It looks weapons-grade tough – as though it could drive straight through a brick wall. But the skin of the Icona Vulcano Titanium is so soft that you could dent it simply by pushing it hard with your finger.
The arresting-looking coupé is the creation of Italian coachbuilding firm Cecomp. And after starring at the Dubai International Motor Show last week, it has remained in the UAE, for now – its makers hope a buyer will emerge here for the one-off vehicle. The price, in case you're interested, is a piffling Dh9.2 million.
For this mansion-worthy outlay, you get a car that can sprint from 0-to-100kph in 2.8 seconds, and hit 350kph flat out. These are impressive numbers, but supercars such as the Lamborghini Aventador S, Ferrari 812 Superfast and Porsche 911 GT2 RS can match them. And you could have six or seven of any of these for the same money as the Icona.
But number-crunching isn't the point with the bespoke Latin beast. It is all about exclusivity. There is no other car out there with bodywork fabricated from titanium, and the Vulcano's future owner will have the satisfaction of knowing that no one else on the planet has a similar vehicle. The Bugatti Chiron (which costs similar money) might have superior stats and build quality, but there will be 500 of them by the time the production run is completed – and around 25 per cent of these are destined for the Middle East.
The Vulcano Titanium's outlandish profile and radical surfacing prompts other cars to screech to a halt during our exclusive photo shoot, with their cameraphone-toting occupants piling out to take selfies with the vehicle. Strictly speaking, the Icona couldn't be called beautiful – there are too many creases and scoops for the car to have a sense of visual purity. Its styling was inspired by the Lockheed SR-71 (a reconnaissance aircraft built in the 1960s for the American Air Force; it still holds the record for being the fastest jet), but to my eyes, it looks more Batmobile-esque.
The Icona’s brushed titanium skin has been beaten into shape by hand, and it shows. But that’s part of the charm – you know that you aren’t getting a mass-market product.
Building every component of the car from scratch would have made the car exponentially more expensive than it already is, so its creators sourced its chassis and 6.2-litre supercharged V8 from a previous-generation Corvette ZR1. That said, everything has been fettled and upgraded to the nth degree, hence the Icona's dazzling performance figures. There are still many elements that need to be resolved before the Vulcano Titanium is road-registrable and sold, and among these are the headlights.
The project manager behind the car, Fabrizio Merlo, says just engineering and certifying these to be road legal would cost up to Dh850,000. Clearly, the business of building hypercars is a prohibitively costly one, which is why the likes of Bugatti and Lamborghini are only able to design and engineer the cars they do because of the titanic clout of the Volkswagen Group, which owns both companies.
Unfortunately, our proposed test of the Vulcano Titanium was cut short because its lithium-ion battery was low on charge after its motor-show duties. As a result, we couldn't rouse its V8, which produces a remarkably civilised exhaust note, into life after moving it for the photos you see here. That will have to wait until another day. In the meantime, though, revel in a genuine one-off hypercar that is set to attract attention wherever it lays down rubber.