Even though I joke about the Bugatti Veyron—and don't like how, if you squint, its body looks like a flattened tent—I do concede it's a remarkable, if pointless, feat of engineering.
Yes, it'll outrun a solar flare, and yes, it'll drink more fuel than an F-22 Raptor, and should you request, Bugatti will have the interior colours matched to your favourite splotches in a Jackson Pollack painting.
I'll hate myself for saying this, but it's just a car. Couldn't the engineers have applied their talents to, oh, I don't know…cold fusion? Actually, I'd settle for a solution to removing the foil seal from a container of Oikos without getting Greek yogurt on my fingers.
What if there was a way to indulge in a 16-cylinder supercar with distinctive looks and strong all-weather performance? A car designed for the open road but without the limitations—cargo capacity, fuel use, visibility, etc.—of a Bugatti Veyron?
Germany's Isdera has something that may interest you, especially if you looked at the photo of the Isdera Autobahnkurier 116i and didn't immediately wince.
Designed as a homage to the great "Art Deco" sports touring cars of the 1930s, including those from Delahaye, Bugatti, and Mercedes-Benz, the Autobahnkurier 116i looks like no other Isdera.
Underneath, though, the magic starts with some help from Isdera's familiar partner, Mercedes-Benz.
Built around the mating of two 300 horsepower 5.0-litre Mercedes-Benz V8 engines as-used primarily in the W126 range…but also in the AMG "Hammer". Isdera says it has an automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive—presumably the car uses an engine to send power to each axle.
As far as performance is concerned, with 600 horsepower, Isdera touts the car's ability as both easy to drive and "still playful" at speeds averaging 242 km/h (150 mph.) It'll go faster, of course, but Isdera tuned this car to easily dispatch long distances with ease.
You could do the same in a luxury car as you'd find in the upper trim levels of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan and coupe, but you'd be stuck going as fast as the onboard speed limiter will allow. (Unless, of course, you check the ludicrous option of paying Mercedes-Benz to remove the limiter.)
A much larger car, Isdera is able to fit a larger fuel tank than you'd find in the Bugatti Veyron, at a mighty 145 litres (38 US gallons). Fuel consumption isn't great—21.7 l/100km (10.8 US mpg) in mixed city / highway driving.
Inside, you'll find all of the creature comforts of a modern luxury sedan, minus the infotainment, radar cruise control, and other more technologically-advanced features you'd find in a brand new car.
Thing is, Isdera built only one and has no interest in selling it, or making more. If you'd like your very own, very steampunk supercar, you'd better make Isdera an offer they can't refuse.
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