For those who aren’t familiar with the name, Spyker is a Holland-based builder of sports cars that traces its heritage to a noted auto and aircraft company of the same name from the late 19th Century. A relatively minute number of Spykers are sold in the U.S. via a limited dealer network to affluent auto enthusiasts looking for distinction, even among what are the world’s costliest and most-exotic cars. Though the company’s situation may change because of financial difficulties, as of this writing Spyker is also the current owner of Saab Automobile, having purchased the Swedish automaker from General Motors in 2010.
Initially unveiled as a concept model in 2009, the long-wheelbase C8 Aileron two-seat coupe is the company’s latest flagship supercar and is its most technologically advanced model to date. It debuts in the U.S. at mid-year 2011, with a Spyder convertible version expected during 2012.
The rear-drive coupe packs a mid-mounted five-valves-per-cylinder 4.2-liter V8 engine supplied by Audi that generates a reasonably strong 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. The only available gearbox is a ZF-supplied six-speed automatic transmission that includes a manual-shift mode via steering column-mounted aluminum paddles. (Curiously, Spyker includes a conventional automatic and not a dual-clutch automated manual transmission, as is the case with most other exotic cars these days.) Prominently placed dual exhausts produce a throaty note that signals both the car’s arrival and departure with authority.
Spyker says the car will reach 60 mph from a standing start in around 4.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 187 mph. While that’s quick enough for most of the motoring world, it actually makes it one of the “slower” exotic sports cars on the market. By comparison, even the inexpensive-by-comparison Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 can make the run at just 3.4 ticks.
Still, the Spyker C8 Aileron’s outrageous styling is what really sets it apart from other costly performance cars. Its dramatic all-aluminum exterior suggests a heavily modified Jaguar XK8.
A large, wide grille is set between large oval headlamps with inset projector lamps and LED running lights, while a deep reverse hood scoop reaches down just before reaching the front end. Large chrome-trimmed air scoops are situated at the top and bottom of the rear fenders and look like they could house machine-gun barrels. There’s a steeply raked windshield, scissor-opening doors, an air intake “fin” running the length of the roof (on the hardtop) and an abrupt rear end treatment with quad round tail lamps.
The Spyder features a manual-latching/power-folding canvas convertible top with an integrated rear glass window that stores neatly beneath an aluminum tonneau cover.
Built on a lightweight aluminum space frame, the C8 Aileron rides on a newly designed four-wheel independent suspension with 19-inch alloy wheels and performance tires for crisp handling abilities. New “Rotorblade” 12-spoke wheels with a design that’s inspired by a jet engine’s turbine blades are optional. Beefy antilock brakes with ventilated and cross-drilled steel discs front and rear are on hand for sure stopping abilities.
Inside the Spyker C8 Aileron, two riders are treated to a cockpit-like leather-clad cabin that’s fitted with a brushed aluminum dashboard with classically styled instruments and a unique propeller-spoke steering wheel. Standard equipment is sufficiently plentiful, including a premium audio system with iPod connectivity; buyers can customize their cars with various cosmetic options, including 14 standard leather color choices and specific Chronoswiss dials and switches.
While a few less-costly models would be able to hand the Spyker C8 Aileron its lunch on a racetrack – or at least out-class it in terms of specs – it’s undeniably distinctive. The car is guaranteed to turn heads, draw a crowd whenever it’s pulled up to a curb and make a virtual celebrity out of an otherwise ordinary, albeit wealthy, enthusiast.
Spyker C8 Aileron Quick Facts
Engine: 4.2-liter V8
Horsepower: 400 @ 6,800 rpm
Torque: 354 @ 3,500 rpm
City/Highway: MPG NA
Transmission: 6-Spd Automatic
Wheelbase: 107.0 in
Overall Length: 182.0 in
Width: 77.0 in
Height: 50.0 in
Curb Weight: 3,142 lbs
Did You Know?
The Spyker name dates back to 1898, when brothers Jacobus and Hendrik-Jan Spijker founded the famed Dutch auto and aircraft company. Noted for both their successes on the track and in the air, the original iteration nevertheless went bankrupt in 1925. Though not related to its precursor, Spyker Cars N.V. was founded in 1999, and named to rekindle the original entity’s heritage. The company’s motto is “Nulla Tenaci Invia Est Via,” meaning, “For the tenacious, no road is impassable.”