New 1180bhp Ariel Hipercar: everything you need to know

Published: 18 October 2022 Updated: 01 November 2022
  • British brand unveils giant-slaying supercar
  • Features four electric motors – one on each wheel
  • 0–60mph in two seconds, 0–100mph in four seconds

Ariel is about to jump feet-first into the pure-electric era. Back in 2019, the British brand unveiled the Hipercar – a 1180bhp electric supercar designed to rival the likes of the Deus Vayanne, Lotus Evija and Rimac Nevera – and it’s about the enter ‘low volume production.’

It features a specially designed electric powertrain from the UK engineering firm, GKN. The system comprises four electric motors (one for each wheel) producing 295bhp each and a 62kWh battery pack from Cosworth. There will also be a more affordable rear-wheel drive model which does away with the two front motors, dropping power to 590bhp.

In maximum attack mode (with the car’s torque vectoring system engaged), Ariel says the four-wheel drive Hipercar will get from 0–60mph in less than two seconds, while 0–100mph will be possible in less than four seconds. Those immense sprints are thanks in part to the EV powertrain’s enormous 1330lb/ft torque figure.

Maximum range is a claimed 150 miles on battery power alone, but Ariel also plans to offer a micro turbine range extender as an option (show in the image below). The turbine uses catalytic exothermic reactions to generate power, running at 120,000rpm to generate a continuous 35kW of charge for the battery pack.

This all sounds very complicated, but there’s a method to Ariel’s madness. The brand says the turbine is ‘significantly smaller and lighter than any piston or rotary alternative,’ so it shouldn’t affect the handling too much. There are plans to improve the turbine’s green credentials in the future, too – it was designed to run on a variety of fuels, including hydrogen.

The power’s all well and good – but will it go around corners?

The early signs certainly look promising. The Ariel Hipercar’s chassis is littered with exotic suspension technology, such as double wishbones on all four corners, adaptive dampers from Bilstein and adjustable anti-roll bars. There’s also a clever traction control system and a torque vectoring setup which promises to pull the car’s nose into the apex under hard cornering.

AP Racing was drafted in to supply the car’s brakes, supplying a set of six-pot calipers for the front axle and four-pot calipers for the rear. Even the wheels are exotic – prototype models are getting around on forged alloys, but production models will use carbon wheels shod in Michelin Cup 2 R tyres.

Those wild vanes generate proper downforce and, despite the considerable weight of the battery pack and electric motors, Ariel says the finished car will be light. The chassis is a bonded aluminium monocoque, while the bodywork is made from carbon fibre. That means the two-wheel drive model will weigh as little as 1500kg.

And was it supposed to look like Batman’s track car?

We’re unsure whether that was Ariel’s intention, but we’re certainly pleased with the results. Its styling has remained true to the sketches Ariel released back in 2019, although the current version of the car has fewer blades sticking out of its rump.

The cabin looks snug, but Ariel says it’s large enough to fit drivers taller than six-foot-four. The butterfly doors look like they’ll aid entry, as they take a portion of the roof with them. So, if you’re lanky, it should just be case of stepping over the sill and lowering yourself into the seat.

Chassis is in folded aluminium with integrated rollover protection

Ariel seems to have taken inspiration from fighter jets when it designed the Hipercar’s interior. There’s a screen ahead of the driver, a screen in the centre console and a set of aircraft-style toggle switches.

When’s it getting here and how much will it cost?

Ariel has already started taking orders for the Hipercar – although production-spec cars are around two years away from hitting UK roads. Still, if you want one, we’d recommend getting your requests in now. Just make sure your pockets are deep enough.

Final pricing is yet to be confirmed, but Simon Saunders, director of Ariel, says the all-wheel drive model ‘with range extender on the road in the UK, with all taxes, will be under one million pounds.’ He added: ‘Although expensive, we’re determined to make it value for money, like all Ariel products.’

By Luke Wilkinson

Deputy Editor of Parkers. Unhealthy obsession with classic Minis and old Alfas. Impenetrable Cumbrian accent