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Wiesmann Project Thunderball: Gecko with 680 hp electric drive

Wiesmann brings a 680 hp roadster with the Project Thunderball. Three design concepts show how the electric car can be adapted to one's own taste.

The Wiesmann topic belongs in the recurring column "Is it really that long ago?": The sports car manufacturer, founded in 1988 by the brothers Friedhelm and Martin Wiesmann, went bankrupt at the beginning of 2014. Two years later, Roheen and Sahir Berry - the Londoners are also brothers - took over the brand and the location in Dülmen. So far they have not been able to really revive Wiesmann. The Project Gecko announced for 2020 (see photo show), a sports car coupé with a BMW V8, has not yet made it into series production.

In March 2022, Wiesmann gave another sign of life. The team from the Münsterland region launched a few photos and a short teaser video via social networks, which showed a roadster in camouflage clothing drifting through the snow. Its provisional name, which not only makes James Bond fans prick up their ears: Project Thunderball. That was the name of the fourth 007 adventure from 1965, which was the most successful part of the series until the release of "Skyfall" - albeit adjusted for inflation - and also won an Oscar. At the end of April, Wiesmann officially unveiled the Thunderball.

Roadster with electric drive

What the Erlkönig pictures had already suggested was backed up with hard facts. The Wiesmann Thunderball comes with a purely electric drive including 800 volt architecture. The two electric motors housed on the rear axle deliver a total of 680 hp and provide a maximum torque of 1,100 Nm. They are powered by a liquid-cooled battery pack with a capacity of 92 kWh, of which 83 kWh can be used. The lithium NMC battery, weighing around 500 kilograms, sits in a T-shape in the center tunnel and across in front of the passengers.

The entire drive train was developed in Germany according to Wiesmann specifications. Despite the carbon bodywork, the Thunderball weighs around 1.7 tons and sprints to 100 km/h in 2.9 seconds. Wiesmann has not yet given any further mileage data. The range should be up to 500 kilometers. Energy can also be recovered via the regenerative braking system, whose braking effect can be adjusted in five stages on the steering wheel. The Wiesmann draws new power for the battery from the home socket using a 22 kW on-board unit. Alternatively, the Thunderball can also be supplied with fresh energy with up to 300 kW at public fast charging points.

Wiesmann fans don't have to get used to the design. The Thunderball picks up on the classic Wiesmann roadster lines and interprets a few of them a bit more angular. It sticks to the curvy aesthetics with small round headlights at the front and an extremely long front end.The two occupants sit just in front of the rear axle and put on a tight fabric top when the weather doesn't permit open-top driving. The round taillights seem to grow out of the rear fenders, while the rear ends in a ducktail spoiler. A generously proportioned diffuser sits in the lower area of ​​the rear part.

Three design concepts with different characters

Three design concepts are intended to demonstrate how the Thunderball design and the equipment of the electric roadster can be customized. Number one is inspired by the sparkling waters of the Côte d'Azur with its deep blue metallic finish. The interior, on the other hand, is designed to symbolize a beach, such as that found in Saint Tropez, with orange leather, cream canvas accents and lustrous teak accents.

With his second concept, Wiesmann alludes to the "Roaring Twenties"; According to the manufacturer, the 1920s were an age of modernism and optimism about the future. It remains to be seen whether historians would confirm this. The Thunderball, with its golden ex and burgundy interior that combines leather with a touch of matte soft-touch velvet, is intended to evoke the iconic fictional character Jay Gatsby from F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The third design concept car in the Wiesmann group is marching in exactly the opposite direction. Here the Project Thunderball comes in a matt black robe, which in combination with glossy black accents is supposed to create "an ultimate menacing presence". The interior is also predominantly black, with anodised details and details bordered with shiny carbon contrasting with the dark leather.

Production in Dülmen - parallel to Project Gecko

The production of the Thunderball is to take place in Dülmen, side by side with Project Gecko, the development of which Wiesmann is apparently continuing to advance. The base price for the Thunderball is 300,000 euros. Interested parties have been able to pre-order the electric roadster since November 2022. In February 2023, the manufacturer reported the sale of the first annual production, but did not name any quantities. Other interested parties can register on a waiting list. Wiesmann promises first deliveries for the year 2024.

Conclusion

Whether De Tomaso, Hispano Suiza or now Wiesmann: A number of legendary sports car and luxury brands are currently trying to make a comeback. However, it remains to be seen whether there will be enough space for everyone. It is also questionable whether Wiesmann's strategy of using combustion engines and electric drives for its sports cars in parallel will work.

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