When you think of motoring in Eastern Europe, jumbled letters start bouncing around in your head making up names such as Zastava, Dacia, Skoda, GAZ, Lada, Polonez, Trabant and Moskvitch. In fact, we're not even sure if the last one is a car brand or some voracious dictator.
The point is you certainly don't think of supercars. Rust, yes; lots and lots of exhaust fumes, naturally; top speed measured in donkey steps, it's a given…
But the world has changed, the Iron Curtain has long been pulled, and Eastern Europe has a few enterprising ideas up its sleeve. Within a few days of each other, a Croatian upstart and a Polish company unveiled exotic supercars with hopes of rivalling the very best of the Western world.
Poland's Arrinera Automotive hasn't even given its new vehicle a model name, but is ready to begin production later this year anyway, of a car capable of 340kph in exchange for160 thousand of your crisp US bills. Croatia reckons that's a bit deprived though, so Rimac, a company based near the country's capital Zagreb, launched a car priced at a million dollars. Huh? Should we all be moving to the Balkans?
Rimac's new Concept-One was wheeled out for the Frankfurt motor show last September, but now that it's closer to production of its limited run of 88 examples, the company also showed its creation off at the prestigious Top Marques in Monaco. Concept_One chases Bugatti Veyron and Pagani Huayra customers, boasting a 1,088bhp powerplant and 3,800Nm of torque.
How in the world is that possible? Well, Rimac says internal combustion is for cavemen, and instead relies on electric motors which it claims can outperform a petrol engine in almost any criteria. With a 92kW battery powering the motors housed at each corner, the car can sprint from rest to 100kph in 2.8 seconds, and keep going with a range of 600km. Top speed? Well it's quite shy of a Veyron, but still, 305kph isn't to be sniffed at. The interior of Rimac's supercar is crafted by Bulgarian leather experts Vilner, keeping it real for Eastern Europe, and the body features design elements such as the air ducts influenced by the neck tie, which is actually of Croatian origin — the French word for tie, cravate, comes from its word for Croatian.
Poland can't claim to have invented any useless neck ornaments, but its Arrinera is aiming to unsettle the affordable sportscar market with a car boasting a 6.2-litre V8 engine supercharged to deliver 650bhp. Sounds awfully similar to General Motor's LSA engine powering the Cadillac CTS-V. With 820Nm of torque driving a Graziano gearbox, the Arrinera demolishes 0-100kph in 3.2 seconds, and keeps right on going to just about match a Lamborghini Aventador at full tilt.
Lee Noble, the guy behind cars such as the Ascari, Ultima, Rossion and Noble, took care of the Arrinera's dynamics, so the 1.3-tonne supercar with its composite body and steel frame should prove talented in the corners.
Well, welcome to the world of speed, comrades.