Zenvo TSR–S First Drive: The 1,193hp hypercar from Denmark

It shouldn’t be allowed on the roads. Apart from the unusual Danish trade plate at its rear, the Zenvo TSR–S, with its razor-sharp angles, enormous rear wing, and dual Inconel exhausts, looks aggressive.

The Zenvo is priced at $2m and sends almost 1,200 horsepower to its rear wheels. It quickly becomes apparent that the Zenvo with its 1,495kg weight will be a beast. Zenvo’s PR representative notes that the TSR-S, a loudly-idling vehicle, looks almost like it is going to eat my Mazda Miata. She isn’t wrong.

Over the large carbon sill, step inside and into the bucket seat. Then grab the small, alcantara-clad steering knob. Take in the view over the huge wheel arches, assume you’ll quickly get used to the car’s width and switch your brain to its left-hand-drive-but-driving-on-the-left mode. Take a deep breath, place your foot on the brake and press the starter button.

The Zeno crashes into existence, but not with the soaring melody of an Italian supercar but with a ferocious brashness that is pure racing. Zenvo’s 5.8-liter twin-supercharged V8 is the source of the audible commotion. It is also attached to a seven speed, single-clutch gearbox that was also built in-house.

I drive the TSR-S under a grey sky that is brooding with the possibility of precipitatious intent. I can keep my hands in place while driving through a few roundabouts to find a two-lane road.

I accelerate slowly through second gear and pull the right-hand carbon paddle for third. The Zenvo seems to glide between gears briefly before engaging the next one with a clunk. These paddles don’t operate the foolproof dual-clutch ZF’box that we are all used to. Instead, they operate a sequential gearbox with helical cut dog gears normally only found in race cars. My clumsy start is solved by driving faster.

You can try again. You can negotiate another roundabout by using a quick left/right-left turn of the wheel. This time, I push the accelerator harder and pull the paddle for the third. The gear then slams home with a strong shove that feels like a rugby forward.

Once I am in third gear, and sure enough to have traction again, I push my foot flat. The twin superchargers then do their job and the Zenvo rockets forwards. The right-hand paddle pulls forth gear with a shove, followed by a loud explosion from the exhaust. As I approach a straight right-hand corner, my brakes are applied and I shift to third. The Zenvo’s nose is in the Zenvo’s direction after a quarter turn of the quick-ratioed steering. I am now aware that at corner speeds where many cars would be asking me serious questions about my sanity and speed, the TSR–S is just getting warmed up.

Surface is not scratched. I approach more traffic and shift up a few gears to quieten it.

The Zenvo is a fast, quiet, and powerful car that gives the driver the confidence to enjoy the forward thrust and the fun of the gearshifts. If you are on a quieter route than I or prefer a track, the TSR-S can reach speeds of 62mph (100km/h), and 124mph (200km/h), from a standstill in 6.8 seconds. This is the same speed as the McLaren Senna. Electronically, the top speed is limited to 202mph.

Carbon ceramic discs with six piston calipers bring the car to a halt. They are fitted behind forged aluminum wheels with carbon rims available as an option.

Its rear wing is the Zenvo’s second party-piece. It is large in size and difficultly legal. However, it also moves when you turn around. It moves 20 degrees left and right, not just a few degrees forward and back. Zenvo calls this a “Centripetal Wing” and it tilts in an opposite direction to the steering wheel. It banks to the right in a right-hander to increase downforce. It can tilt forwards when braking is required, and it can even waggle while parked if you want to show off.

This car is unforgiving, despite the second S in the TSR-S’s title meaning’street’. It can tire easily on the British roads, especially at low speeds. Once it gets up to speed, the Zenvo becomes more compliant. It is still remarkably solid but not unpleasantly so. I would expect long motorway cruises to be possible.

The interior is adorned with exposed carbon fiber and a flawless, glossy weave throughout the dashboard, transmission tunnel, and other areas. This might seem excessive in some supercars, but I am beginning to doubt that Zenvo would have such a word. The carbon is also all made in-house, just like the engine, gearbox, and transmission.

A full-size iPad is also included in the dashboard. Zenvo claims that this dashboard will have a custom-built app to log track days and allow customers to compare their stats with each other. However, the iPad was not in use for my drive. It’s a great job, considering how narrowing one’s focus can be at 1,177bhp.

Behind the steering wheel is a digital display that displays all the information. It is crystal clear with high contrast, and shows the important details without being distracting. The central mirror, which is actually a display screen for the rear-mounted camera, can be found up top. These have been a great addition to my Land Rovers. The Zenvo screen’s view and position are excellent, but the feed could use a faster frame rate. It’s not something I am trying to grab at, but it caught my attention.

You might be asking yourself who Zenvo TSR–S is. This would be a classic Italian company that has a history of collecting every model, no matter what the price. Zenvo, a company that was founded in this century and aims to make five vehicles per year, is a different story.

There are many options for $2m hypercars, including McLaren, Bugatti, McLaren and Pagani. Zenvo wants to be different, just like Pagani or Koenigsegg before it.

The TSR-S is a striking car with a powerful V8 engine and a wing. However, it feels too unfinished for public roads. The TSR-S could be the alternative hypercar if its suspension and gearbox are lowered a little.

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