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Future models - Icona - Vulcano

Shanghai show: Fire and rice from Icona Vulcano

Too hot: The Icona Vulcano produces about 670 kilowatts via a front-mounted V12 engine paired to electric motors.

China sets the pace with its V12 hybrid-powered Icona Vulcano supercar

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22 Apr 2013

By BARRY PARK

“THE beauty and the beast come together” spits the press release announcing China’s first-ever homegrown supercar.

They’re right. The svelte Icona Vulcano two-door coupe, painted in its “Red Magma” show colours looks the beauty, while under its long bonnet lies a specially-built, Italian-sourced beast of a hybrid V12 drivetrain producing more than 670 kilowatts of power through “a masterful combination of combustion engine and electric motors”.

No official performance figures exist, and details on other aspects of the low-slung supersport exist, but Icona is happy to let slip a couple of staggering numbers: a top speed of about 350km/h and a 0-200km/h time of less than 10 seconds.

Penned in Italy by former Nissan Europe and Jaguar-Land Rover designer Samuel Chuffart, the brief for the Vulcano was to develop a front-engined car with a strongly sculpted body that would help to draw hot air from around the engine and reduce air turbulence around the wheels.

“As different ideas came together, the most challenging design issue which we faced was how to create a balance between power and beauty,” Mr Chuffart said.

“When you’re trying to create a feeling of aesthetic harmony, you risk creating too many sweet lines, which decreases the feeling of power.

“On the other hand, if you make too much of the powerful features which are necessary to a super sports car such as its cooling cutouts and blades which manage the airflow, they become graphically too dominant, and this makes the car less beautiful.

“The way we found the right balance was usually by looking for the greatest simplicity,” he said.

While the body has a strong European influence, it’s the same under the bonnet. The big V12 was built by former powertrain technical director at Ferrari, Claudio Lombardi.

Mr Lombardi was also critical in determining the Vulcano’s aerodynamics, as well as helping to balance weight distribution and get the Vulcano’s huge well of power down to the ground.

The Shanghai-based car-maker Icona has only been building cars since 2010, tying in with Torino, Italy-based vehicle engineering specialists Tecnocad Progetti and Cecomp.

The Vulcano is the second concept car produced by the company’s Asian offshoot.

Icona also built the Fuselage, an aerodynamic electric four-seater concept car, for the 2011 Shanghai motor show.

It was later to become a finalist at that year’s Paris-based Festival Automobile International’s World’s Most Beautiful Concept Car competition.

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