After having seen this emerald wonder up-close and in-person ourselves, we can confirm no photograph does justice to the Pininfarina Battista — a jaw-dropping new ultra-EV from a storied Italian carmaker.
This particular Battista, one of 150, carries a price tag of 2.9 million euros ($4.3 million CAD, roughly) and is the first example built for a Canadian customer. Grand Touring Automobiles, the exclusive retailer of Automobili Pininfarina in Canada, threw a small invite-only event to celebrate the car’s arrival.
Perched high above the city, on the top-floor of Grand Touring’s glass-box Toronto showroom, the dazzling Battista looked more like an art piece than something meant to mix with traffic on the streets below.
Walking up to the car you’ll notice it emits a strange, deep, other-worldly hum. A dial on the driver’s door can alter the tone according to the five (very Italian) drive modes: Calma, Pura, Energica, Furiosa and Carattere. Crank it up to Furiosa and you’ll understand the name is very apt. This is one loud electric car.
For those unfamiliar with the Battista, the headline performance figures are staggering: four independent electric motors; 120 kWh battery; nearly 1,900 horsepower; 1,697 lb-ft of torque; 0-100 km/h in a world-record breaking 1.86 seconds; 0-200 in an uncomfortably-rapid 4.75 seconds; and a quarter-mile in a scarcely believable 8.55 seconds.
Ex-F1 driver Nick Heidfeld helped refine the handling, while the car itself was co-developed by Rimac. It shares much with the Rimac Nevera — except, of course, that the Battista was designed by Pininfarina, the most famous of all the great Italian coachbuilders.
Building The First Canadian Battista
The Canadian owner of this Battista wished to remain anonymous, but the CEO of Grand Touring, Paul Cummings, explained that the owner first saw the Battista at its unveiling at the 2019 Geneva auto show.
“This customer has been working with us on this probably for about 20 months now,” Cummings said. “He is truly a motorhead, a petrol guy. … He wanted to be at the forefront, but he wasn’t sure if electrification was it. But, eventually, it was his own homework that brought him [to the Battista].”
The options and choices on the Battista are nearly infinite, explained Paolo Dellachà, CEO of Automobili Pininfarina, who had come from the company’s headquarters in Cambiano, Italy, to Toronto to present this car.
“We want to make our customers feel special,” said Dellachà, an engineer who arrived at Pininfarina after holding top jobs at Ferrari. “I think that there is no limit to imagination. It’s a limited production car, yes, but each single one of them will be bespoke. There are, of course, endless possibility just in terms of colours and materials, but still: we are Pininfarina. Pininfarina has been making one-offs [for decades] so we can go up to the level of a one-off if a client wants it,” he explained.
This first Battista in Canada is finished in finished in Verde Piemonte, with the optional Furiosa Pack in exposed carbon tinted in black with a fine pinstripe in Verde Piemonte. Look closely and you’ll see exterior elements in brushed anodised aluminium. The Prezioso wheels are finished in ceramic polished gloss, in contrast to the black brake calipers.
Swing open one of the gullwing doors and you’ll see a pair of GT seats, finished in luxury black leather with contrast stitching to match the Verde Piemonte exterior. The centre console and door inserts are finished in matching colours with Triangolo quilted stitching.
A Bright Future for Pininfarina
Of course, Dellachà wouldn’t say what will come next from Pininfarina. Production of the Battista only began last year, and it will take a long time to hand-make all 150 examples. But, you can be sure that, if all goes according to plan, this won’t be a one-car brand.
After being bought by India’s Mahinda group in 2015, the Italian company has the cash to finally make good on the dream of its founder.
“We named the car Battista for a reason,” Dellachà explains. “The founder of Pininfarina, Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina, was actually the one who dreamt of making a car with his name and the Pininfarina logo in the centre. But, he became, in a way, a victim of his own success, and he continued to design cars for all the others.”
Indeed, Pininfarina is still best known for the gorgeous bodies it designed and built for Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Rolls-Royce, Cadillac, Honda, Maserati and so many other brands.
“I will say, Pininfarina will be always about respecting the tradition and the heritage, which is a lot about envisioning the future and then making it real, anticipating what actually could be and therefore being an example for others to follow,” Dellachà said. “That’s what creates an icon.”