The supercharged model produces an astonishing 654 horsepower.
AC Cars, Britain's oldest active carmaker, has premiered the all-new Cobra GT Roadster in London. While the latest model retains the curvaceous design of the original vehicle, the company has thoroughly updated the iconic roadster for the modern era. Under the hood is a mighty 5.0-liter V8 borrowed from the Ford Mustang GT, available in two states - either a standard 454-horsepower form or supercharged to 654 hp - and only 250 units will be built.
It may look like the old model, but AC Cars say the latest Cobra GT has been designed from the ground up. The vehicle makes use of an extruded aluminum space-frame chassis that has been draped in beautiful carbon-composite bodywork. The chassis was designed from the on-set to deliver high torsional rigidity for a roadster while being phenomenally light. Together with the carbon-composite body (which weighs less than 110 lbs), the entire car tips the scales at just under 3,197 lbs.
The latest generation has grown in size and now sports a 101.2-inch wheelbase, which is 11.2 inches longer than the previous generation Mk. VI. Despite this, overall length has only increased by 4.3 inches, for a total of 166.3 inches.
AC widened the track to improve handling and agility. The larger dimensions benefit larger drivers, with the company noting that occupants over six feet tall can now easily fit in the cabin. We'll get to the interior later; let's discuss what's under the hood. As mentioned, there's a 5.0-liter V8 that can be had in two configurations.
Available in supercharged or naturally aspirated form, the former delivers 654 hp and 575 lb-ft of torque, while the latter offers 454 hp and 420 lb-ft. The supercharged derivative has a claimed 0-60 mph time of 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 173 mph, while the base version will hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and top out at 155 mph. Customers can also choose between a six-speed manual or a 10-speed auto 'box with paddle shifters.
A friction limited-slip differential is standard, but buyers can also spec a Torsen LSD.
Within the lightweight 21-inch alloy wheels (supercharged model only), you'll find six-piston front calipers clamping down on 394mm diameter front brakes, with four-piston rear calipers. The naturally aspirated model gets single-piston rear calipers and smaller front discs (380mm).
While they look like center-locking wheels, the central cover actually houses a traditional five-lug nut pattern. Those wheels, however, are impressive, at least in supercharged form, measuring 9.5 inches wide up front and an impressive 12 inches wide at the rear, weighing 36 lbs. They're shod in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 rubber, but you can also spec Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber for the track.
The braking system does without a brake booster, which is remarkable in this day and age and represents AC's commitment toward excellent feel and feedback.
"Our goal was to surpass the expectations of our esteemed clientele, who have grown accustomed to the finest in automotive luxury," said AC Cars CEO David Conza. "The overwhelmingly positive feedback we received from the attendees confirms that we have well and truly exceeded those expectations. The AC Cobra GT Roadster is a testament to our unwavering commitment to excellence."
The interior retains the classic Cobra fascia; a cluster of dials and gauges festoon the dashboard and are set into a solid piece of metal. Behind the wheel, a Lumineq translucent display creates a minimalist gauge cluster.
Sited just below are the toggle switches and the 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen paired with a standard four-speaker sound system. Steering wheel controls and the electronic e-brake show how far the Cobra has come. Modern safety features have been incorporated, and the new model features stability control, ABS, electronic power-assisted steering with three modes. Thanks to modern electronics, there's even a Wet driving mode to limit wheelspin in dangerous weather.
AC says the cabin features exclusive elements and details that have never been seen in the automotive world before and notes the leatherwork and upholstery are a blend of strong fabrics and traditional materials.
The automaker says the GT Roadster is now available to order, and clients can choose between left- or right-hand drive. Customers can meet with a member of the AC Cars team, presumably to personalize the vehicle and field through the options and reserve their vehicle. If you're interested, you'd better act fast, as production will be limited. The company says just 250 examples will be built every year, and that has to cater to customers across the world.
Originally, the AC Ace was powered by a series of modest engines, but the V8 wouldn't appear until Carroll Shelby approached the automaker. The little sports car was transformed into an absolute monster and has since become a living legend. Replicas have somewhat diluted the desirability of these cars somewhat, but original examples (particularly the Shelby models) still sell for extraordinary amounts of cash.
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