The last time we heard from Dutch sports car outfit Spyker, its affairs were all muddled up with Saab. After a few whirlwind years, Spyker is officially back to pursuing what it's great at: designing distinctive sports cars. The B6 Venator concept marks the beginning of the brand's "global resurgence as a creator of meticulously built automobiles."
The Spyker name has had somewhat of a tumultuous history since its beginnings during the auto industry's infancy. It got its start in 1880 and had a number of race car, street car and aircraft designs before disappearing in 1925. It took 75 years for the brand to rise from the history books, and in 2000, the newly-formed Spyker N.V. revived the name and introduced the C8 Spyder.
Between 2000 and 2009, Spyker helped keep the auto show circuit lively by releasing a number of C8 derivatives, including road cars, race cars and concepts. In early 2010, it purchased Saab, kicking off a rocky chain of events whereby it disappeared from the sports car spotlight completely ... until now.
The B6 brings Spyker back into high-end sports car design, and the company hopes to use it to continue to stabilize its financial future.
Automakers in general have a way of spewing overwrought hyperbole and meaningless jargon when talking about new cars. Nearly every press release and auto show press conference is full of language about "emotional design," "speed while standing still" and other nonsense that won't mean anything to the average guy at the dealership. Not that they're alone; we writers are sometimes guilty of indulging them.
On its face, Spyker's statement about how the B6 "makes a defiantly contemporary statement whilst paying homage to its past, making it instantly recognizable as a Spyker" looks like more of the same, old automaker-speak. But we think it succinctly nails this one. Maybe it's polished up into a jargony sound byte, but the statement effectively sums up our first thoughts when we saw the car. The flat-faced ovular grille can't be mistaken for anything other than a Spyker, but the overall design is a welcome evolution from C8 models.
Designed by CEO Victor Muller, the B6 Venator leaves some of Spyker's most derivative and rough styling cues in the past, opting for a smoother, more compelling carbon fiber body. The undulating belt line shoots off the long slit headlamps, creating a curvaceous front fender; dips low past the door; and bobs back up to create an even bolder rear fender.
As in the past, Spyker plays on its aviation heritage, but it does so in a cleaner way. The air intakes are integrated into the body, rather than poking out like spy cameras as on the C8 Aileron. As not to make things too subtle, Spyker saves its boldest aviation-aping element for the taillights, which protrude out like jet afterburners. Other aviation-inspired elements include the aerodynamic glass canopy and 19-inch "Turbofan" wheels. The "Venerator" name itself means "hunter" in Latin, a wink at the Spyker Hunter aircraft of the 1920s.
The V-shaped grille mesh and 1903 Spyker logo, meanwhile, are reminiscent of past Spyker cars like the 60HP racer.
Spyker remains true to its history of luxuriously appointed interiors. The B6 has Royal Hulshof Dutch Tanneries Litano bull-hide leather, aero-inspired controls and a turned aluminum dashboard fascia modeled after Spykers of the early 20th century. It looks like an interior that could make anything not badged "Bentley" or "Rolls Royce" absolutely mad with jealousy.
The B6 drops two cylinders versus the C8 Aileron, using a transverse-mounted 375-bhp V6 engine to power the rear wheels. It's assisted by a six-speed automatic transmission. Spyker has not released performance specs, but the 400-hp C8 Aileron, which weighed about 340 pounds (154 kg) less than the 3,090-lb (1,400-kg) B6, boasted a 4.5-second 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) time and a 187 mph (300 km/h) top speed.
Spyker will begin production of the B6 Venator in early 2014, rolling sales out in key markets in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. A U.S. launch will follow by autumn of next year. Spyker believes that the lower price point of between US$125,000 and $150,000 (the C8 Aileron started at more than $200,000) will help it to increase production, secure a more stable future, and appeal to clients looking for an everyday driver with a Spyker logo.