The Turbine-ator: 1282bhp Techrules Ren eyes up the Chiron

Published: 07 March 2017

► China’s first supercar with Italian flair
► Hybrid powertrain with different drivetrain configurations
► 1282bhp and 124mile EV-only range

In a reversal of the norm, the final-production Techrules Ren actually looks more bonkers than 2016’s McLaren-a-like concept cars. Those had comparatively normal dihedral doors – this features a single-piece Jetsons roof that slides back for easy access.

That’s not all – the polycarbonate canopy is actually modular, with one, two or three individual pod configurations depending on how many people you plan to convey. The driving position is central too, flanked by two passenger seats like a McLaren F1.

China’s first supercar has been given plenty of European flair by Italian designers Giorgetto and Fabrizio Giugiaro from GFG Style, and features extremely innovative TREV technology.

I’ve got a mate called Trev…

Is he a Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle? No. This TREV uses a small sort-of-jet-engine to produce electricity, which is fed into electric motors via a battery for propulsion.

In its flagship six-motor set up the Ren produces 1282bhp and 1726lbs ft of torque for a 0-62mph time of 2.5 seconds and 199mph top speed. Good numbers.

Thanks to a flexible platform there are more than 300 different drivetrain configurations – the Vindaloo example above features two motors on each rear wheel and one each on the front, but you can also choose a Balti two motor rear-drive option or Madras four motor all-wheel drive.

Furthermore there are three different battery capacities and a one or two turbine configuration, depending on your power requirements.

The point of all of this of course is extracting maximum performance for the minimum environmental impact, and as such the flagship Ren promises 106g/km of CO2 and more than 700 miles from a full 80-litre tank of diesel. Lower powered versions could be even more impressive.

Err…did you just say diesel?

The TREV system can be run on lots of different fuels, including liquefied natural gas or hydrogen, but in the pre-Mad Max world diesel has proven to work the best in terms for performance and emissions. There’s also a 124 mile EV only range, and the batteries can be charged to 80% in under 15 minutes.

While the fuel choice might not sound particularly explosive the handling certainly should be – thanks to a carbonfibre tub with horizontally-mounted pushrod coilovers (like an open-wheel racecar) and approximate 1700kg kerb weight.

The whole car has been shaped for aerodynamicy and there are a set of active rear spoilers, which can deploy to enhance stability and downforce, plus seven selectable driving modes.

Techrules says it has conducted rigorous testing of the steering, suspension, brakes, carbon fibre monocoque and engine at Monza in February 2017 and is pleased with the results so far. Very intriguing.

Is there an equally mad interior?

On the whole, yes. First of all, the seats are trimmed in denim so they look like a massive pair of jeans – Techrules reckons this material is both hard-wearing and grippy in fast corners, which actually makes a lot of sense.

The main instrument binnacle is housed inside a self-levelling screen in the steering wheel centre, while three monitoring screens above display scenes from the rear- and side-view cameras – the latter taking the place of traditional door mirrors.

Both rear passengers get a fold out touchscreen and internal comms system built into the seat headrest so you can convey messages to the driver (presumably something along the lines of ‘will you please slow down?’) and there’s also a set of external speakers so you can communicate with the outside world too. The latter seems like it could be open to abuse.

I want one…

Production of the Ren is should begin in 2018 with orders taken at the 2017 Geneva motor show. Only 96 will be made, with a projected production volume of ten cars per year, so you probably can’t have one.

Never mind though – it will be initially offered as a range-extended electric vehicle, but a plug-in electric Ren is also on the cards for the future.

There’s also the possibility of family and city cars to come, much in the same mould as Tesla’s move into more mainstream models.

Click here for more on the Geneva motor show from CAR magazine

By Adam Binnie

Bauer Automotive's commercial content editor; likes bikes and burgers, often over-tyred