ATS GT Revealed at Salon Privé

01 September 2017 | by Michael Gooderham

56 years after Automobili Turismo e Sport was founded by a small group of entrepreneurs and frustrated ex-Ferrari engineers, the company has returned as ATS Automobili, with a new limited-run GT supercar unveiled yesterday at Salon Privé.

The style-driven high-performance machine, designed by ex-Fiat man Emanuele Bomboi, pays homage to the company’s original 2500 GT lightweight V8 sports car of 1963, which was itself the world’s first production car with a mid-mounted engine.

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While not nearly as OTT as most boutique European supercars appearing at shows like this, the GT does sport a few interesting touches. Among the most obvious is the shark-fin graphic over the rear quarterlights – although this is only obvious on the show car thanks to the red stripe that traces its outline, as part of a larger stripe working its way from the base of the A-pillar down to the upper side sill. Less obvious, thanks to the silver paint, is the chrome strip across the tip of the nose to reference the chrome bumper of the ’60s original. Semi-lenticular forged aluminium wheels (20 inches at the front, 21 at the rear) sit in front of vast carbon-ceramic brakes.

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The rear end features a flowing character line sweeping up from the sill and over the rear wheelarch – plus a sculpted engine cover with no rear window “like a true racecar” – but is dominated by the rear fascia which mostly comprises heat vents, along with single-ring LED tail lights with clear lenses – themselves allowing engine heat to vent through their middles. Above this wide-open area is an active rear wing and airbrake, whereas below, two twin-exit exhausts (featuring “the first ever patented silencer system”) are embedded in the diffuser-like rear apron with interesting shrouds reaching beyond them, vaguely reminiscent of the short-lived ‘Coandă exhausts’ seen in Formula 1 five years ago.

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Some have made comparisons with McLaren, and sure enough the essential proportions, low scuttle and the profile of the roof all bear a striking resemblance. ATS haven’t officially stated who supplied the engine, but some brief research, allied to technical data from ATS, reveals that the engine has the same V8 layout, 3799cc displacement, 650PS power output and 500lb/ft (678Nm) of peak torque as the engine which powered the outgoing McLaren 650S – while the chassis has an identical 2670mm wheelbase. It also weighs a very similar 1300kg, and has the same dihedral door mechanism with the same hidden touch-sensor opening instead of handles and the same mirrors.

Perhaps it’s best to apply Occam’s Razor here…

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Once the McLaren connection has been made on the outside, it becomes easier to spot more structural commonalities in the interior as well; the same wide, carbon fibre sill, seats with identically-shaped bolsters, the same flat-bottomed steering wheel with the same Rolo-esque airbag housing, the identically-placed air vents and the narrow centre console.

In fairness, there are also numerous major changes. The carbonfibre waterfall that divides those seats in the 650S is absent here, replaced with a bowed metal-on-carbon structure (pulled-up to tantalisingly reveal part of the sequential shift mechanism) which curves downwards to reach below a horizontal dash. Said dash features three ‘squircle’ shaped aluminium bezels with deeply inset information screens, sat above an equally wide singular touchscreen.

Two air vents sit on top and solid metal knobs sit below, hanging off the bottom as if floating, which control drive modes and infotainment. A metal bar reaches across the entire width of the dash, sat within a deep indentation.

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A unique feature is the gear selector, which features a ring of buttons on the driver’s side to select Neutral, Drive, Reverse and a button marked 'W' – possibly a winter setting.

ATS will allow the twelve customers to request any level of customisation they see fit, and in that spirit the interior is given a different feel to anything made in Surrey. Every surface of the show car’s cockpit is newly upholstered in suede-alike Nubuck leather, while the steering wheel rim has thicker trim with unique metal inserts. The TFT instrument display is completely new and sits in a tablet-thin aluminium housing that stands proud of the dash, while all the screens use completely unique graphics – including satellite navigation using 3D maps (and live traffic alerts) by Google.

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Switching between the three main driving modes also changes the ambient mood lighting from blue (Viaggio [Touring]) to yellow (Sport) to, typically, red (Corsa [Race]).

If the trick active exhaust isn’t tickling your ears enough, there’s always the Prima Orchestra Professional sound system, utilising, among others, three narrow horizontal speakers atop the dash and a circular speaker in each door whose grilles arguably resembles an ‘aero wheel’ from something like a BMW i3 or Tesla Model 3.

Overall, the mix of unique, sand-beige upholstery and bespoke metal touches achieves a distinctive, Italian feel to the interior.

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ATS are seeking a dozen customers willing to spend at least $1,150,000 on a GT supercar built entirely to their taste (or lack thereof). This includes an optional engine upgrade to give over 700 horsepower and 750+ Nm of torque. Development will conclude next month.