The Incoherently Fast 2022 Pininfarina Battista Rips Into the Very Fabric of Spacetime
The 2022 Pininfarina Battista is here to usher in the next era of battery-electric performance. And I suspect it’s only the beginning.
It takes very little to talk up your car company that may or may not produce a bajillion-horsepower EV in the year 20never. We roll our eyes and dismiss all of that as claptrap vaporware because those renders and claims are a dime a dozen. But not the 2022 Pininfarina Battista. It’s real. It’s here. You can drive it. You can buy it—provided you can cough up at least $2 million, obviously.
It’s not fair to paint EVs in the “they all drive the same” broad strokes, but I can’t deny the driving experiences they offer are largely very similar to one another. The Battista’s reality-bending performance is already superlative on its own, but that isn’t the only thing that makes it special.
The Battista is a hypercar and, yes, I hate the term as well. But calling it a mere “supercar” doesn’t feel adequate, either. A hypercar’s whole point is how it affects you on a wordless, emotional level. Without the noise and character of a traditional internal combustion engine to rely on, Pininfarina here interprets modern-day performance as a wickedly styled car that purrs and drives like the dawn of something new and unknown.
2022 Pininfarina Battista Review Specs
- Base price (as tested): $2.14 million ($3 million)
- Powertrain: 120-kWh lithium-ion battery | 1-speed transmission | quad-motor all-wheel drive
- Horsepower: 1,900
- Torque: 1,726 lb-ft
- 0-62 mph: Less than 2 seconds (est.)
- Top speed: 217 mph
- Curb weight: 5,000 pounds (est.)
- Seating capacity: 2
- EPA-estimated range: 300 miles
- EPA fuel economy: N/A
- Quick take: If you want to feel your insides rearranged, you’ve come to the right place. But the Battista isn’t only for zero-to-blastoff-mph runs. It’ll also take you to dinner in comfort and style.
- Score: 8/10
To clear things up quickly, Pininfarina is the same Italian coachbuilder that’s given body to some of the most beautiful Alfa Romeos and Ferraris to date. However, the company responsible for the Battista is Automobili Pininfarina, which was established in 2018 and is based in Munich, Germany, instead of Italy (though there are facilities there). The two are related, they’re just not the same.
First unveiled in 2019 and finally arriving to market this year, the Battista is the EV-only automaker’s very first production car, limited to 150 models, and armed with expectedly striking supercar looks. Wide, sleek, and low-slung, it has those show-stopping dihedral doors, narrow strips for tail lights, and a front fascia with a brow creased in anger. Each car takes about 1,300 hours at minimum to build, depending on specification.
Riding on a carbon fiber monocoque chassis, the Battista has a T-shaped 120-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that’s situated in a central tunnel and up behind the seats; it does not use a skateboard layout, and actually, if you think about where most of that mass is concentrated, the Battista is almost like a mid-“engined” car. The battery powers four independent motors (one for each wheel) and produces a claimed 1,900 horsepower and 1,726 lb-ft of torque.
Six-piston front and rear calipers clamp onto a set of 15.4-inch carbon-ceramic Brembo discs that rest behind forged aluminum wheels, which can be had as 20 inches as standard or optionally staggered at 20 inches in the front and 21 inches in the rear. Rubber consists of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2R tires, also as standard, and they’re tires a Pininfarina spokesperson said can be sourced through the normal Michelin channels. You don’t have to order a special set that’s bespoke to the Battista, which will surely make replacing them much easier.
Typically, cars with up-swinging doors and monocoque chassis tend to have very thick sills and low roofs that require a contortionist’s flexibility to climb into their portholes. But not the Battista. Its sills are thin and, most importantly, a cutaway of its roof comes away with its doors. This adds extra headroom useful for when you’re ducking into something so low—just like the original Ford GT.
Inside, the Battista blends classically quilted leather and brushed aluminum with exposed carbon fiber and a tri-screen setup. The left-hand touchscreen features controls for the drive modes and seating position, the right-hand touchscreen carries out navigation and other infotainment functions, and a central screen—which looks like an upright, propped smartphone—displays stuff like vehicle speed. The screens are oriented toward the driver, a nice touch, but seeing as seat positioning is controlled via the left screen, it means the passenger has to request that the driver activate their seat controls, which then show up on the right-hand screen and can be controlled there.
You sit low in the Battista and the windshield is small, but overall visibility did wind up being better than I’d initially believed, and the far-out wing mirrors actually provided pretty good rear sightlines.
Obviously, there was no thunderous bark of a multi-cylinder engine firing to life. I pressed the accelerator pedal down and we just went.
There are five drive modes to choose from. Calma is the most efficient one, and it’s in this mode the car can return that estimated 300 miles of range. In Calma, the Battista operates the low-speed stuff in front-wheel drive and at a pedestrian 700 hp, but if you need to maneuver it quickish, a sharp jab of the pedal will poke the rear wheels into action. Pura is your everyday all-wheel-drive mode, Energica and Furiosa are the sportier drive modes, and your custom drive settings can be programmed into Carattere mode.
And though there was no V10 or V12 scream, the Battista was plenty noisy.
A series of whirs and growls emanated from it constantly. The sticky tires grabbed dozens of tiny rocks and flung them up in the wheel wells, where they clattered off the carbon fiber like a rain rattle. Upon slowing down, there was a buzzing sound that a Pininfarina engineer explained was a sort of “anti-drag” feature that smooths out the transition of regen braking. One-pedal driving becomes instinctive to use, though when I did go to use the physical brake pedal, the bite point was a little difficult to modulate at first because it was so sensitive. Curiously, I also picked up on some very high-frequency feedback while driving the car and couldn’t figure out how to shut it off, but it sounded like one of those frequencies that only people below a certain age can hear.
Putting it in Furiosa mode—and thus activating full power—meant a synthesized and sort of pulsating hum/purr reverberated into the cabin. The Pininfarina engineer riding shotgun pointed out the speaker that sat between us as the sound’s source. This was the way the automaker has chosen to aurally articulate the sportiest mode. It was a curious noise, very bassy and low, and made the Verde Paradiso-painted Battista seem like a shimmering, slumbering green dragon. Vrrrrr-RRRRR-rrrrr-RRRRR-rrrrr.
But, then, when I floored it for the first time, I promptly frightened the shit out of myself.
The Battista weighs 5,000 pounds. The Battista uses regular performance tires. The Battista was—up until this point—a car that nosed its way pleasantly around the suburban roads of Connecticut.
Yet, when all 1,726 lb-ft of torque happens right now, these thoughts leave your head. But even that doesn’t feel like an accurate description of what happened. These thoughts—all thoughts, actually—are forced out of your head, left behind in the rip in spacetime the Battista has just torn through. Reflexes don’t need a coherent command from your brain to happen, they just do. Power, speed, whatever, are like that in the Battista. You push the pedal down and you’re there; you are the acceleration. The sensory perception part of your brain registers that you are suddenly going very fast, responds with surprise and immediate self-preservation, and your foot twitches over to the brake pedal before the rest of your brain has the chance to catch up and form an intelligible word. Only later on did I register the sharp, involuntary intake of breath that forced its way past my teeth.
It would be an understatement to call the Battista simply fast. What’s faster than an instant? It’s that, and incoherently so.
If you aren’t used to this kind of power and acceleration—and truly, who is?—I would recommend preparing yourself on a long and empty stretch of road first. Not because the car isn’t capable, but because if you aren’t expecting it, it will respond more quickly than you’re ready for. Be cautious with it, but don’t be afraid of it.
But like with any high-powered performance car of the modern era, you don’t have to drive around in fear of a wild, bucking thing that’s more interested in killing you than sitting in traffic. The steering felt direct and proportionately weighted to the speeds being traveled and was a touch on the lighter side when turning from a stop. There was hardly any lean in the chassis and there was a surprising amount of cabin space because, in addition to center-of-gravity and weight distribution benefits, the T-shaped battery pack also does one important thing: It stays out of the occupants’ way.
Despite the monstrous power, the Battista is civil. It’s not out to bite anyone’s head off, and even though I only spent about 20 minutes behind the wheel, I can tell this is a car you can take to dinner just as easily as you would on a weekend getaway. The trunk doesn’t fit much more luggage than that, though.
To date, the Battista is the quickest car I have ever driven. It’s a bona fide member of this new class of automotive performance, where the Rimac Nevera—which loans much of its hardware to the Battista—and the upcoming Lotus Evija also exist. It’s a stratospheric moment and place to be. I don’t see how we could possibly top any of it. But then again, I also said that in 2013 when the Porsche 911 Turbo S hitting 60 mph from a standstill in 2.9 seconds was noteworthy. (It still is.)
But I walked away from my afternoon with the 2022 Pininfarina Battista mulling over how easy making and applying all that power felt. Conversely, the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport I drove last year was very nearly just as quick, but also seemed like it was clawing at the very ends of what it and its gasoline-powered, quad-turbocharged W16 were capable of. That car was still mightily bound by the laws of physics, whereas the Battista acted as though they were mere child’s play. It—and whatever comes after it—will have even more to give.
Is that worth it? I don’t know. You’re the one with the $3 million checkbook. You tell me.
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