Is that… a McLaren Senna? Well at least that’s what it looked like to me at a glance from afar, but this is a whole ‘nother animal of a machine. You may know the manufacturer SSC North America from its rather enthusiastic previous endeavour with the SSC Ultimate Aero, as it broke records and set itself on the pedestal as the fastest production vehicle back in 2007, reaching as high as 256.18 mph. The SSC Tuatara (pronounced twa-tar-ah) is its successor and it’s fair to say it holds up pretty well to its predecessor’s trademark.
Since we addressed the visual factor of the car, let’s not leave it half-done. To be concise, I’d say it looks like it’s supposed to. Why? 1750 American horses and around 1750Nm of torque on E85. Boom! Mind-blowing figures to say the least. It’s said to be capable of breaking the 300mph (483 km/h) barrier, and I wouldn’t be surprised. Considering all that, it looks as grandiose as it’s supposed to, and with only a hundred units to be produced, it establishes and maintains its exclusivity. Co-designed by Jason Castriota, notably responsible for the Ferrari 599, Maserati GranTurismo and the Ferrari P4/5, the Tuatara is just plain sexy from all angles. Not a term one would use to describe the usual bulky American muscle car, but this is far too apart from them to be attributed the same characteristics.
Oh the things you do to stand out. As if the “Look at me, I’m a hypercar!” looks and the astonishing figures (which we’ll talk more about later) weren’t enough, the SSC Tuatara is unusually fire-happy. From the same exhaust that gives it its noteworthy sound, come forth dragon flames when the car is at track mode. Speaking of which, when track mode among the two other sport and lift modes is engaged, the suspension drops down by 69mm at the front and 82.5mm at the rear, shift times are reduced (accompanied by the flames at shifts of course), and the throttle response and braking is made more accurate. As you’d expect from a “track mode”. The Tuatara begs for caution though, with a RWD drivetrain as opposed to its competitors, safety is a concern with all of that power.
Let’s talk figures again. The American hypercar is powered by a 5.9litre twin-turbocharged V8 that outputs 1350hp at regular 91 octane and an even more profuse 1750hp on E85 flex fuel as mentioned before. 0-60 in about 2.5s, and it has the lowest-in-class drag coefficient of 0.279, as claimed by SSC. The entire car is built on a carbon fibre monocoque, weighing in at around 1247 kilograms. No, it’s not a heavy, power junky machine, it has a proper power-to-weight ratio. Car nerd or not, I think all of that sounds pretty impressive even to the layman.
The SSC Tuatara is just the archetypal hypercar, and that’s not something to not gawk at. With all the “hypercar necessities” at hand, 100 units to be made and throughout an entire decade of work, SSC has priced the car at $2 million.