Pininfarina will build the fastest Italian supercar yet...

Pininfarina has been responsible for the shape of over 1,400 cars and indisputably designed some of the most beautiful automobiles of all time. Now, the brand wants to reinvent itself with a limited-production electric hypercar…

When Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina founded his company in Turin in 1930, luck was on his side. Italian car manufacturers flourished, elegant bodies were in demand, and Carrozzeria Pinin Farina clothed the latest models from Alfa Romeo, Fiat, and Lancia with its stylish metal dresses. However, Pininfarina celebrated its greatest successes after the War with purist design icons such as the Cisitalia 202 or the countless sports-racing Ferraris. Since then, Pininfarina has shaped over 1,400 automobiles, including some of the most beautiful curves and audacious design studies of all time. For several years now, Pininfarina has also been developing fast trains, airplanes, high-rise buildings, and football stadiums all over the world. There are even satellite studios in Los Angeles and Shanghai. Only one wish has been designed to Pininfarina: a car of its own that carries the family name not discreetly on the side, but confidently on the front.

On the occasion of the brand’s 90th anniversary, that wish will be fulfilled with the help of the Indian automotive tycoon Anand Mahindra. Its group acquired the Turin design studio in 2015 and has established its own sister brand in Munich called Automobili Pininfarina, which intends to combine classic values such as exclusivity, craftsmanship, and provenance with emission-free high technology. Under the globally known ‘P’ logo, there will also be electric luxury cars for the global market in the future. 

At Geneva in March 2019, the first model will be presented: an ultra-sleek hypercar that even exceptional athletes such as the LaFerrari and McLaren P1 will struggle to rival. It will be Italy’s fastest-ever road car. Just 150 examples of the Pininfarina PF0 will be sold, at around two-million euros each. 

We recently visited Pininfarina in Cambiano near Turin. Paolo Pininfarina, the third-generation head of the design studio, welcomed guests together with his counterpart in Munich Michael Perschke. In a windowless room, where, in the past, first drafts of new designs were presented to the board, design chief Luca Borgogno reveals a styling model of the new hypercar. The prototype is indeed breathtaking: flat, wide, and a sculpture of unbridled speed. And yet it’s surprising how smooth and elegant the surfaces are. 

The martial cooling ducts of its competitors is nowhere to be seen, as the batteries require less cooling than regular combustion engines. This fits with Pininfarina’s pure and elegant design philosophy, which can be found even in the brand’s earliest cars and is now being followed under the codeword ‘PURA’. But the PF0 is also different: for example, the glowing light bands across the front and rear and the active aero elements that suddenly explode like a battle-ready collar lizard. There’s certainly no lack of drama in this electric catapult. 

The new model will be built in Cambiano, while the powertrain and the batteries will be supplied by Rimac. Four motors positioned at the wheels will pump out around 1,900HP on the road – double a Formula 1 car – and provide an entirely new driving experience thanks to advanced torque vectoring. Pininfarina has hired Nick Heidfeld as its development driver, and he’s already anticipating the phenomenal acceleration” 0–100kph in less than 2sec, and 300kph in 12sec. So, the battery doesn’t suffer too much at high speeds, there are two gears. And the range is around 450km – albeit at a slightly more sedate pace. Fast charging to 80 percent should take 25–40 minutes.

The cockpit is also functionally simple, with two displays either side of the steering wheel and two rotating switches for dynamic controls. However, there are hardly any limits to individualization: the colour fibres of the body can be personalised on request and the spectrum ranges from Turin understatement to Middle Eastern audacity. The futuristic prototype is in visual harmony with the Ferrari Modulo Concept, F40, Sigma Formula 1, and the wonderful small-series Sergio, with which Paolo beautifully honoured his father’s legacy. As Battista Farina, who was known as ‘Pinin’, liked to say, “above all, it has to be beautiful”. We’re sure he’d be more than proud to see his name on the bonnet of this extraordinary automobile.