The R1 Grand Tourer (1990 - 2000)
Ursula AG released the revolutionary R1 grand tourer in the Geneva Auto Show in 1990, as their first GT car ever produced. The car started selling in Europe in 1990, before coming to North America, Australia and Japan in 1992.
The car is revolutionary at it’s time. It’s the world’s first production car that has a carbon fiber monocoque chassis, and it also has Ursula’s first V10, the VT 44-10 4.4 liter naturally-aspirated DOHC V10. Generating 425 hp, the engine is no slouch either, slaying supercars of it’s time.
Thanks to it’s carbon fiber chassis and fiberglass build, the car weighs significantly lighter than it’s rivals, even equipped with Ursula’s most luxurious interior and most advanced safety and of that time. Because of this, the Ursula R1 is faster, more agile and more luxurious than it’s competitors. Despite equipped with a hefty pricetag the car won numerous Car of The Year awards, and the R1 gained iconic status since then.
In 1993, an update, the V10 S is released. The engine now equips with a much hefty 460 hp, the suspension is improved, and it’s now equipped with more luxury, and a CD drive instead of a cassette that is offered on the original car.
The new updates gave this all-wheel drive GT a boost. Top speed is still limited to 300 km/h, but getting from 0 to 100 km/h is a brisk 3.9 seconds, a massive improvement compared to the original’s 4.6 seconds time.
But Ursula AG doesn’t really want to stop improving the car yet. After 4 years, the updated version of the GT is released as the V10 RS with an updated front and rear end to match more modern competitors. This time, the V10 now outputs 500 hp, propels the car to 320 km/h with a 0-100 time of 3.7 seconds.
But’s what more impressive is, the R1 is now equipped with an active sport suspension, that Ursula claims that the new suspension can help with the handling of the car. It’s now much better to drive, despite being more heavier than the predecessors.
Sadly, the innovative luxury GT has finally came to an end in 2000, with only 4,280 units have ever produced. Prior to that, a V12 variant equipped with a 6-liter V12 was actually planned for release in 1999, but due to financial reasons Ursula decided not to release it. If released, the car would actually be a lot faster than the V10 RS, with reports claimed that it’s capable of a 3.2 seconds 0-100 km/h acceleration and a top speed of 340 km/h.
Not only that, a race variant is also planned for a 1998 debut, with a turbocharged V10 generating 640 hp, alongside it’s road-legal version of the race machine, the 552 hp V10 GT-C, but ultimately none has ever came to fruition. However, Ursula have made 2 V10 GT-C’s in 2000 and sold them. One is now missing since 2005 due to unknown reasons, but the other one is still residing in Ursula’s Bremen HQ.
(sorry for the V16, there’s no electric engine in Automation so I made a V16 to substitute it. XD)
But not all hopes are lost. In Detroit Auto Show last year (2017), Ursula launched the R1 concept car as a preview to their upcoming “Fluent” design language. Unlike the V10-equipped original, the R1 concept is equipped with 4 electric motors in AWD layout, generating a hefty 1080 hp and claimed a 390-km electric range.
Much to a surprise, Ursula actually confirmed a production version is coming in 2020, but it will be an electric powered luxury GT. But still, everyone has high hopes to this fabulous, innovative grand tourer that became everyone’s poster car in the 90’s, will return someday.