CEO Rinderknecht’s press release says the E2 “is Rinspeed’s answer to the fast changing requirements of the market and sociopolitical perception about the tuning industry.” I suppose he means that tuners aren’t held in the greatest respect by environmentalists, and that is true.
Herr Rinderknecht has indeed become a tuner transformed. His two new cars, the iChange, recently reviewed here, and the E2, a tuned version of another tuned car—the Fiat Abarth 500 SS—both show how environmentalism can coexist with speed, and that is no bad thing. Here’s a video of the standard Abarth 500, released last July, which gives you a wonderful 5.5 minutes of test drive as only the Brits can do it:
The E2, however, is both a sporting car and a commuting car. You can switch the powerplant for a 60-hp output (commuting mode and about 58 mpg) or a full 160 hp (highway mode, 33 mpg) and the incredible performance of the Abarth SS.
Boss Rinderknecht is still, I think, an unreconstructed tuner, but he wants to be on the path to cleanliness and godliness with this dual-purpose car:
I don’t believe too much in eco tuning. Many drivers are not willing to miss out on driving fun and don’t want to drive a something that announces to the world that they do without. But the number of people who want to use our energy supply responsibly – not in the least because they want to protect our environment – will grow quickly.
Und so, vee vill giff dem both.
Abarth is one of the great tuners of all time, and I remember the great Fiat Abarth cars of the ‘60s, which are still unbeatable. Whether Rinspeed will finally enter this league remains to be seen, but the E2 is an interesting idea. I just hope it doesn’t turn out like the old Caddy Northstar that switched off half its V8 to save power and turned into a dog.
Speed tuning may finally give us the best of both worlds. Yes or no?