The Ares Design S1 is an upcoming supercar built by Ares Design, the company led by former Lotus CEO Dany Bahar. The exotic-looking S1 is based on the C8-generation Chevrolet Corvette, borrowing the chassis, engine, gearbox, and electronic underpinnings from the American mid-engined sports car. Powered by a reworked, naturally aspirated V-8, the S1 packs 705 horsepower, some 200 horses more than the Corvette C8. Is the S1 just a beefed-up Corvette or a brand-new vehicle with Chevy underpinnings? Let's find out in the review below.
2021 Ares Design S1
- Make: Pagani
- Model: 2021 Ares Design S1
- Engine/Motor: V8
- Horsepower: 705
- Torque: 715
- [do not use] Vehicle Model: s1
The Italian firm crafted a brand-new body for the Corvette's underpinnings and needless to say, it looks a lot better than its American counterpart. A full-fledged supercar on looks alone, the S1 sports the traditional hypercar layout with a short nose, muscular front fenders, a canopy-style roof, and beefed-up rear haunches. The headlamps are a nice and unique touch, with the upper round lights and the lower LED stripe connected by a sculpted element into a C-shaped unit.
The extreme cab-forward stance is backed by a really long rear section that reminds me of Longtail McLaren models. The rear fascia looks rather simple, with a thin and long lightbar "floating" in the central grille. There's a two-piece diffuser at the bottom, but the exhaust pipes are missing from this layout, as they poke out through the smooth and sloping engine hood.
Every panel of the S1's dramatic and low-profile silhouette is hand-crafted from carbon-fiber. Ares says the design provides maximum downforce and minimum aerodynamic resistance, both feats enhanced by a dynamic rear spoiler. The louvered upper fenders, the big roof scoop, and the heavily sculpted side skirts round off the S1's race-inspired look.
The layout is simple and dramatic at the same time, with a symmetrical dashboard that looks almost identical on each side of the slanted center stack. Unlike most modern vehicles, the S1 doesn't feature an infotainment display in the center, but there's a screen mounted on the passenger-side dashboard. The center stack houses touch-sensitive buttons and the gear selector, while the instrument cluster is all digital and features a round rev counter in the center.
The rendering shows an interior packed with premium features. There's quilted leather on the door panels and the bucket seats, leather inserts on the dashboard and steering wheel, contrast stitching, and loads of exposed carbon-fiber. Ares promises to use the "finest Alcantara and Nappa leather" to finish the S1's cockpit.
Drivetrain and Performance
While the exterior and interior are unique, the engine is a 6.2-liter V-8 borrowed from the C8 Corvette. Dany Bahar explains the choice of not having developed an in-house powerplant.
“We are not a car company that needs to develop technology if there’s already much better items out there to buy off the shelf. The sound it makes takes inspiration from old F1 V10s, very high tonality," Bahar told Top Gear.
But the V-8 is not the standard unit found in the Corvette. The mill was modified and now cranks out 705 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque, a big 215-horsepower and 250-pound-foot increase over the Chevy. The S1 retains the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission too, but the gearbox has also been updated to handle the extra oomph.
Question on how Ares squeezed more than 700 horsepower from a naturally aspirated V-8, Bahar said it "remains a secret between our supplier in the USA and us. It’s all mechanical modifications though, you can’t do this through software." Top Gear, however, went on to speculate that the S1 could be powered by the new flat-plane crank V-8 from the upcoming Corvette Z06.
The Ares S1 boasts an anticipated 0 to 62 mph sprint of 2.7 seconds, which will make it as quick as most supercars out there.
Further details is not available yet, but Ares points out that the S1 rides on a double wishbone suspension, forged aluminum axles, and adaptive Magnetic Ride Control. All these features come with the Corvette C8 platform.
Ares Design S1 specifications
0 to 60 mph
How much will the Ares S1 cost?
The Ares S1 will fetch $500,000 before options. That's really steep given that the C8 Corvette starts from $60,000, but it's a common sticker for bespoke vehicles nowadays. Bahar says the aim was to deliver a "hypercar design with supercar performance at a sports car price," but the latter is definitely higher than all entry-level supercars from carmakers like Ferrari, McLaren, and Lamborghini.
However, the S1 is more affordable than Ares' other creations, like the Panther ProgettoUno. Ares plans to build 24 units, but a speedster version, also limited to 24 examples, is in the works too.
The Ares S1 looks incredibly hot and its naturally aspirated V-8 delivers a solid amount of oomph. It's a unique take on the Corvette C8 and a design that puts many mainstream supercars to shame, but it remains to be seen if Ares will build more than just a couple of cars and if the S1 lives up to its potential.