1970s and 80s. The Explosion is powered by a front-mounted 2.0-liter engine wrenched to the tune of 420 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. That output is routed to all wheels via a 4WD system.
The infrastructure around the virile powertrain includes a lightweight tubular frame and body work comprising carbon, glass fiber-reinforced plastic and aluminum. Gumpert has not offered up a curb weight just yet, but we assume it's fairly low based on the materials involved and the claimed 3-second 0-62 mph time. That's a tenth of a second quicker than the 641-hp Apollo and a tenth slower than the more powerful Apollo S and R variants. The company also teases that the top speed begins with a "3," so it's somewhere around or north of 300 km/h (186 mph).
"We want to convey to all those drivers who love motor sports what it feels like to sit behind the wheel of a rally car," Roland Gumpert says of the design.
Still, "road" is every bit as much an inspiration for the Explosion's design as "rally," and Gumpert explains that the car is born to excel on twisty stretches of scenic pavement, its "brake lights disappear[ing] from our field of vision as if they were never there."
The Explosion that rolled into Geneva was the first handcrafted pre-series model, and Gumpert plans to begin production later this year. Pricing will start at €105,000 (US$145,000). We're not so sure about the name, particularly for a company that nearly blew up in financial ruin, but we like the car's modest look and race-inspired design. We're glad to see Gumpert on the comeback trail.
You can see more of the Explosion and compare it to the Apollo S in the photo gallery.
Source: Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur