The vast majority of new cars are more convenient and efficient than ever thanks to the advent of autonomy and electrification. Bucking the prevailing trend is a driver-centric twist on future-friendly transportation: the Bandit9 Monaco.
The Vietnam-based outfit’s first four-wheeled offering ditches practicality with an uncompromised design that embraces absolute performance. Named after the glamour-drenched Formula 1 race circuit, the sleek single-seater wraps an electric drivetrain in a smoothly poised body that’s set up for track days, not morning commutes. The vehicle weighs a claimed 1,752 lbs, and cloaks a 50 kWh battery drivetrain beneath a standard aluminum or an optional carbon-fiber monocoque. Leveraging the same battery and permanent magnet AC motor from a Tesla Model S, the 536-horsepower drivetrain achieves an estimated 250 miles of driving on a single charge. The battery and motor’s mid-mounted positioning aids handling and helps achieve a slippery aerodynamic profile, driving home its mission as a relentless speed machine.
“We wanted to make a car that recreated the experience of riding a motorcycle,” Bandit9 boss Daryl Villanueva told Robb Report in an exclusive interview. His Ho Chi Minh City-based company struck a chord with ultra-sleek custom motorcycles that more closely resemble highly polished bullets than bikes. Villanueva says he’s ready to translate that two-wheeled philosophy to the automotive realm. “There are already a number of open-top vehicles that try to simulate the feeling of freedom and connection to the environment, but sadly fall short,” he tells Robb Report. “The answer, in my opinion, is not in the design but in its philosophy. A motorcycle forces you to focus. Like meditation, it’s not about zoning out. It’s about zoning in. When you’re riding, your mind and body are attuned to the present because it demands all your attention.”
There should be plenty of sensory input that comes from driving Bandit9’s first automotive offering. “The experience of siting in the cockpit of the Monaco is unlike any experience you’ve had in a car, unless you’ve sat in an F1 car,” says Villanueva. Novel interior design promises an engaging ergonomic experience that includes an LED speedometer at the center of the yoke-style steering wheel that stays level as the wheel turns.
First customer deliveries of the $150,000 creation are targeted for the third quarter of 2023, and if on time, should offer a deliciously disruptive alternative to appliance-like electric vehicles. Initial specifications indicate the radically styled four-wheeler can reach 60 mph in 2.7 seconds, and produce a violent 2 Gs while accelerating and a staggering 4 Gs under braking and cornering—enough to shake up the rapidly evolving EV landscape.