Take a stroll along Sloane Street and – in any more normal month – you’ll spot more Ferraris than you can shake a Gucci loafer at. But you’ll never see another Zenvo.
Danish marque Zenvo builds just a handful of cars each year, making each one fabulously exclusive – and fearsomely expensive. If you have seven figures to spare and want the ultimate road-legal rush, they are happy to help.
We spoke to James Bannister, PR and Marketing Director at Zenvo, to discover what makes this innovative and proudly independent company tick. “These are cars for driving, not parking outside Harrods,” he says. Music to my ears…
Where did Zenvo come from?
“Zenvo is based in a beautiful small town called Praesto, near Copenhagen. Think of it as the Danish Henley-on-Thames. That’s where founder Troels Vollertsen grew up. Having done lots of consulting in the car industry, Troels had a vision for a supercar that combined cutting-edge tech with a tactile feel.
“He founded Zenvo in 2004 and our first car, the ST1, debuted in 2009.”
What makes Zenvo different?
“We’re not here to chase numbers in the horsepower race. Equally, we’re not about to weave gold into seat fabric. We just want to create the best supercar possible. Scandinavians talk about the law of Jante, which says it’s good to be humble. Zenvo has that outlook: our cars speak for themselves.
“The other point of difference is exclusivity. Each Zenvo is unique, built to the buyer’s exact specification, and they deal with Troels from day one. How many other car companies can say that?”
There’s more than one Zenvo, right?
“Yes, there are three models at present. The TS1 GT is our high-performance grand tourer, the TS-R is a lightweight, track-focused version of the same car, and the flagship TSR-S offers the best of both worlds.
“All use Zenvo’s twin-supercharged V8, which provides up to 1,194hp. Reckon on £1.1 million for a TS1 GT, up to £1.3 million for a TSR-S.”
Is there a local rivalry with Koenigsegg in Sweden?
“Ha! The two companies are theoretically in the same market, but Koenigsegg’s new direction means we are becoming more diverse.
“Troels has known Christian von Koenigsegg for many years and there has never been any bad blood.”
How would you describe the Zenvo look?
“Our designer, Christian Brandt, was inspired by nature, creating something organic yet predatory. The car has a huge amount of road presence.
“Aerodynamics were obviously important, too. Our patented tilting rear wing is something you won’t see anywhere else.”
Presumably there’s plenty of scope for personalisation?
“We of course have an option list, but truthfully every car is bespoke. So the conversation goes deeper than just paint colours. The work Zenvo craftsmen do with carbon fibre is just amazing – cutting, tinting and layering it to create a truly custom weave.
“Our fragmented carbon wheels are another good example. Each takes a week to hand-build and weighs 15kg less than a typical alloy rim.”
Why build your own engine rather than buying one in?
“The original ST1 used a highly tuned Chevrolet LS7 engine. Now we make our own 5.8-litre V8. It’s part of the cars’ character – the twin superchargers and flat-plane crank offer mind-blowing power and response. I absolutely love the raw engine sound, too.
“Power outputs vary slightly, but the 1,194hp TSR-S launches to 62mph in 2.8 seconds and 124mph in 6.8 seconds. Not slow.”
The Zenvo gearbox is pretty bespoke, too…
“That’s another in-house design: a sequential gearbox with helical-cut dog gears. Without getting too technical, the dog gears offer the instantaneous cog-swaps of a racer, while their helical shape provides the civility you expect in a road car.
“The ’box has a beautiful, mechanical feel, yet is brutally quick when needed. We even developed our own electronics to smooth the shifts.”
Tell us about that wild ‘centripedal’ rear wing
“That’s been a real talking-point. The software looks at factors such as speed and steering angle, then adjusts the wing angle while cornering to push the unloaded rear tyre towards the tarmac. It also flips the wing up to function as an airbrake.
“Essentially, it creates more downforce, more of the time – and we’ve proven that in testing.”
What’s next for Zenvo – will the cars go electric?
“We have a hybrid gearbox and power module coming soon for the TSR-S, plus a new model in development. As for electric power… it’s all up for debate. We’re not trying to jump on trends, but Zenvo has always embraced new technology.
“People are pre-programmed to doubt small car companies, but we have plenty more surprises in store.”
Tim Pitt writes for Motoring Research