Retro review: the twin-turbo V12-engined Tramontana R

The Tramontana R. It could do with guns. Something to finish off the whole butchered Apache-gunship vibe – ram home the impression of a vehicle that should be on duty in a warzone, piloted by steely-eyed young folk with macho nicknames appliquéd on their helmets.

Happily, it has weaponry, just not the projectile kind: the motor strung longitudinally out back is a 5.5-litre biturbo Mercedes V12. The car weighs 1,364kg all-up thanks to a racecar carbon tub and carbon bodywork, and that means 62mph in well under four seconds. Got your attention yet?

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It gets better. In ‘normal’ mode, the R packs a meagre 550bhp, driven through the rear wheels via a six-speed sequential gearbox. But hit a tempting little button to the right of the steering wheel and you get the full-house 720bhp, with serious tweakery on the throttle map.

The motor fires up with a muted hum, mostly to do with Spanish exhaust regs (A.D. Tramontana is a Spanish company based near Barcelona), and partly to do with the decibel-sapping turbos. Push down a reasonably heavy clutch and grab hold of the gearlever positioned on the right-hand panel. This gearshift is a proper sequential, so it requires a hefty yank on the gearstick to engage a gear, and off you go.

Driving is surreal. The view is pure fighter-jet cockpit with added outboard wheels. It’s very easy to place – you can see exactly where the extremities are – and hoofing through that gearbox is a joy, as long as you’re firm. But it is much bigger than you might think. And people stare like you wouldn’t believe.

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And it is fast. Even in 550bhp format it feels indecently rapid, with good grip and decent feel. The car I was driving wasn’t really set up for UK roads and kept bottoming out – though customers can fettle the fully-adjustable suspension however they fancy. Stick it in full-fat mode and it gets interesting – not least because the information you receive isn’t what you’re used to. It feels high and it isn’t noisy enough, but it corners flat and hard and – bizarrely – feels like it could handle even more power. The world rushes past with exciting rapidity, and you find yourself endlessly humming the Top Gun theme tune.

The tandem seating works well here, because you can’t see your passenger’s face, and the hiss of the turbos mutes most of the screaming. Even if you don’t play with the four-position traction control. So… it’s a good thing, this Tramontana R. Totally bonkers, not quite as instantly accessible as a normal supercar, but looks like something you could put on a plinth and just stare at. We shouldn’t love it, but we do.

Verdict: freakish, fun and very fast – but you’re going to have to be very rich and very eclectic to drop £330k on it.

Price: £330,000 (est)
Performance: 0-62mph in 3.6secs, 186+mph top speed, n/a mpg
Tech: 5513cc, V12, RWD, 720bhp, 679lb ft, 1364kg, n/a g/km CO2

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