2023 Rimac Nevera first drive: The fastest thing I’ve ever driven


The Rimac Nevera isn’t just fast, it’s a whole different kind of thing. During Monterey Car Week, the automaker graciously gave us the keys to its electric hypercar for a quick 30-minute ride up the Laguna Seca hill.

We were both excited and intimidated. When you’ve seen some videos of the car’s performance, and when you remember some of the stories with the early prototypes, you’re right to wonder, « Will it get me off the road too at the top of a cliff ? » (report to Richard Hammond’s accident during a hill climb). Fortunately, this is not the case.

2023 Rimac Nevera First Drive Review
2023 Rimac Nevera First Drive Review

Part of the charm of the Rimac Nevera, fast as it is, is that you can theoretically drive this car every day. This is not a fire-breathing beast built for the track (in fact, there’s no fire at all). Of course, its 120 kWh battery and four electric motors give it the most power of any production car currently on the road: 1914 horsepower and 2360 Nm of torque. But apart from the technical characteristics, everything about this car is rather discreet.

There’s nothing ostentatious about the design, apart from the carbon fiber panels and the doors that soar skyward when you open them. The front of the Nevera is sleek and unassuming, while the rear is angular, but it doesn’t really have any interesting angles.

The same goes when you go inside. There’s a big touchscreen in the center console like most modern cars, lots of leather, and the steering wheel is littered with audio and infotainment controls. Even the seats don’t feel otherworldly: two well-padded, rather comfortable Alcantara buckets with solid back support.

Sitting to my right is Miro Zrncevic, Rimac’s chief development driver, who has worked on the Nevera since day one and knows exactly what this car is capable of. And before we even get out of the driveway, he tells us to press the mushroom.

« Crush the Pedal »says Zrncevic.

2023 Rimac Nevera First Drive Review

We didn’t want to appear too shy, so we pressed the accelerator to three-quarters of the floor before our brains told us to brake. It wasn’t even at full throttle yet, and yet no other vehicle we’ve been able to test left the start line like this. Butterflies in your stomach, jaw clenched, you smash the pedal to engage the 15.4-inch carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes and slow the Nevera down.

The Rimac Nevera sprints to 60 miles per hour (96 km/h) in a mind-boggling 1.85 seconds. And even there, Rimac says there is room for improvement. The G-forces exerted on our bodies suggest that the time given for acceleration is not overstated, and unlike its cousin the Bugatti Chiron, which takes half a second to spin up its four turbos, the Nevera n has no latency; the Rimac delivers every ounce of its available power the second it’s needed. Anytime.

All four wheels handle the torque most of the time, except in Drift mode, where the front motors cut out and the driver can send nearly 1,000 hp to the rear wheels for tire-destroying fun. We didn’t even dare to try.

Two CNC-milled knobs on the center console control power depending on drive mode, varying from Cruise and Range in the simplest settings to Sport, Track and Drift modes for performance freaks. We spent most of the ride in Cruise mode, which only unleashed about three-quarters of the Nevera’s available power. But a quick switch to Track mode was enough to confirm that there was still plenty of power to give.

All four wheels handle the torque most of the time, except in Drift mode, where the front motors cut out and the driver can send nearly 1,000 hp to the rear wheels for tire-destroying fun. We didn’t even dare to try; all-wheel drive and the advanced torque vectoring system remained in place.

But that torque vectoring system was one of the most impressive pieces of technology we’ve seen. After gaining some confidence, Zrncevic encourages us to put my foot flat on the ground in corners, something we would never attempt in any other hypercar currently on the market. With blind confidence, we comply – and even with that, this 1914 horsepower hypercar will not have finished its race in the ditch.

2023 Rimac Nevera First Drive Review
2023 Rimac Nevera First Drive Review
2023 Rimac Nevera First Drive Review

The torque vectoring system does everything in its power to keep you from losing control. It adjusts the degree of twist of each wheel up to 100 times per second, so even at full throttle the Nevera knows exactly how much power to produce based on the grip available.

And even for a 2150 kilo vehicle, the Nevera moves with exceptional grace. The corners are perfectly flat and the grip is incredible, even with the non-prescription Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. The steering may not have been as communicative as desired, but it was still quite quick and coped well when cornering angles got tighter. Still, this car never felt unmanageable in the corners. Again, Rimac wanted to make sure its owners wouldn’t be afraid to drive this car every day, which is why the many advanced suspension technologies help you stay comfortable and keep the control.

2023 Rimac Nevera First Drive Review

The Nevera is the type of car that will transform a non-fan of electric vehicles into a true enthusiast of batteries. Nothing we’ve driven so far comes close to what the Rimac can do in a straight line. The 10 years of development to get there was probably worth it.

The price, of course, matches the performance. The Nevera costs 2 million euros (about $2 million at the current exchange rate) and, according to Rimac, the company will build 150 in total, with this year’s tranche already sold out. With the new Bugatti-Rimac partnership in full swing, one can only imagine what the next decade will bring to this company – almost certainly more, if not more, lightning-fast vehicles.

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