x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

How the Lykan Hypersport is the last word in luxury

The Arab world's first supercar has a lot riding on it

The Lykan will include the world's first hologram display. Courtesy of W Motors
The Lykan will include the world's first hologram display. Courtesy of W Motors

The question on most people's lips at the recent Qatar Motor Show was: "How Arabic is the Arab world's first hypercar?"

Considering that the bodywork, chassis and engine of the W Motors Lykan Hypersport are all produced in Germany and assembled in Italy, it might seem that the Lebanon-based company is overstretching the regional credentials.

However, there is no doubt that the Lykan Hypersport is Arabic in spirit, if not entirely in body. Priced at an eye-watering Dh12.48 million, it is expensive enough to show the world you are a person of means. With only seven being built, it definitely has the exclusivity so desperately craved by the GCC's wealthy and, with headlights encrusted with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies, as well as solid gold wire stitching in the upholstery, it will undoubtedly cater to certain regional tastes. The company even claims it will choose the seven worthy owners of its flagship car - quite a bold move for a first foray into the reasonably saturated super sports car market.

Bold, it seems, is very much the watchword, particularly with its performance claims. W Motors says that the carbon composite Lykan, which has definite Lamborghini, McLaren and Koenigsegg styling cues, can deliver 750hp from a twin-turbo, flat-six engine, built by RUF Automobile in Germany. It boasts a zero-to-100kph sprint time of 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 385kph. According to company management, these are tried and tested statistics, even though the unit on show was still just a static model.

Perhaps the most Arabic characteristic of the Lykan, though, is the company's belief that anything is possible if you are willing to make the investment. Clearly, there is no way that W Motors is making its six years' worth of R&D money back on just seven cars, even at such an eye-watering price. In fact, the company's CEO, Ralph Debbas, admits that, if it were only a short-term project, the company would be making a staggering loss on each car. However, like many leaders in the region, he has a vision.

"It is a ten-year programme," he says. "We are already working on the successor to the Lykan Hypersport, a car that will be announced in November this year at the Dubai Motor Show - the Supersport edition, which will be cheaper and will have a production run of 25-30 units worldwide.

"After that we plan a new model each year after," he adds. "Then we will have one-off editions, so we can tweak it and design it for clients who want a car that is totally unique to them."

It doesn't stop there, either. Debbas is looking to establish research and design centres in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar, all within a year, in order to create the first Middle Eastern hub for automotive technology.

"W Motors isn't just building cars. We are developing new technologies as well, like the hologram integrated inside the Lykan. We are the only ones in the world with this technology, so these are the many things we are trying to promote through this first vehicle."

Ah yes, the hologram. While extensive details weren't available, the console of the Lykan will include the automotive world's first holographic display system with interactive motion, developed in conjunction with ID4Motion. Essentially, this means that, with simple hand gestures, the driver can control the multimedia interface and certain vehicle control systems. As if motorists in the region need any further distractions when they are driving.

That aside, Debbas's intentions are noble and his bold vision admirable, but it all rests on the company delivering on time. If W Motors pulls it off and meets its October deadline for delivery of the car, and fulfils its promise of putting one on the track at Yas Marina, then the world may be convinced that this is a lasting venture. Otherwise, the Lykan could be a very costly venture indeed.

motoring@thenational.ae