Apollo Automobil Begins Production of Its Re-Engineered Intensa Emozione

The Intensa Emozione is basically a different car from what we saw last year. And that’s for the better.

byJonathon Klein|
Apollo Automobil Begins Production of Its Re-Engineered Intensa Emozione

Apollo Automobil—the creators of the radically styled Intensa Emozione hypercar—has been uncharacteristically quiet for such a flamboyant and ambitious enterprise. When the company launched the IE last year, promises of a GT1-homologated racecar for the streets was tantalizing. In the interim, we’ve only seen minor updates. But after a conversation with Apollo’s General Manager and CMO Ryan Berris, we have a much fuller picture of what the IE’s team has been up to and we’re once again frothy with anticipation.

The last update came when Apollo Automobil announced its partnership with HWA AG—the same company that built the legendary Mercedes-Benz CLK GTRs. At the time, the word was that HWA would be refining and honing the IE’s final form based on HWA’s vast technical, engineering, and racing history. According to Berris, during that period of quiet, HWA’s manufacturing expertise saw the Intensa Emozione retain its shape and not much else. All of which was for the better.

Berris informed us that when Apollo Automobil and HWA AG inked its partnership, HWA AG insisted that the agreement include a certain set of standards the Intensa Emozione was required to adhere to. What came of the very specific wording was that after HWA analyzed the IE’s specifications and engineering, much of the car’s components were revised or flat-out redesigned to ensure those mandated standards. While other company could see this as a slight, Apollo welcomed the input as the IE could finally become exactly what Norman Choi, the company’s CEO and the IE’s progenitor, envisioned. 

Apollo Automobil

The most fundamental change to the Intensa Emozione is the all-new carbon fiber chassis. The IE’s monocoque was originally developed by Manifattura Automobili Torino, the same engineering company that builds James Glickenhaus’ SCG supercars and his one-off Ferrari P4/5s, as well as the new Ferrari-based Stratos. But after HWA’s review, the MAT-developed chassis was dropped for a full prepreg carbon fiber chassis—including the subframes and crash structures—built by the Capricorn Group. 

Capricorn Group may not be a household name to enthusiasts, but the company’s best-known product will be; Porsche’s 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid LMP1 chassis. Solid credentials, then. This three-way partnership led to the final IE chassis being built to meet or exceed FIA safety regulations. As such, the IE has the real potential of being raced in the upcoming ACO and FIA hypercar class at Le Mans, which has been part of Choi’s vision from the IE’s initial sketches. Berris mentioned that the rules and regulations of the upcoming class are a source of consistent conversation between Apollo and the ACO and FIA. To further that possibility, a fire suppression system was also integrated into the interior and engine bay. 

Additional changes to the Intensa Emozione’s engineering included an entirely new suspension setup, a changing of the car’s weight balance, a carbon/kevlar wrapped fuel cell integrated into the car’s monocoque, a redesigned door hinge that can be manually actuated in the event of a rollover, and a retuned 6.3-liter V12. The remapping of the V12 is of particular interest to us what with its stated 11,000 rpm redline. When we pressed Berris about the engine, he declined to comment on a specific output. He did say that the engine, like the rest of the hypercar, has been optimized further than its originally stated performance metrics, which were claimed to be outputs of 780 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque. 

Berris assured us that concrete numbers will be released in short order, as well as pictures of the entirely new interior. The IE’s original interior was, let’s say futuristic. But like some of its other components, just wasn’t up to the standards set forth by HWA. Nor was it apparently up to the task of keeping the driver centered when hucking the hypercar around a racetrack. So, it too was abandoned.  

One area Choi, Berris, and their team at Apollo hoped wouldn’t require changing was the IE’s bombastic exterior. And thankfully, they didn’t have to. But as with everything, HWA and Apollo saw potential areas to better the already stout package. Berris excitedly told us that during testing, the companies merely made subtle tweaks so as to preserve the IE’s magnetic shape. Those changes included optimizing the IE’s thermal management, as well as its stability, performance, and overall balance under aerodynamic load. As such, only under close examination can you see the shrewd changes made separating the original and finished cars.

The final customer-ready Intensa Emozione, which has now entered production in the same room where HWA AG built the CLK GTRs, looks like it has all the right components to truly live up to the hype produced by its wild outer surfaces. Moreover, the Intensa Emozione has the potential to distance itself from other manufacturers and deliver a novel machine before the rest of the world of super and hypercars go electric. “It’s amazing,” says Berris gleefully. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel this summer.