Supercar start-ups are the in thing at the moment. LS-powered newbies are popping up here, there and everywhere, but it's not a new phenomenon. Back in 1984, Venturi Automobiles was founded in France, with the aim of taking on the likes of Ferrari in the GT sports car market. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out. 16 years later, after a multitude of different owners, the company filed for bankruptcy, eventually refocusing on the oddly-named 'Fetish' electric car. But what it should be remembered for is the Atlantique - an under-rated supercar slayer that even Jeremy Clarkson adored. The original Atlantique 260 had a 2.8-litre turbo'd V6 engine making 256bhp. It could hit 167mph and dispatched the 0-60mph run in 5.2sec. After Venturi was bought out in 1994, it produced an updated Atlantique, dubbed the 300, with a Peugeout/Citroen 3.0-litre V6. In naturally aspirated form it made 207bhp, while the turbocharged version churned out 277bhp. A couple of years later Venturi had another new owner and another new Atlantique in the works: the Biturbo. It arrived in 1998 and brought the power up to 307bhp, and was able to smash 0-60mph in 4.9sec on its way to an impressive 171mph. Its credibility was assured, with critics dubbing it a more relaxing car to drive than the Lotus Esprit. The twin-turbo setup allowed the car to be more refined, as the previous car's big fat single turbo would chuck all its power at you from 4000rpm. With both turbos spooling it allowed more torque to be available across more of the rev range. Despite critical acclaim, less than 700 Atlantiques were ever sold. It seems a shame, since these French engineers clearly knew their stuff.
Sign in to your Car Throttle accountContinue with Facebook