Paragon Artega GT: Artega GT targets Porsche Cayman

Ex-Aston designer is one of the big names behind exciting new £50K mid-engined coupe

Throw a rock in the air at Geneva and it's almost certain to come down on yet another new two-seater sports concept. Whilst the vast majority don’t make it off the drawing board, much less into a showroom, the Paragon Artega GT might just buck the trend. It certainly looks like the real thing, hardly surprising considering the line-up of talent behind it.

Styling, for example, is by Henrik Fisker, the designer largely responsible for Aston Martin’s current beauties, whilst engineering development has been assisted by former Porsche technical designer Hardy Essig. The company that will build the car is an offshoot of motor electronics giant Paragon AG, which can itself boast the involvement of a constellation of well-connected big-hitters – its CEO is Klaus Dieter Frers, former head of Rolls-Royce, and one of its main advisors has been Karl-Heinz Kalbfell, BMW marketing veteran and former boss of Maserati.

The car itself is Mazda MX-5-sized, and weighs in at 1100kg thanks to its aluminium spaceframe and carbon composite bodyshell. It packs a mid-mounted 3.6-litre V6 straight from Volkswagen – the same FSI power- plant that’s going into the Passat R36 – hooked up to VW's six-speed DSG sequential gearbox. The development team have resisted any further engine tweaking but a stock output of 296bhp is enough to ensure a sub-five second 0-60mph time and a top speed of around 170mph.

The order book opens in November, first deliveries are scheduled for summer 2008 and Paragon plans to make up to 500 GTs a year. The bad news is that, whilst there are plans to eventually sell the car worldwide, sales will initially be limited to Germany. Other markets, including the UK, will have to wait.

The price is still not confirmed, but looks likely to be around £50,000, making this very much a rival for the Porsche Cayman S. Normally, you wouldn’t give an unknown company much of a chance against Stuttgart’s finest, but with Paragon's connections and gold-plated engineering credentials, you never know.

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