New Donkervoort F22 Is A 500PS Road‑Going Jet Fighter

This is the new Donkervoort F22, and for the Dutch company perhaps best known for being the European answer to the Caterham 7, with its own line-up of Lotus Seven-aping replicas, it’s certainly a striking showcase of independent design and engineering – even if its engine is taken from Audi. 

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To be fair, Donkervoort has been consistently peeling its designs away from the iconic lines and shape of the Seven for some time now, so the wild and unique appearance of the F22 isn’t too much of a surprise. It’s still characterised by the long, narrow chassis of a Seven-based sports car with an open-wheel front axle, but the design is larger than the F8 model it replaces, with a bigger interior and a three-piece twin Targa roof.

The F22 uses a tubular steel and carbon-fibre chassis which the company claims delivers a 100-per cent increase in torsional rigidity over the F8. In total, the steel and Ex-Core carbon-fibre constructed F22 tips the scales at only 750kg.

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The dramatic carbon-fibre bodywork draped on top features a large air intake at the front of the long bonnet, while angular and aggressive aerodynamic cuts run all the way down the vehicle, over the extended rear wheel arches, and around the back, where a huge rear-diffuser is found.

The new proportions of the car are felt most in the cabin though, where Donkervoort says it has a ‘significantly larger cabin’. As it’s longer and wider than the old F8 model, 80mm of additional shoulder room is found, while there’s 100mm more cabin length – ideal for taller drivers. A pair of custom-made Recaro seats equipped with six-point harnesses headline the interior space, while Donkervoort has also looked to make the cabin more habitable with a cleaner dashboard and an optional iPad Mini-based infotainment unit.

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But ahead of the new creature comforts, a familiar five-cylinder engine sits as far to the rear of the clamshell bonnet as possible. It’s a development of Audi’s turbocharged 2.5-litre TFSI unit, shaving off some all-important CO2 compared with its previous iteration while pusging 500PS (368kW).

Crucially, the low-rev torque of the Audi powertrain has also allowed Donkervoort to slim down the transmission to a narrow, short-throw, five-speed manual gearbox, saving more weight in the process. It sends power to the rear axle via a Torsen limited-slip differential, while torque is kept in check at the wheels by a variable traction-control system.

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Further chassis developments include AP Racing brakes, and a new damper system with adjustable hydraulic ride height, boasting 35mm of travel. Performance figures for the F22 haven’t been thoroughly outlined, with a top speed of 180mph ‘expected’, but we’d estimate that 0-62mph is unlikely to take more than three seconds.

Donkervoort had initially earmarked a production run of 50 units for the F22, but has now upped this to 75 cars, each wearing a price tag of €245,000 (roughly £211,000) before any customisation or local taxes.

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