After teasing us last year with a concept vehicle, Orange County’s Aria Group is coming to the L.A. Auto Show with the real thing — a functional version of its FXE hybrid powertrain hypercar. Only 400 will be built, which is probably a good thing: Could Southern California tolerate more of these rockets?
What is it?
Aria Group’s FXE is an old-fashioned supercar with modern details. Designed with 21st century lines and aerodynamics, loaded with 21st century technology, it’s driven by a very familiar 6.2-liter V-8 engine — of the sort that sends Corvettes ringing around racetracks. But this one, built on a carbon composite chassis and weighing only 3,450 pounds, is mated to a 10 kWh lithium ion battery pack that shoves additional force to the wheels. The combination will put everything made by Chevy on notice. A new American hypercar is here.
Why it matters
Aria Group, a boutique design, engineering and manufacturing firm headquartered in Irvine, has done automotive projects for Ford, Honda, Toyota, GM and Tesla, as well as less terrestrial companies Northrup Grumman and SpaceX. Now, coming forward with its own land-based vehicle, Aria joins a small group of California carmakers — from Tesla to Karma to Faraday Future — trying to find a toehold in the world’s most competitive car market.
The FXE is driven by a tried and tested V-8 engine, paired with a powerful electric motor. Together, the two dynamos make it fast. All-wheel drive and the added assistance of the electric motor attached to the front axle will keep the power on the ground and maybe prevent the fuel economy from being gallons per mile instead of miles per gallon.
The FXE hasn’t been tested or driven by the motoring press, so it’s hard to be certain who should be nervous, if anyone. But customers for a car of this nature — and the likely sky-high MSRP — could be cross-shopping new vehicles such as the Pagani Huayra, Koenigsegg Agera RS, Porsche 918, Bugatti Chiron, or used ones such as the Ferrari LaFerrari or the McLaren P1.
“We will be very competitive with other supercars in this performance category,” said Aria President and CEO Clive Hawkins. “But of course we are better.”
What are the new car’s chances?
“Aria doesn’t have the wider appeal of an established brand like Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren or even Pagani in enthusiast circles,” said Matt DeLorenzo, managing editor for Kelley Blue Book. “That could be a critical factor in the status-conscious Southern California market.”
The dual powertrain is said to put out 1,150 horsepower and 1,316 pound-feet of torque, which will jet the FXW from 0 to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds. Scoops, spoilers and a wind wing will stabilize the FXE at high speeds and make it look like a track terror when it’s standing still. The price has not been announced.