“C_Two was built to be used. It’s not to purely sit pretty,” affirms Marta Longin, Rimac Automobili’s communications maestro who’s methodically taking me through the company’s all-new, all-electric hypercar. Walking toward the open McLaren-esque, butterfly carbon doors, she adds: “This is a car ready to cross continents.” And based on the specs Longin quotes, the C_Two will do so in a manner yet-to-be-experienced by any car ever produced. Oh yes, Bugatti, Koenigsegg, your time as the outright kings of speed is rapidly coming to a close.
Though Rimac Automobili isn’t yet a household name, the small Croatian company—nestled near the childhood home of Nikola Tesla—is becoming a global superpower with lightning-like speed. The company, founded by Mate Rimac, began life as a passion project which was propelled by a garage-built electric drivetrain-swapped BMW 3 Series. It is now involved with the electrification and development of the world’s next-gen hypercars; including Koenigsegg’s Regera, Aston Martin’s Valkyrie, and Pininfarina’s PF0. And the string of high-profile jobs don’t stop there, as Porsche recently acquired a 10-percent stake in the company as well.
Yesterday, however, I was at the Petersen Automotive Museum to be taken around and talked through Rimac’s own hypercar, the $2.1 million C-Two, ahead of its public Monterey debut. The car is a beast that has been designed, engineered, and built solely at the company’s burgeoning factory in Sveta Nedelja, Croatia. And though the hypercars that Rimac has helped develop for other manufacturers will be some of the finest automobiles ever to grace the tarmac, the C_Two is a piece of engineering excellence of the highest order. It isn’t so much a vehicle as it is a quantum leap in both electric drivetrains and the entire subgroup of hypercars.
Here are some performance figures to help justify my claim. Horsepower? 1,914. Torque? 1,696 ft lbs. Oh, and all this savagery is unleashed at zero rpm. That’s because there’s no outdated, and frankly slow, combustion to occur and be transmitted through a conventional driveline. Every ounce of C_Two’s performance is available upon request in a similar fashion as if you were flicking on a light. This is all thanks to Rimac’s batteries—developed in-house—and the C_Two’s four independently variable electric motors. With one located behind each wheel, every motor can change power and torque up to 100 times per second.
C_Two’s metrics aren’t anything to be taken lightly either, as this is most definitely not a car for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. Standing in front of the pearlescent blue C_Two, Longin gleefully announces that 60 mph is snapped off in a whiplash-inducing 1.85 seconds. That’s nearly half a second quicker than Bugatti’s Chiron, Tesla’s Model S P100D, and Porsche’s 918 Spyder. And then there’s the matter of top speed. Unlike other electric vehicles, which are pegged around 155 mph before running out of juice and gearing, C_Two will shame everything—outside of a Koenigsegg Agera RS—with a v-max of 258 mph. The electric hypercar will also do two full-tilt laps of everyone’s favorite German racecourse, the Nürburgring, with negligible power degradation. Let’s hope there’s someone brave enough to tackle “the Green Hell” (the nickname for the circuit’s older track) when the car is ready for the limelight.
While no one has yet driven the C_Two, Rimac’s previous hypercar, the Concept_One, features similar, though lower, performance figures. I ask Longin what the company is aiming the car to feel like. Her response? “Quick.” I later learned that she’s been in the Concept_One a handful of times, including a run with the car’s Drift Mode (which is carried over to C_Two), so she’s speaking from experience.
Yet, while Rimac’s C_Two is aimed at climbing up into the rare hypercar air of Bugattis, Koenigseggs, Aston Martins, Ferraris, and Porsches, this is a hypercar that can go the distance, 400 miles to be exact, after just a single charge. Longin explains that unlike the more race-ready Concept_One, C_Two is a true grand tourer. As such, its total battery storage is rated for 120 kWh thanks to 6,960 lithium-manganese-nickel battery cells, which—when channeled through the four motors—deliver an output of 1.4 megawatts.
Power, performance, and range, however, aren’t C_Two’s only party pieces. Blended with all the carbon fiber and gorgeous styling is a car replete with the sort of cutting-edge technology you’ve come to only expect from science fiction. For example, facial scanners are inset into the door mirrors. As someone approaches, they scan the person’s face and, if it’s the owner, the doors unlock and open. That same technology is then continued into the cabin and monitors the driver’s expressions to determine whether they’re distracted or tired. And though the software isn’t ready quite yet, C_Two will feature all of the hardware necessary for Level 4 autonomous driving.
However, one of the most impressive pieces of technology given to this wickedly wonderful wünderkind is the hypercar’s “Driver Coach.” The latter is an advanced feedback and guidance system designed to optimize both car and pilot performance.
As my walk-around finishes, I ask Longin whether it’d be possible to sit in the C_Two. She’s hesitant. Few have been allowed into the car—and few ever will, as only 150 examples are set to be built. This is after all, barely a rolling concept. There’s no drivetrain and the interior is still being fine-tuned for its 2020 delivery date. My smile and enthusiasm, however, wins her over and I’m allowed to slide into the svelte leather bucket seats and behind the steering wheel. The cockpit is tight for my 6-ft 4-inch frame, but the layout, and the six screens throughout the cabin that make up the infotainment and gauge clusters, feel appropriately placed and ready for an Autostrada-blitz from Rome to Monaco.
At the end of my time with Rimac’s C_Two, I’m reminded of a quote from Nikola Tesla that not only applies to the future Rimac is working toward, but the audacity of the C_Two’s engineering. “With ideas it is like with dizzy heights you climb: At first they cause you discomfort and you are anxious to get down, distrustful of your own powers; but soon the remoteness of the turmoil of life and the inspiring influence of the altitude calm your blood; your step gets firm and sure and you begin to look for dizzier heights.”
In the beginning, those of a gasoline-swilling disposition were distrustful and weary of electrification. But Mate Rimac, his company, and his hypercars have risen to such heights, we can’t wait to see what future they bring.