Inside the frightening, thrilling experience of driving the quickest car in the world, the $2 million Pininfarina Battista

The Pininfarina Battista.
The Pininfarina Battista.TangentVector
  • I tested the Pininfarina Battista, a dizzyingly quick electric supercar that costs $2.2 million and up.

  • The Italian EV recently claimed the world acceleration record with a blistering 1.79-second run to 60 mph.

  • It cranks out 1,900 horsepower from four electric motors.

You know that scene in "Top Gun: Maverick" when Tom Cruise's character flies his fighter jet through the desert at ludicrous speeds, every muscle tensed to combat the extraordinary G-forces?

That's kind of what driving the Pininfarina Battista is like. At least that's what it felt like in my head — minus the majestic soundtrack and threat of nuclear war.

The Pininfarina Battista.
The Pininfarina Battista.Tim Levin/Insider

The $2.2 million, 1,900-horsepower electric supercar is mind-bendingly, frighteningly quick, recently claiming to break the world acceleration record for a street-legal car. On a track in Dubai, the Battista scorched to 60 mph in 1.79 seconds and hit 124 mph in 4.75 seconds.

It's astonishing in practically every other respect too, from the way it growls at idle to its stunning looks. The Battista doesn't just prove electric vehicles aren't glorified golf carts or boring commuter cars — it's also an excellent reason to buy a Powerball ticket every now and then.

The Pininfarina Battista.
The Pininfarina Battista.Tim Levin/Insider

The Battista is the first model from Pininfarina, a new spinoff car brand from the famed Italian design studio of the same name. The hypercar is named for the company's founder, Battista "Pinin" Farina, who always wanted to launch a car of his own, but never got the chance between designing iconic models for Ferrari and others.

That history shines through in the Battista's classic, timeless silhouette. But underneath, it's all about the now and pushing the boundaries of what an EV can be.

The Pininfarina Battista.
The Pininfarina Battista.Tim Levin/Insider

Walk up close to the Battista and you'll detect a pulsing, futuristic whirr that tells you this is no ordinary vehicle. In its most subdued driving setting — aptly named "Calma" — the sound is faint, almost undetectable. Switching to Furiosa mode unleashes all of the supercar's monstrous power and a noisy, aggressive rumble to match. Touch the car and you can feel it vibrating, despite the lack of an engine.

The Battista keeps on purring even when on the move, because what's the point of buying a flashy supercar if nobody knows to turn and snag a glimpse. The soundscape — though artificial — injects some theater and drama into a car that could just as easily be as dead quiet as a Tesla or a Nissan Leaf.

The Pininfarina Battista.
The Pininfarina Battista.TangentVector

Like any supercar worth its extremely expensive salt, the Battista has doors that open up — not out. They include a section of the roof, so you don't need to duck too low to get in.

From behind the wheel, the Battista gives off the vibes of a spaceship or airplane more than a regular automobile. Its low, deep seats hug you tight. Its cockpit features two touchscreens flanking the steering wheel that are slanted toward the driver. A small display just behind the wheel shows only crucial information like your speed and range so as not to distract you from the road ahead. A pair of substantial, shiny knobs act as selectors for the Battista's driving settings and gears.

The Pininfarina Battista.
The Pininfarina Battista.Tim Levin/Insider

My test car came done up in gorgeous tan leather on the seats, center console, doors, and dashboard. But each of the 150 Battistas Pininfarina plans to make will be unique; every combination of options a customer chooses won't be available to future buyers. Each car takes around 1,300 hours of labor to produce, according to Pininfarina.

I pulled out onto the road for the first time abundantly aware that millions of dollars worth of painstakingly crafted machinery was now in my hands. I started out in Calma as I got a feel for what the supercar can do.

The Pininfarina Battista.
The Pininfarina Battista.Tim Levin/Insider

Things were totally manageable. After all, Calma unlocks only about 700 horsepower and mainly employs two of the Battista's four motors. (It has one driving each wheel.) In this most efficient setting, the Battista can travel 300 miles between charging stops, according to the EPA.

With a satisfying click of the rotary dial to my left, I cranked up the intensity by switching to Pura, then to Energica. Each time, the Battista's acceleration grew fiercer and the artificial driving sound pumped into the cabin louder and more intimidating.

The Pininfarina Battista.
The Pininfarina Battista.TangentVector

Eventually my copilot, one of Pininfarina's top engineers, suggested I might be ready for Furiosa — to see what the Battista can do when all of its 1,900 horsepower and 1,726 pound-feet of torque are unleashed. I thought I was ready too.

I was not ready.

I came up to an open stretch of road, death-gripped the steering wheel, and floored it. In an instant — less than an instant, if that's even possible — the Battista was gone, hurtling down the road faster, and faster, and faster until I let off the throttle, exiting whatever time-warp I was just in and snapping back into reality.

The Pininfarina Battista.
The Pininfarina Battista.Tim Levin/Insider

Afterward, all I could do was gasp and giggle and babble incoherently while my brain caught up and tried to process what just happened.

Perhaps naively, I thought the Battista would be just another very quick electric car. I've driven a few of those. But the Battista is on a different planet. It's kind of like getting shot out of a cannon — except a cannonball slows down, while the Battista relentlessly keeps picking up speed.

The Pininfarina Battista.
The Pininfarina Battista.Tim Levin/Insider

I came away from my time in the Battista wondering what many of you probably want to know too: Is it worth it?

That's tough to answer for someone who doesn't have the fortune to justify such a purchase. Is going to space on Jeff Bezos's spaceship worth millions of dollars? Probably, if you're lucky enough to afford it.

The Battista is ridiculously expensive, but it's also extremely rare and offers an experience most people will never get. What I can say is this: If you're the lucky one who won that $2 billion jackpot the other day, go for it. You won't be disappointed.

Read the original article on Business Insider