Pedal to the metal: the most exciting and controversial cars of 2021

By Tempus | 22 Feb 2021 | Speed

When it comes to motoring, the coming year looks set to be one of the most intriguing in recent memory

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From electric hyper cars to road-legal race cars, futuristic concepts and bold new designs, we gear up for the most hotly anticipated – and controversial – cars coming in 2021.

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The highly anticipated Merc-AMG One hypercar has been making headlines since it was announced back in 2017. Releaseed this year, the car features a 1.6-litre V6 engine – straight from the brands’ Petronas Formula 1 racing cars, no less – with an output of more than 1,000bhp and a unique 11,000rpm.

The two-seater high performance vehicle reaches top speeds of beyond 217mph, but despite its phenomenal speed and power has become the first Formula 1 car with MOT approval, meaning it is suitable to drive on the road as well as on the track. Its lightweight, high-strength carbon-fibre monocoque body is also developed from F1, while the 10-spoke forged aluminium wheel with centre lock is unique to the Mercedes-AMG One.

“I can still hardly believe there will soon be a hypercar with a Formula 1 engine,” said F1 star Lewis Hamilton during testing in 2020. “We won the world championship with this engine in 2015, and I was involved in its development for a long time. I’m very proud of the extraordinary effort Mercedes-AMG has invested in this project. This car is absolutely unique.”

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Designed to offer electric-car aficionados the utility of a truck and performance of a sportscar, Tesla’s futuristic answer to the luxury SUV (right) is built to be durable, versatile and capable when the first vehicles are delivered in late 2021.

The Cybertruck is made of ultra-hard 30X cold-rolled stainless steel and will be available in three variants – single motor rear-wheel drive, dual motor all-wheel drive, and tri-motor all- wheel drive – with a range of 500-plus miles and payload of up to 3,500lbs.

However, the Cybertruck’s development has seen some controversy – an unfortunate launch gaffe in November 2019 saw the truck’s armoured windows shatter during a durability demonstration and the car has not been deemed road-legal in the EU or, as yet, in the UK.

A year later, Tesla founder Elon Musk suggested design tweaks were still being made. “[At Tesla] we always want to make the car that we deliver be better than the car we unveil. And that’s the goal with the Cybertruck,” said Musk.

Tesla fans seem to believe that’s exactly what they will get, with more than 650,000 trucks pre- ordered by mid-2020.

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Gearing up for a May launch, Naran Automotive’s first car is a front-engined, four-seater hyper coupe (left) limited to just 49 examples.

Inspired by the world of motorsports, Naran partnered with EY3 Engineering and Racing Dynamics to create a GT3-style with all the design elements of a world class hypercar – including a sweeping rear wing. A 5.0-litre twin- turbo V8 engine – placed in the mid-front of the car – delivers 1,048bhp and 1,036Nm of torque.

Drawing on racing technology, the Naran Hyper Coupe uses 390mm performance carbon ceramic disks originally developed for 24-hour endurance racing, and a GT3 cooling system that allows the car to cope with hard track use while reducing wear and tear on the brakes.

Founded by businessman Ameerh Naran, the company’s team includes former Jaguar Land Rover engineer Steve Pegg and designer Jowyn Wong – best known for working on the Apollo IE.

While the basic Hyper Coupe is impressive in its own right, customisation options – from an exhaustive list of everything from paint finishes and upholstery, to naming one’s own model – mean the buyer is guaranteed a completely bespoke vehicle.

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This sexy second supercar from electric performance car company Rimac Automobili is designed to be as capable on the track as it is crossing continents.

With 1,887bhp from four e-motors, it is capable of up to 258mph – and 0-62mph in 1.85 seconds. Its sleek exterior and interior design is capped by dramatic butterfly doors (above) designed for kerbside admiration and sophisticated access.

What’s more, for would-be racetrack pros, the C_Two’s on-board system offers a ‘driving coach’ function, where you can load selected racetracks and a virtual driving coach will offer guidance on racing lines, braking/acceleration points and steering inputs.

Sleek, stylish and super-connected, for £1.7m this might be the most fun electric car ever made.

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Lucid Motors is a California start-up making its electric debut with the Air. Described in turns as a super-limo and a hyper-saloon, this sophisticated car is made to be driven – and driven in.

The Air Dream Edition offers 1,080bhp, with a projected range of 503 miles – rivalling the long- established Tesla – and can charge to 300 miles in just 20 minutes.

Its fluid form is inspired by jet aerodynamics – in fact, the Air is the world’s most aero-efficient luxury car with a verified 0.21 coefficient of drag – while the glass canopy roof adds a sense of grandeur to the already spacious cabin.

With more options to choose from – from the basic Air Pure (coming early 2022) to the 517-mile-ranging Air Grand Tourer (summer 2021) this blend of comfort and technology is California dreaming at its best.