Botched surgery: The massive Youabian Puma road boat
By C.C. Weiss
November 25, 2013
Last week's LA Auto Show had plenty of head-turning cars and concepts, but easily the head-turningest of the bunch was the Youabian Puma, a brand-new car built to "stand out and be unique." People are saying a lot of unflattering things about it, but the one thing that they cannot say is that it fails in its mission. Good or bad, the car is like nothing we've ever seen.
"The Youabian Puma's design was based on feedback from many wealthy individuals around the world who wanted something different and unique," the Puma website explains, "wealthy individuals who were bored of owning exotic sports cars like Ferrari and Lamborghini. The Puma's goal is not to be the fastest in the world, but to be the most unique, just like its owners."
Well, as they say, you asked for it. The Puma puts the desire for uniqueness to the absolute test because, near as we can tell, that's really all it has going for it. And at US$1.1 million, it really will only appeal to very wealthy individuals trying to scratch a burning itch to stand out.
The photos don't effectively convey how large this auto is, though the tiny man in the photo below does give you some idea of the scale. It's something you really have to experience for yourself, an experience that's intensified when darting between two show floors filled with countless normal-sized cars. Every time we walked past it – and there were many such times, since it was in the hallway – the Puma just beat us over the head with the fact that it is HUGE. It's nearly impossible to walk by and not stare dumbfounded, at least for a moment.
To quantify that mass, the Puma measures 20.2 ft (6.2 m) from bumper to bumper, stands as tall as a 6-ft (1.8-m) man and packs 7.75 ft (2.4 m) of width. Those are some big numbers to start with, and within those dimensions, the Puma sports some heavily bloated body work – panels that look like they were pumped vigorously with air before getting secured to the aluminum/steel chassis. The mission of standing out in the crowd is clear in every curve, fold and bulge. Also clear is the fact that the Puma wasn't the brainchild of an actual professional car designer, but of a plastic surgeon.
As difficult as it is to get past that outrageous styling, eventually you have to turn your attention to the specs. The Puma pounces forward under the power of a 505-hp 7.0-liter V8, which drives the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic. Front suspension with upper and lower A-arms and coil over shocks and independent rear suspension with coil overs help cushion the 20-inch chromed forged aluminum wheels, which are wrapped in bulging 44-inch tires.
The 5.9-second 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) time confirms that the Puma was not built for speed. There's no listed curb weight, but it's clear that the big, bulbous construction dilutes the potency of the powerful V8 engine. The car returns an estimated 22 mpg (9.3 km/L) on the highway and 14 mpg (5.9 km/L) in the city.
Underneath its fully automated retractable hard-top, the Puma has a leather interior with room for four. Features include a touchscreen infotainment system, electronic gauges, a 400-watt, 8-speaker audio system with Sirius XM and USB port, and dual climate zones. Driving and safety technologies include electronic transmission shifter buttons, cruise control, front- and rear-view cameras, front and rear bumper distance sensors, and an anti-roll bar. It also has an anti-theft alarm system with keyless entry.
The LA Auto Show was no incidental debut locale; the Puma was conceived, designed and built in the City of Angels. Those interested can register that interest through the Puma website.
Okay, "wealthy individuals around the world who wanted something different," it's your play.
Source: Puma Automobiles
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