It will feature the first ever V10 petrol electric hybrid engine – a 2.1-litre unit which delivers a 0-60mph time of 6.2 seconds and runs on to a top speed of 140mph. One of the big selling points will be the fact this is combined with a fuel economy figure of 42mpg and compliance with ultra-low emissions targets set for 2010.
Priced at about £35,000, there will be a coupe and a convertible version of the front engined and rear-wheel driven four-seater. The convertible ‘Eclipse’ variant has three powered, stacking glass panels which fold into the boot.
The project is the work of two ex-Jaguar consultant engineers, Tim Bishop and Tony Martindale. “Our aim has been to build a car for the future while keeping the design and technology relatively simple. We have met all our own development targets and are confident to gain five-star Euro NCAP crash test results and the maximum score for pedestrian safety,” says Bishop, vehicle engineering director.
Connaught is the first ‘virtual’ car company. It designs the car and manages the project, but out-sources manufacturing to Derby-based partner EPM Technology.
Production is scheduled to start in May 2006 and the first year will see around 50 cars produced.
After that the Daventry based company hopes to sell 2,000 units a year in the UK and Europe. The original Connaught company was founded in 1948. Its peak was in the mid-1950s when it produced road and race cars.