Zenvo Automotive: The second chapter

Newly unveiled on the eve of Monterey Car Week, the Zenvo Aurora is a milestone moment. Aurora marks the lightest and most powerful road car Zenvo Automotive has ever produced, while also marking the start of a new era for the Danish brand, with a ground-up, all-new design of hypercar, with a genuine no compromise approach to performance.

Named after and the lightweight, fast, and beautiful nature of the rare light phenomenon, Aurora Borealis, the Zenvo Aurora is designed with driving pleasure in mind. An unfiltered connection from the driver seat to the road.

Built on an all-new ZM1 modular monocoque design from Zenvo, developed with carbon structure experts Managing Composites, every parameter is maximised to the threshold of limitations and compromise. As such, and to ensure no compromise between comfort and track focus, Aurora launches with two different approaches launched simultaneously. Each meet the uncompromising brief, while offering owners the option of which style of driving and design they prefer. The aggressively styled Aurora Agil is complimented by the beautifully elegant Aurora Tur.

Both models feature a flowing, aerodynamically led, chassis design, managing and channelling airflow cleanly over, under and through the structure itself. The clean lines of Tur are a grand touring variant, with a beautifully sculpted exterior and dynamics set up for stability and comfortable road driving. In contrast, the Agil bodystyle follows the same simplistic and elegant design philosophy, but is a more extreme translation, as the bodywork cleverly manages airflow. This delivers high levels of downforce, with a clear focus on track driving.

The clear target for the project has been to ensure Aurora delivers a true drivers’ car, rather than chasing numbers or focused on outright performance. The result is an uncompromised ideal which is, in itself, very Danish by design; simplistic, sculptural, efficient, and truly employs the design philosophies of ‘form following function’ with inspiration from Arne Jacobsen’s use of negative space. Every element has been thoroughly considered, every item serves a purpose, nothing is superfluous. An absolute focus on useability and driving pleasure ensures that every owner can enjoy each experience, no matter how short or extended, behind the wheel of Aurora.

“The Aurora project is best described as an equilibrium of extremes,” explains Chairman of the Board & Chief Commercial Officer, Jens Sverdrup. “Throughout the development phases, we have been very clear that we did not want to be chasing specific numbers or laptimes, as this can then cause a distraction or compromise when it comes to other areas. However, what was important, was the drive to push the Aurora to be on the leading edge of what could be achieved through pushing each element to the maximum in synchronisation with the others. We just wanted to build an uncompromised drivers’ car, which delivered on every level, but without any one aspect negatively impacting another. It was approached in a very Danish way, meaning every part is carefully considered, and we wanted to introduce this style and design philosophy to the hypercar segment. The outcome has given us two models, which complement each other, deliver true driving pleasure and, almost as a by-product, offer incredible performance.”

Danish design is globally recognised for its stylish simplicity and clean lines. The philosophy of ‘form follows function’, made famous through the elegant designs of designers such as Arne Jacobson, is a language that transcends industries and genres.

Now, for the first time, this honest and logical approach has been used by Zenvo in the hypercar market, as the Aurora models showcase the principles in two different ways.

Chief Designer, Christian Brandt, headed up the small team responsible for bringing Danish design to an all-new marketplace, building on the Zenvo legacy, and foundations for future models are set out. “At Zenvo, we have some very clear design cues, which are carried forward with Aurora, and the new design language pushes the limits of what we could do with the packaging and aerodynamics. We have also been very focused on ensuring that we kept things Danish – less is more, and very simplistic.

“The chassis and the components of Aurora are all works of art, and we made a very definite decision that we did not want to hide these details away under a monolithic design. It is like a complex timepiece or the skeletal architecture of a motorcycle, where the inner workings are the fascinating part, and we wanted to showcase as much of the chassis, the engine, and the suspension as we could.”

The Agil and Tur models clearly complement each other. Built around the same base architecture, designed to work alongside each other with key styling cues, each also stands alone as an individual design, serving a specific purpose in its own right. “As we progressed further through the programme, it became clear that one model design could not fit the bill for our ‘no compromise’ approach, as one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to hypercars. Talking with a variety of owners and collectors, and taking their advice and feedback on board, it identified that there are two distinct groups, whether the cars are driven or added to a collection. There are those who want comfort and luxury, combined with stability at high speed and the ultimate GT car, versus the other group who want high adrenaline, aggressive, track focused and firm,” adds Jens Sverdrup. “The most interesting piece of data we found within our research was that this split is exactly 50/50.”

Christian explains: “The Agil design was created first, working with a very logical and uncluttered approach to the complexities of aerodynamics. The outcome is a very Danish solution to managing air flow and generating downforce, which it does extremely effectively.”

The Tur delivers the same unwavering performance, but in a much more subtle and elegant manner. “It is more of the ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’ approach with the clean, unassuming, but purposeful lines, but the final shape was something that came about very naturally,” adds Christian. “Once we had decided on two models, the Tur almost seemed to appear as the natural design – stripped back to the raw elements, with the bodywork looking as if it is simply draped over the chassis in places.

The heart of all Aurora models is the 6.6-litre quad-turbocharged V12 engine, developed by MAHLE Powertrain. Producing 1,250 bhp and revving to 9,800rpm, this bespoke powerplant is a 90-degree hot-V configuration, mid-mounted behind the cockpit. It is then enhanced further by a lightweight electric motor system, generating up to an extra 600bhp depending on drivetrain configuration. The rear wheel-drive system in the Agil features a single integrated electric motor, generating 200bhp, while the four wheel-drive set up- standard on the Tur and optional on the Agil – adds a further electric motor to each of the front wheels to offer 1,850bhp.. The result seamlessly blends instant power and torque, delivering naturally aspirated engine-style throttle response, and make this powertrain the most powerful V12 engine ever fitted to a road car.

The engine will benefit from the use of MAHLE Jet Ignition® system, which has been incorporated into the design to enable the engine to operate without the need for over fuelling for component protection (λ=1) across the entire engine operating range. This has become a requirement for the newly announced Euro 7 legislation. The all-aluminium construction along with Zenvo’s carbon fibre expertise will deliver an overall compact and lightweight unit, weighing less than 260kg (575 lb).

Fitted with a seven-speed hybridised gearbox, generating 150kW of power, the unit integrates an electric reverse and engine start in place of a traditional start motor providing weight and efficiency gains. The single shaft gearbox makes gear changes smoother, while electronic gear shift dampening can be adjusted via the controls in the cabin. Bespoke gearing and gearchange mapping will ensure that the gearchange characteristics for the two models will differ dramatically. Agil will feature very involving, more mechanical gearchanges, similar to a sequential gearbox familiar to more track focused models. Tur, on the other hand, will be a much smoother transition through the powerband.

The transmission includes an e-differential, while each of the e-motors produces 150kW of power. With one motor mounted within the gearbox in both drivetrain configurations, a further motor is then located on each of the front wheels for the four wheel-drive setup. The front motors act as an electric torque vectoring system, generating an output in the region of 400kW. Combined, the e-motor arrangement generate between 200bhp and 600bhp of instant power, acting as ‘torque fill’ while the turbos spool up. This was an important feature in the driveability of Aurora, Jens Sverdrup explains: “The overwhelming feedback we received from owners was that everyone loves the throttle response of naturally aspirated engines, and the instant hit of power delivered by electric, but without the heavy weight and range anxiety that comes with batteries. Throttle feel and responsiveness were a major focus for the whole team, and a significant amount of work has taken place on the dynamics, and the integration between the electric motors and the engine, to make this as seamless as possible. This is also the reason why the powertrain features four smaller turbos, rather than the more conventional two. It means they can spool up quicker, and the end result is a powertrain that brings together the best parts of conventional internal combustion and hybrid technology. Aurora will offer a more direct and better throttle response than an NA engine, but both Agil and Tur will feature different mapping to give different drive characteristics.”

Built around the same chassis and powertrain, the Agil and Tur are set up very differently, with a separate focus for the drivers. With a more aerodynamically aggressive stance and profile, Agil is the lighter weight, more track focused model, featuring underbody aerodynamics and a high-level rear wing with air brake function. The drivetrain sends all power through to the rear wheels as standard, while a four-wheel drive option is available. The inside of the cabin is stripped of comforts and unnecessary luxuries, with the carbon chassis exposed in several areas, while ultra-lightweight technical material is used to upholster the seats and select sections of the doors and dashboard. With this weight-saving approach, the Agil weighs in at less than 1,300kg (2,866 lb). The more aggressive design delivers enhanced levels of downforce, producing 880kg (1,940 lb) of downforce at 155mph (250km/h), and a top speed of 227mph (365km/h).

The elegant lines of the Tur manage the flow of air over, under and through the monocoque extremely efficiently, creating a more efficient flow through the air with a lower drag co-efficient than its more track-focused sibling. Underbody aerodynamics are complemented by active rear wing ducts, providing enhanced stability levels. Beyond this, the design combines with a standard four-wheel-drive system, adding to the grip levels, and much easier access to harness and exploit the power available. While the addition to the drivetrain increases the overall weight by 150kg (330 lb) to around 1,450kg (3,197 lb), the more aerodynamically efficient shape will accelerate on to a top speed of 280mph (450km/h). The cabin is appointed with high specification, tactile materials and increased levels of sound proofing, producing a more traditional luxury GT environment for the occupants, hence the name ‘Tur’ – Danish for ‘Touring’

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