Stunning new Pininfarina Pura Vision is a luxury electric land yacht

By topgear, 10 August 2023

In Seventies Top Trumps land, Pininfarina was one of the kings. As well as clothing virtually every major Ferrari from 1951 until the Prancing Horse took its design destiny in-house in 2011, these guys regularly smashed it out of the park when it came to concept cars.

Case in point: the Modulo, which rebodied a Ferrari 512 S endurance racing car as a flying saucer. To this day, it remains the show car to end all show cars, a four-wheeled WTF (not least because using a 512 S as a donor car is majorly punchy).

Now meet the Pura Vision, the follow-up to the Pininfarina Battista. At this point we must remind you that these are the products of Automobili Pininfarina, which is a separate entity to the original carrozzeria. It's effectively a start-up whose goal is to be the world’s leading purveyor of luxury electric cars.

Since 2018, a team of 116 has been building and refining the Battista 1,876bhp hypercar, while new CEO Paolo Dellachà, formerly chief product and engineering officer, insists the company’s financials are increasingly robust.

We like the Battista a lot, but the Pura Vision is something else altogether. Car designers will give you chapter and verse on the importance of stance and proportion, but this thing gleefully rips the rule book to shreds. Look how shallow the glasshouse is compared to the body.

Check out the Pura Vision’s floating roof. Stare if you dare into its minimalist face and notice the way the cockpit sits within the body. It even has preposterous front and rear ‘suicide’ doors.

It’s also huge, almost six metres long, two metres wide and 1.7m tall, and has the imperious bearing of an automotive super yacht. The nautical parallel is encouraged by design boss Dave Amantea, who says the Pura Vision looks especially like a boat from above.

Dave, it should be noted, is also one of the world’s most enthusiastic human beings.

“The first iteration dates back to 2018. A 40 per cent scale model was presented in 2019, and we wanted to gather, not suggestions as such, but the vibes and understanding of what our customers wanted,” he explains.

“We have to bring the customer to the centre of our project. Remember, these guys own everything. They’re probably getting a little bored because they can buy anything they want. This is the most difficult segment to make ‘wow!’ to the people.”

This surely gives Automobili Pininfarina scope, if not total carte blanche, to go a bit nuts. They have delivered. Although its production targets are more ambitious for the quasi-SUV than the Battista – think into the thousands rather than 150 – imagine you’re a cash rich tech bro (or sister) on the hunt for something electrified but outrageous.

The Pura Vision manages to look very Silicon Valley while channelling Pininfarina’s history. The lounge doors are a nod to 1956’s Lancia Florida, the roof – currently being co-developed with a Swiss specialist – echoes the Modulo, and the body section where the doors meet is a conscious link to the Battista.

A central ‘biscotto’ supports the curved single-piece side windows, which are integral to the doors. The headlights are hidden and use L.E.S.S nanofibre technology; the fibres measure less than one millimetre thick.

It sits on 23 inch wheels, the minimum diameter on a vehicle with proportions as bonkers as these, its tyres wearing an elegant white pinstripe. The rear tapers in beautifully, another aspect best appreciated from above – a vantage point Dave the designer actively encourages. A ring of anodised aluminium runs around the car’s beltline.

Nor is it overcooked. Amantea says that simplicity underpins everything, partly because the purer the surfaces the greater the contrast that can be achieved when clients start spending big in the bespoke department. The body on the show car is finished in Bianco Sestriere Gloss paint, with powerful contrasting exposed carbonfibre on the body’s lower elements.

“Details are vital. You need the unexpected element that pops out to give you the emotion,” Amantea says. “You have to amaze the customer, balance the classic effect with the futurism. The idea of finding beauty in imperfection, it’s in our bones. It’s about finding the perfect emotion not the perfect alignment of line.”

The interior is equally fabulous, contains four ‘floating’ captain’s chairs, and aims for an airier sensation than the exterior suggests. The central display rises into view when needed, disappears out of view when not. Each head-rest has a speaker to create individual sound zones.

Charcoal leather on the dashboard and door tops creates an ‘accent band’ that mirrors the aluminium one on the outside. The centre console, upper seatbacks and headlining combine 30 per cent wool and 70 per cent recycled polyester. There’s a fridge hidden between the rear seats.

Automobili Pininfarina calls the Pura Vision an ‘e-LUV’ – electric luxury utility vehicle – an abbreviation that might get lost in translation anywhere within the M62. We love it all the same, for its colossal ambition and emotive cab-rear design.

No news yet on what platform it might use or the extent of its electric powertrain. A deal is being done on the former, with the latter being shared with the Battista. So it will have the performance to back up its presence.

STORY Jason Barlow

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