Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Brabus Tesla

The Tesla is a bit of conundrum for the eager petrolhead. The all-electric Elise-based roadster boasts impressive power figures - 0-60mph in under four seconds will always raise an eyebrow - but the single-geared drivetrain, while boasting impressive and immediate torque and otherworldy thrust, lacks the natural step-changes in acceleration that our brains are conditioned to punctuate the motion with (the lack of gearchanges is frankly unsettling), and the damned thing is silent. Aside from the obvious dangers of silent-running - little kiddies running out in front of you and so forth - there's just something fundamentally wrong about acceleration minus thunder. You need the V8 rumble, the twin-cam bark or the ascending forced-induction whistle. No-one wants to save the world in silence.

Praise be for Brabus, then, who've developed a clever new system for the Tesla. By recording the soundtrack of their ferocious 6.1-litre V8 at all rev increments and linking the soundtrack to the drivetrain, the appropriate roar is delivered to the driver through an intricate network of speakers and subwoofers as he mashes the throttle into the carpet. (Except that there is no carpet, as Brabus have bizarrely seen fit to trim the floor in leather. Hmm.)

Being Brabus, they've fitted extras along varying points of the sublime/ridiculous scale, with beautiful matt white paint, 19" wheels and saucy raw carbon-fibre spoilers trying to draw the eye away from the awfully pikey Halfords neon lights underneath. They've done nothing to the actual mechanicals of the car, which has to be a first for Brabus, but it's the soundtrack that's the real showpiece here. You see, this system could have any enginesong pasted into it. Want your Tesla to sound like a supercharged Exige or a Hayabusa or a Group B Quattro? It could happen. We could be witnessing the future of car accessorising: auto ringtones. Classy, no?

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