While opinions on the French are many and varied, not even the most stubborn Francophobe could argue that theirs is not a beautiful country. This may be why they adore ground-based transport. They like their trains fast, smooth and sexy-looking, and the same goes for their cars — the most famous of all being the already-iconic Bugatti Veyron.
Now the French have provided their finest supercar with a compatriotic rival: the striking Genty Akylone. And it’s not just its looks that make an impact. While the Veyron is the latest product of Bugatti’s 102-year history, the Akylone is Genty’s first ever car. As a start-up business, it puts Alan Sugar’s back-of-a-van radio-trading in the shade.
The Akylone isn’t making a play for the Veyron’s production-car speed record of 267.85mph, with a projected top speed of ‘just’ 220mph, but its 1,000bhp 4.8-litre V8 engine should give the old-timer a run for its money over a short distance, propelling the 1,000kg of carbon fibre and aluminium to 62mph in 2.7secs, compared to the Veyron’s 2.46secs.
Launching into such an exclusive market may seem risky, but it’s not insane; similarly novice manufacturers such as Pagani and Koenigsegg have become household names (albeit unpronounceable in the latter’s case). Genty is treading with caution, too, spending four years perfecting the Akylone’s design (including a rear-end reminiscent of the McLaren MP4-12C) and producing just 15 units later this year. Whether it will be more expensive than the Veyron remains to be seen, but as it would have to top £1.67m, it’s likely that record will also remain in Bugatti’s hands.