The maddest car of the year

SandRacer 500GT

This sand-blasting, street-legal monster “might just be the maddest car revealed in 2017”, says Joe Finnerty in The Sun. After initially unveiling the SandRacer 500GT at the 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Zarooq Motors says it has spent the last 18 months fine-tuning every detail to make it look “even more aggressive” and upgrading “everything from performance to engine, to style and equipment”.

The SandRacer now comes with a “fire-breathing” 6.2 litre V8 engine under the bonnet, sending power to the rear wheels through a five-speed sequential manual gearbox that is designed to withstand “the most demanding conditions”. Yet thanks to “lashings” of carbon fibre, the car weighs just 1,200kg.

Performance will be strong on the road, says James Brodie in Auto Express, but “the clue is in the name” – the SandRacer is built for the desert, so features off-road-focused suspension with two ride height settings, “big knobbly tyres” and race harnesses, alongside a full built-in roll cage.

Indeed, it should be “an absolute rocket on both asphalt and sand”, says Zac Palmer in AutoWeek, and since it’s rear-wheel-drive only, it should be a “hoot to slide about whatever the surface”. On top of the performance, a “luxury interior with two carbon-fibre seats, a digital dash and hand-stitched leather made by Mansory in Germany greets the few lucky passengers who happen to buy one”.

Zarooq plans to make only 35 SandRacers, with a starting price of £350,000 in the United Arab Emirates, for VIPs and car collectors. The first models will be delivered later this year.

Price: £350,000
Engine: 6.2 litre V8
Top speed: 137mph
Power: 518bhp

Torque: 487 lb ft