We can argue the British invented the sports car, and the latest Wells Vertige is bringing back the glory days of English motoring. British entrepreneur Robin Wells started working on a Vertige prototype in 2014. With the vision of creating a car that “takes inspiration from the coach-built motor cars of the past” that “delivered all-round enjoyment all year,” the Wells Vertige is born.
In true British fashion, the Wells Vertige has the elements of an exotic sports car. It’s no bigger than a compact car, and it tips the scales at only 750kg (1,653 pounds). Wells claims its modular and lightweight architecture delivers class-leading torsional stiffness of 47,000 Nm. That’s a huge number, but it only means this car handles like stink.
And it probably goes like stink, too. It has a mid-mounted, Ford-sourced, naturally-aspirated, and all-aluminum 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine pumping out 208 horsepower at 7,300 rpm. The engine has individual Jenvey throttle bodies, twin air filters, and bespoke ECU tuning to deliver a linear torque curve. Power goes to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.
The Wells Vertige is an analog car in a digital world. It has rack and pinion steering with no power assist like in the olden days. You may need some elbow grease to turn the damn thing, but no power steering means the tiller is brimming with feel, even when just puttering around town. It also has a class-leading turning circle of 10m for easier maneuverability around town.
Stopping power is courtesy of custom four-piston Vertige brakes with solid billet aluminum calipers and ventilated discs on all fours. Underneath, the Wells Vertige has independent double-wishbone suspension with manually adjustable toe and camber settings for the front and rear. It even comes with ultra-lightweight 17-inch wheels (weighing only 8.9kg or 19.6 pounds each) and sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4 rubber.
With a powerful engine and lightweight construction, it goes from zero to 60 mph in under five seconds. Meanwhile, the top speed is at 140 mph. The design harks back to vintage British coupes and roadsters like the Lotus Elan. However, Wells Vertige has exotic dihedral doors like in a supercar.
Inside, the cabin is brimming with premium materials like Scottish Bridge of Weir leather sports seats, an Alcantara-wrapped dashboard, and a wooden gear knob carved from a single block of African rosewood. It also has modern equipment like a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and USB charging points.
What’s more, it has a 50-liter fuel tank, a full-size spare tire, and 206-liters of boot space, unlike other compact sports cars. Every Wells Vertige will be handcrafted at the company HQ in Warwickshire, with the first deliveries arriving next year. The base prices start at £45,000 ($62,000).