Italy’s Walter De Silva is one of the country’s best-known automotive designers. Formerly head of styling for Fiat and Volkswagen, his most iconic creations include the Alfa Romeo 156 and 147, Audi A5 and R8, Seat Ibiza, Volkswagen Up! Polo and Golf VI and VII. While, his latest creation is the stunning new machine is the Hongqi S9: the very first hybrid hypercar from a joint venture between Chinese auto giant FAW and Silk EV, Silk – FAW was founded in 2018.
FIRST PLUG-IN HYBRID, THEN 100% ELECTRIC
The new car is powered by a 4.0-litre V8-based hybrid powertrain, which allows it to cover up to 40 kilometres using electric power only. In total, the car puts out a staggering 1400 horsepower that catapults it from 0-100kph in 1.9 seconds and then on to a blistering top speed of 400kph.
The car will be built at Silk FAW’s manufacturing site in Reggio Emilia, with high-performance electric power now coming to Italy’s Motor Valley: also the hallowed home of automotive legends such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Pagani and Ducati. Traditionally, Italy’s high luxury sportcar models have relied on V12 combustion engine power, in the heartland of the country’s motorsport scene. Now, everything changes.
THE STRENGTHS: SIMPLICITY AND ELEGANCE
Da Silva’s designs have always been known for their elegant simplicity, and this one is no exception. Not only is the focus here on conveying emotion but also sustainability, thanks to an unparalleled driving experience. The result is a perfect marriage between form and function, with a truly unique look to it.
There’s a subtle counterpoint between light and shadow; modernity and classicism within the sleek lines of a new age S9, reminiscent of a sports prototype. The interior of the car reflects the outside, putting the driver first while benefitting from all the latest connected technology. The car is finished in red; not only the red of China but also the colour of thoroughbred Italian racing cars. It’s a shade that talks of beauty, speed, tradition, and performance technology: from the past all the way to the present and future.
In fact, this car can almost be considered as Italian from head to toe: it wears Pirelli P Zero tyres with Elect markings, denoting tyres that have been specifically created for vehicles that rely on electric power. Now, the game moves on.