In its first genuine relaunch since its heady, infamous days in the early 1980s, the DeLorean is back from the future and the past. After spending some time with an Alpha5 prototype, I’m convinced that the new model has what it takes to compete with Tesla and other high-end electric GTs. This is what caught my attention and took me by surprise.
Entirely delectable crust
The Alpha5 is aesthetically pleasing in its own right, just as the original DMC-12 was. The only people who would know that this car is related to the first DeLorean are other car enthusiasts. The gullwing doors are still present, though they are now enormous compared to the car’s size (what car isn’t when compared to those from 40+ years ago?).
Key brand statements for any automobile, the Alpha5’s face and rump bear no resemblance to those of the DMC-12, nor does the side profile, which is curvaceous and organic in contrast to the angular origami of the DMC-12. To my eyes, the ends of the car were given a lot of attention to detail by Italdesign without the chaos of a C8 Corvette. Italdesign, under the direction of its legendary founder Giorgetto Giugiaro, also created the first DeLorean.
DeLorean plans to release a shooting brake version of the Alpha5 in the near future; they call it a “Plasma Tail.” These vehicles are popular in the United Kingdom and Europe. When I peered under the curtain for an instant, I realized it belonged in the starting lineup’s top spot, not second.
The things that inspire you
There is less to get excited about in the powertrain, in part because information is still limited and in part because, in my opinion, electric car powertrains are more similar than combustion car powertrains have ever been because electric power is uniformly excellent. The Alpha5 will have a range of 300 miles, a 0-60 time of 3 seconds, and a dual-motor all-wheel drive setup. Adding new range options is not in the works at this time.
Please take a seat and give me a hug.
Once the Alpha5’s doors open, the action really begins. There are two LCD screens in the cabin, the larger of which can show either a cutting-edge digital instrument panel or an exact analog replica of the DMC-12’s instruments. Clever.
And then there’s this thing people call “DeLorean Sense.” With the help of a connected band, you can have your loved one’s heartbeat displayed on the screen, use their body temperature as your seat heater setting, or receive a virtual hug via the power seat bolsters. Incredulous at what I was hearing, I gave DeLorean CMO Troy Beetz a long look and I don’t think he was joking. A few of these gimmicks are already implemented in Apple’s watch, but the company hasn’t mastered the hug trick just yet.
The Alpha5 can import your phone’s contacts like every other car, but it does more than just use them for phone calls and texts: People on your contact list who live or work in close proximity to you will be marked on a real-time map you can view while driving, helping you reconnect with old friends. It’s a neat combination of geographic information, social networking, and checking in, similar to what you’ll find on Google Maps for Android.
Two thin LEDs sit atop the dashboard and light up in unison when you’re approaching a destination you’ve designated as “home,” “vacation,” or “work” (please don’t). DeLorean calls it a True North indicator, and it’s probably the most far-fetched of a bunch of futuristic technological dreams packed into this car.
There is currently no set price for the Alpha5, which will go on extremely limited sale in 2024. However, given that the Alpha5 is clearly aimed at the Lucid Air, Mercedes EQS sedan, and Tesla Model S Plaid, a starting MSRP of around $125,000 is not out of the question. If the car’s price of over $55,000 doesn’t rule it out, DeLorean plans to choose a manufacturing partner in the United States, which would meet at least one of the complex new rules for federal EV tax credits.
Even though the halcyon days of the 1980s are long behind us, I can’t help but harbor some nostalgic feelings toward the Delorean brand. Although it was the result of Italian design and British manufacturing, the first car had an inherently American feel to it, capturing our imagination rather than making us resent its well-heeled buyers.
The Alpha5 is not led by a charismatic figure like John Delorean because it was made by a different company in a different era (no offense to the current executives, who have their own scandals that have nothing to do with time travel). Most of us won’t see another era of automotive innovation as fruitful as the one that produced this vehicle.
The original version of this appeared on Roadshow.
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