The Beirut-based car company W Motors has completed the first prototype of its $3.4 million “ultra-luxury hypercar” and is gearing up to officially launch sales at the Qatar Auto show on Jan. 29.
The “LykanHypersport 2013” is the brainchild of Beirut-born car designer Ralph Debbas, who is the lead investor, chairman and chief operating officer of W Motors.
Debbas cut his teeth designing “several concepts” for such luxury car brands as Land Rover and Aston Martin before starting W Motors in 2006.
The launch of what Debbas has dubbed “the first Arabian supercar” is an ambition he has nurtured since college: “It started as a dream and I kept following the dream … I saw there was a gap in the Middle East because people love fast and expensive cars, but they never produce them there.”
The seven models of the LykanHypersport 2013 will not be made in the Middle East either, but Debbas said W Motors is moving its production facilities from Torino, Italy, to Abu Dhabi and Qatar. Though the company will keep offices in Beirut, he said, they have no plans to manufacture the car in Lebanon anytime soon.
“It’s just not stable enough to do projects like this,” Debbas said. “Other countries help you on projects like this and say, ‘whatever you need, we can get it to you in 24 hours.’ We would want the Lebanese government to facilitate the project more.”
The LykanHypersport 2013 will be Lebanese in name only, but the car’s design and the press material about its launch bear many marks of its country of origin: a penchant for superlatives, a commitment to exclusivity, and flashy features like LED lights encrusted with 15 carats of diamonds, a gold-stitched leather interior, a reverse door-opening system. The car also boasts “a state-of-the-art, 3-D virtual holographic display with tactile interaction,” which Debbas said would “project images in midair,” and has the backing of some major international luxury car manufacturing brands.
The car accelerates from 0 to 100 kph in 2.8 seconds and reaches a maximum speed of 390 kph. Debbas declined to specify the wholesale production costs, but with 100 employees needed to assemble each vehicle, the initial investment “was no joke.”
Ultimately, entering the car market with seven models of what the news release described as “the most exclusive sports car the world has seen yet” was less risky and capital-intensive than launching an economy car that requires large-scale production, Debbas said.
The result is “a car you can imagine Batman driving in Gotham City.”
Debbas will start taking orders for the LykanHypersport 2013 at the Qatar auto show and expects to deliver the vehicles in September. W Motors plans to launch a slightly more understated and less exclusive model of the Lykan at the Dubai Auto Show in November – it will retail for $1.6 million, perfect for the Robins of the Middle East.
The Daily Star