By Ronan Glon
Saturday, Nov 10th, 2012 @ 3:59 pm
 

U.K.-based startup Eterniti has unveiled the production version of the Artemis SUV that was displayed as a close-to-production concept in Beijing, China, earlier this year.

Eterniti hired ex-Jaguar engineer Alistair Macqueen and ex-Formula 1 driver Johnny Herbert to help develop the SUV. It is powered by a Cayenne Turbo-sourced 4.8-liter V8 that has been tuned to make 553 lb-ft. of torque and 600 horsepower, enabling the behemoth to sprint from zero to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds and reach a top speed of over 180 mph.

Eterniti has lowered and stiffened the SUV's suspension to give it a sportier ride than the Cayenne that it is based on. It comes standard with 23-inch alloy wheels mounted on low-profile tires.

Inside, the main focus is placed on the rear passengers and the two individual rear seats have been moved back and up to increase legroom. This evidently sacrifices trunk space but the automaker doesn't think that the SUV's target audience will mind, especially since the rear seats are heated, cooled and can recline. The passengers sitting in them have access to a drink cooler and an iPad holder.

Although the Artemis' Cayenne roots are evident in the roof line, Eterniti has given both the front and the rear of the SUV a thorough redesign. The new panels are hand-built out of carbon composite in an effort to keep the weight down.

Eterniti hopes that by starting with an existing car instead of designing one from scratch it will be able undercut luxury SUVs currently being developed by Bentley, Lamborghini and Maserati. On sale now, the Artemis starts at about £210,000 (roughly $335,000) in the U.K., though the long list of options can significantly inflate the price tag.

The SUV will be sold through a growing network of dealers located in Europe, in Japan and in China but the English automaker has not indicated whether or not it will set up shop on U.S. shores.