Amazing Tramontana R brings race-car design to the luxury automobile.
By: Tom LaPointe
When you're shopping for a hand-built European supercar, odds are that you don't make plans to start browsing in the backwoods of Spain, where Surrealist painter Salvadore Dal spent his youth. Spain has been home to a dozen car manufacturers through the years, and a small company in the Catalonia region, about 100 miles up the Mediterranean coast from Barcelona, is building an outrageous car that will assert a major challenge to the famous Italian brands. The Tramontana R has massive horsepower to complement styling that mimics single-seat race cars and fighter jets, and is an ideal choice for well-heeled shoppers who want a vehicle that is unlike any other on the road.
Several boutique car builders have attempted to bring a Formula 1 style vehicle to market, but the Tramontana appears to have all the right ingredients to put the pedal to the metal: distinctive looks, true race-car engineering, carbon-fiber construction and a drive train powered by an impressively dynamic engine. Its extraordinary visual beauty is the product of a team of veterans from both aerospace and engineering disciplines, and skilled fabricators led by Josep Rubau, a visionary professor of the masters program of vehicle design at the Elisava/Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. But the Tramontana R is no academic exercise; it is a finely-tuned rocket on four wheels.
The heart of the vehicle is its incredible rear mid-mounted, twin-turbocharged V12 engine sourced from Mercedes-Benz. The dash has a selection switch that allows the driver to set the 5.5-litre power plant to either 550 horsepower for casual driving; or a whopping 720 horsepower at 5,250 RPM (and 811 pound-feet of torque at only 4,000 RPM), for ultimate performance. This asphalt-shredding power is channeled to the rear wheels through a 6-speed sequential manual gearbox (SMG) that is engaged with a traditional clutch. Working this effective combination gives this special car a top speed of more than 200 mph. Factory specs have the vehicle making a 0-62 mph run in 3.6 seconds, a conservative estimate, given its impressive power-to-weight ratio.
The driver is seated on the centerline of the vehicle with one passenger immediately to the rear, just as in a jet - although a track-day single-seat version is available. While early iterations of the car were open-top, an automatic cockpit canopy that can be removed has been added to the 'R' variant. The enclosed cabin is augmented by an effective climate control system to ensure the car appeals to buyers in hotter or wetter climates and assures owners a more user-friendly experience. The interior's ooh aspects - exposed carbon fiber, racing seats, simple controls, and an LCD screen that includes performance telemetry - invite performance-minded buyers to climb aboard and enjoy a driving experience like no other. The car is finished in all of its polished carbon-fiber glory, with wide gold accent stripes and matching gold wheels.
Carbon-fiber construction throughout gives the vehicle both a light weight (just under 2,800 pounds) and the rigidity of a world-class race car. The overall design and aerodynamic enhancements aren't the only race-inspired elements that provide the car with stellar performance. Other track-friendly equipment includes a double-wishbone suspension damped by horizontally-mounted adjustable hlins shock absorbers with fluid reservoirs that allow for a variable ride height. And don't forget massive amounts of rubber mounted on 20-inch magnesium racing wheels with carbon fiber cores, plus 6-piston Brembo brakes that bind carbon ceramic disks. Factor in perfect balance and a very low center of gravity, and you have a formula for incredible handling - as evidenced by a staggering lateral grip of 1.22g.
Prices start in the half-million-dollar range, but as with other highly exclusive bespoke products that are hand-crafted, custom options (which reportedly include a diamond-encrusted interior) can push the price close to the million-dollar mark. The vehicle is available for purchase in the United States, so if you missed your chance to fly jets or want a supercar like no other, this unique Spanish hot rod is just the ticket.