The Rezvani Beast came to be in 2014, less than a year after Rezvani Motors was established in 2014. Developed as a street-legal race car, the Beast is based on the British-made Ariel Atom, using not only its lightweight chassis, but Honda Racing engine too. Much like any carmaker focused on track-ready, limited-production cars, Rezvani focuses on creating various versions of its original sports car rather than developing new products. The initial Beast was followed by a Speedster version in 2016, while the 2017 model year brought the Beast X, Rezvani’s quickest and most powerful vehicle to date. At the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, Rezvani unveiled yet another variant of the Beast, called the Alpha.
Although much of the styling is identical to any other Beast we’ve seen so far, there are two very important features that set the Alpha apart. First, it has a targa-style roof. Granted, it’s removable and turns the car into a proper roadster, but when in place, it provides the comfort of a regular coupe, as well as better aerodynamics. Second, the Alpha uses a Lotus-derived chassis instead of the Ariel Atom underpinnings found in other Beast models. Third, the engine is turbocharged rather than supercharged. Finally, it comes with a rather unconventional door system, which Rezvani dubbed “SideWinder.”
Despite the updates, it’s not significantly more expensive than the standard Beast ,which is a real treat given that the limited-edition Beast X had a nearly 60-percent premium. But let’s find out more about that as well as what makes the Alpha special in the review below.
Because it’s based on the Beast’s original design, the Alpha remains recognizable as aRezvani sports car, but the design includes many features that make it stand out in the lineup. Naturally, the most noticeable addition is the targa-style roof, which comes with a thicker windshield frame, a taller B-pillar, and a redesigned rear section. The latter ditches the dual flying buttress layout of the roadster, but the black panels separating the body painted side and center sections give it an aerodynamic, aggressive appearance worthy of the Beast name. Other than the roof and the revised mirrors, the side panels carry over unchanged, but there’s more new features to talk about in the front and rear.
The design includes many features that make it stand out in the lineup .
Up front, the massive vents in the bumper are a tad shorter, while the twin splitter appears to stand a little higher from the ground. The hood is the most significant departure from the standard Beast, with the two vents mounted toward the fenders being replaced by a single, centered intake. Also, changed how the panel opens. While the roadster had a movable center section, the Alpha hood incorporates the entire front fascia. Changes are less obvious around back, where the Alpha employs the same big, split diffuser, center-mounted exhaust outlet, and thin taillights with L-shaped LED strips. However, the roof gives the car a more balanced appearance from the rear.
Finally, things change radically when the doors are open. While all the other Beast models have conventional doors, the Alpha’s “SideWinder” system makes them pop out and slide forward. Although it reminds me of the Koenigsegg design, the Alpha’s doors are in fact unique. On the Agera, the doors also pop out, but instead of simply sliding forward, they also rotate upward until they achieve a 90-degree spin. Rezvani says that this feature provides more room when entering and exiting, while also turning some heads in the process. No argument there, but customers will want to stay away from other cars when parking.
Much like the standard Beast, the Alpha’s body is built mostly of lightweight, composite materials, with elements such as the front bumper and rear diffuser made from clear gloss carbon-fiber. The company’s high-intensity LED headlamps come standard.
The closest thing that offers the comfort of a coupe is the Donkervoort D8 GTO.
When Rezvani launched the Beast, it entered a superlight sports car niche that includes vehicles such as the Caterham Seven, Ariel Atom, and KTM X-Bow just to name a few. Besides being light and fast, all these vehicles have in common the fact that they sport roadster body configurations. In Alpha guise, the Beast is pretty much alone on the market, as no other mainstream company offers sports car with a coupe or targa roof. The closest thing that offers the comfort of a coupe is the Donkervoort D8 GTO, which even though comes with a soft-top, it it has detachable side panels and windows. Much like the Beast, the D8 GTO is based on an existing production. In this case, it’s the iconic Caterham Seven. Donkervoort began making Seven-based sports cars in 1978 and although its cars still resemble the styling of the British icon, they’re much more aggressive. Unlike the Beast, the D8 GTO has a narrow body and separate wheel arches formed on the shape of the wheels. Its cabin also sits far behind the front axle, giving it a classic roadster look instead of the modern sports car appearance. But even though the two cars are very different as far as body shapes go, they’re both equally aggressive and quite unique compared to anything else on the road. The D8 GTO also comes with unconventional, scissor-like doors, and and exposed exhaust system.
Much like the standard Beast, the Alpha’s interior is pretty basic. The dashboard is clean and simple, while the instrument cluster and center stack were merged into one large, rectangular unit that includes two displays and a few buttons and knobs. The instrument cluster is an LCD screen inspired from the world of motorsport, while infotainment features include a stereo, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.
The programmable dash displays all the critical information for the driver; shift lights and shift points tell the driver when to shift for maximum engine horsepower and torque bans. There’s also a mode selector that changes the amount of stability control the car uses, including an economy mode for efficient driving. The sports seats are wrapped in leather and Alcantara and have strong lateral padding for optimum support during spirited driving. Full leather upholstery is available as an option. Colors include black (like in our photos), an orange-like “Camel”, and and red.
The standard shifter knob can be replaced with an individually machined knob with “Rezvani” emblem. Customers can also add hand stitching, a carbon-fiber steering wheel, and leather floor mats with red “Rezvani” logo, white lettering, and white diamond stitching. Rezvani also offers a premium Alpine sound system.
COMPETING TECH AND FEATURES
The D8 GTO’s interior is also inspired from motorsport and devoid of most convenience features you’d find in a premium sedan. The layout remains true to classic race cars, with most of the gauges, buttons and switches placed on the center section of the dashboard. A small digital display behind the steering wheel replaces the standard instrument cluster. The center console is simple and houses the gear shifter and parking brake lever only, being a far departure from what you see in modern sports cars. What makes thea hot racer is the full carbon-fiber dashboard and door panels, the special race-module switch, and traction control button. But even though the Dutch carmaker kept the D8 GTO as close to a full-fledged race car as possible, it did not ignore modern requirements such as an Alcantara steering wheel and leather seats. The upholstery is customizable, with Donkervoort offering a choice of hundreds of colors, different types of leather, and a wide range of stitching patterns. Needless to say, the D8 GTO has the most race-focused interior by far.
Under the hood of the Beast Alpha lurks the same 2.4-liter Honda Racing engine offered in the Ariel Atom, but the unit was further developed by the Rezvani team. Unlike the standard model, which features a supercharged powerplant, the Alpha comes with a turbocharged mill, just like the Beast X. But, unlike the range-topping model, which cranks out a whopping 700 horsepower, the Alpha’s output is identical to the standard Beast at 500 horsepower.
Unlike the standard model, which features a supercharged powerplant, the Alpha comes with a turbocharged mill.
The standard transmission is a close-ratio six-speed manual, but Rezvani also offers a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. In its quickest configuration, the Beast Alpha needs 3.2 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start. That’s a half-second slower than the roadster and 0.7 clicks slower than the Beast X, but this isn’t surprising given that the coupe is 300 pounds heavier. That’s not to say it’s heavy though, as the Alpha tips the scales at only 1,950 pounds.
But, while it’s slower than the roadster, it’s quicker than the Beast Speedster, which comes with only 300 horsepower on tap. The targa roof also gives the Alpha better aerodynamics, allowing a top speed of 175 mph, 10 mph more than the standard, 500-horsepower roadster.
Optionally, the standard suspension can be replaced with an adjustable setup, while the standard brakes can be traded for either an AP Racing or carbon-ceramic configuration.
Because the D8 GTO is some 400 pounds lighter, charging from 0 to 60 mph takes 2.7 seconds in the Performance version.
Just like Rezvani, Donkervoort doesn’t make its own engines and had to borrow powerplants from other companies. The maker’s current choice is the turbocharged, 2.5-liter five-cylinder found in many high-performance Audi cars. Adopted in 2013, the five-pot is now offered in two flavors, with either 335 or 375 horsepower. Granted, that’s significantly less than what you get with the Beast Alpha, but because the D8 GTO is some 400 pounds lighter, charging from 0 to 60 mph takes 3.2 seconds in the 335-horsepower Touring model and an impressive 2.7 seconds in the 375-horsepower Performance version. Top speed is rated at 158 and 168 mph, respectively, making the D8 GTO a tad slower. Unlike Rezvani, Donkervoort doesn’t offer an automatic transmission, with the five-speed manual being the only choice. The base model comes with a standard limited-slip differential, while the Performance variant gets a Torsen unit. The suspension comprises of independent, double wishbones, coil springs, and three-way adjustable shock absorbers that can be updated with adjustable anti-roll bar at the front, wide base trailing arms to the rear, and three-way adjustable Anti Roll Control feature. Stopping power comes ventilated discs at all corners, six-piston front calipers, and separate simplex rear piston system. The Performance model gets lightweight discs and a separate handbrake caliper.
|Donkervoort D8 GTO Performance||Donkervoort D8 GTO Touring||Rezvani Beast Alpha|
|Engine||2.5-liter, five-cylinder||2.5-liter, five-cylinder||2.4-liter Honda Racing|
|Horsepower||375 HP @ 5,500 RPM||335 HP @ 5,400 RPM||500 HP|
|Torque||350 LB-FT @ 1,750 RPM||331 LB-FT @ 2,000 RPM||TBA|
|0 to 60 mph||2.7 seconds||3.2 seconds||3.2 seconds|
|Top Speed||168 mph||158 mph||175 mph|
|Weight||1,532 lbs||1,609 lbs||1,950 lbs|
Pricing for the Beast Alpha starts from $200,000, which represents a $5,000 premium over the standard Beast model. On the other hand, it’s a whopping $125,000 less expensive than the Beast X, which was built in just five examples. The Alpha can get a lot more expensive with added options, especially if you add the $10,000 sequential transmission, $8,000 carbon-ceramic brakes, and $2,500 adjustable suspension. The full leather interior will set you back another $4,500, as will the sport seats. Features like hand-stitched upholstery, carbon-fiber steering wheel, and the sound system cost $2,500, $1,500, and $2,500, respectively. All told, a fully loaded Beast Alpha will cost around $238,000.
The Donkervoort D8 GTO retails from €139,360, including a 21-percent VAT in Europe, which converts to around $147,650 as of November 2016. Depending on the options you select, the sports car can get a lot more expensive and fetch in excess of €160,000 (about $169,600). Donkervoort also offers a number of special edition models. The D8 GTO-RS starts from €151,173 (around $160,200), while the Bilster Berg Edition retails from €194,000 (about $205,600). Two downsides of the D8 GTO is that it has to be imported in the U.S. and that the company’s production output is very limited compared to Caterham or other more mainstream sports car brands.
As I mentioned earlier in this review, the Donkervoort D8 GTO is the only sports car that comes close to the Beast Alpha when it comes to passenger comfort under a fixed roof. But if you can handle an open-top sports car or you are willing to settle for a soft-top, there are more options to consider.
ARIEL ATOM 3S
First up, there’s the Ariel Atom, which lends its chassis and engine to the Rezvani Beast. When it comes to lightweight sports cars, theAtom 3S, a more powerful version of the standard model is one of the best you can buy. Although it lacks a proper body shell, the Atom S3 is impressive when it comes to power and speed. Motivation comes from aHonda-rsourced, turbocharged, 2.4-liter engine that pumps 365 horsepower through either a standard close-ratio manual or a race-spec sequential gearbox by Sadev. Hitting 60 mph from a standing start takes only 2.8 seconds, which makes significantly quicker than the Beast Alpha. Of course, you could go with the slightly slower base model, but I’m thinking that the extra speed will keep you happy with no roof over your head. Unlike the GTO, the Atom 3S is available in the U.S., where it can be had for less than $100,000 before options. Quite the bargain compared to the Beast Alpha!
CATERHAM SEVEN 620R
If you prefer Colin Chapman’s classic design over Donkervoort’s more modern and highly aggressive take, the Seven is the obvious choice. The 620R is currently the most powerful, road-legal Seven you can buy and uses a 2.0-liter, Ford Duratec engine rated at 311 horsepower. It might no sound like a lot compared to the Beast Alpha, but its lighter curb weight (1,201 pounds) enables it to be very quick in a straight line, being able to hit 62 mph from a standing start in 2.8 seconds. For 2016, Caterham also launched the 620S, a slightly more comfortable version that features a full windscreen, side windows, larger wheels, and leather seats as standard. Also not available in the U.S., the 620R retails from £49,995 in the U.K., which converts to around $62,100. The road-oriented 620S starts from £44,995 (about $55,900).
Needless to say, Rezvani had a pretty solid lineup even without the Alpha model. Having already launched the Speedster and the limited-edition X alongside the original Beast, Rezvani made a big step toward becoming a full-fledged automaker. Sure, it’s still on the low-production boutique side of things, but now that it also offers a coupe, we’re looking at a brand that has already launched four different products in less that four years. That’s quite the achievement and speaks volumes of Rezvani’s big plans for the future. The fact that the Beast is built in the U.S., where the likes of Donkervoort and Caterham do not have direct access, makes the Beast that much more important on the superlight sports car market!
- Redesigned roof with motorsport-inspired looks
- Powerful turbo engine
- Provides the fixed roof comfort you can’t find somewhere else in this niche
- Slower than the standard Beast and most of its competitors
- Pretty expensive too
In less than a week, the Rezvani Beast Alpha will make its world debut in Los Angeles, California. Along with all-new features that include that addition of trademark Sidewinder doors, air-conditioning, airbags, and a removable targa-style top, the Beast Alpha will add supercar levels of performance to the mix.
At its core, a 500-horsepower engine will propel the 1,950-pound Beast Alpha to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds. All that power will be managed via a six-speed close-ratio manual gearbox, with an automatic transmission with paddle shifters available as an option to buyers.
The new Beast Alpha will debut at a private media event in Los Angeles, California, on November 16th, 2016. Media members interested in attending please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.