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Should Iron Man go Kahn?
23rd Apr 2013

In the build-up to the release of Iron Man 3, Tony Stark, CEO and visionary behind Stark Industries, played by Oscar-winner Robert Downey Jr, is seen driving an Audi R8 e-tron. What needs to be asked is, “Would Tony Stark really drive such a car?” Let’s have a look at that, shall we?

The character of Tony Stark, both in the comics and in the films, is a futurist and the e-tron is an innovative vehicle. It is, most definitely, exactly the type of vehicle such a man would be interested in. As Loren Angelo, general manager of Brand Marketing for Audi Of America says, \"Similar to the position of the R8 an an innovation leader, Iron Man\'s character consistently evolves throughout the trilogy as he masterminds new trends in technology and engineering.\"

Its power comes from four electric motors, one mounted on each wheel, generating 900lb ft of torque and around 80bhp each. This allows the car to hit 60mph from a standing start in 4.8 seconds. In order to save battery power, though, the speed is limited to 124mph. If Stark did get hold of it, you could expect the odd improvement in terms of performance and efficiency. He probably wouldn’t follow through with the rumoured dropping of the four wheel drive option for a rear wheel drive version.

The A8 has already benefitted from the Kahn touch as far back as 2007 with a unique “Facelift”, consisting of a lowered suspension that brings the car closer to the ground, ensuring the handling was ‘considerably improved’.

The car was adorned with Kahn F1-X carbon-fiber lightweight wheels, which helped  reduce weight and  improve acceleration and cornering.

Mr Stark probably knows this however. Then again, he’d probably prefer the Kahn Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, which is due for release in May 2013. For one thing, the Lamborghini Rosso colour scheme would match his armour. Other alterations to this vehicle are minimal to say the least, and this is certainly not an oversight on the part of Afzal Kahn and his team. Although the Aventador is laden with state-of-the-art technology of which Stark would approve, it remains a very old school supercar, a machine powered by a powerful and classic V12 – words that would have applied no less accurately to the Countach at its first public showing more than 40 years ago.

The Aventador boasts an unquestionably intimidating shape and size, but thanks to the silky smooth power delivery, you will find one acclimatises rather quickly to this machine. In this it shares commonality with the Iron Man armour.

The gearbox is a robotised seven-speed manual with, the quickest shift ever to be achieved from such a configuration. Power flows through the gearbox to all four corners of the car in a ratio governed by a central haldex coupling. There’s an electronically controlled differential at the front and a mechanically locking item between the rear wheels.

Alternatively, Mr Stark could go for the Kahn Design Range Rover Evoque RS250. It\'s a distinctive creation, but not just because of its vivid (Kahn-created) paint job and staggering 22-inch alloy wheels. It\'s the work that\'s been done to the front, rear and interior by the firm\'s in-house automotive design pros that\'s most striking.

The bespoke front end is look is all-new. The design team has used a bold black graphic to \'widen\' the Evoque, and fitted a carbonfibre chin spoiler to make it look lower, finishing it off with details such as the grille vents and \'KAHN\' lettering on the bonnet\'s leading edge.

At the rear, a unique centre-exit exhaust has been reworked (no small job and showing the extent of the engineering work), and there is again a bespoke bumper and a rear spoiler. The thin black gurney flap on its trailing edge is pure motorsport and is a really subtle and pleasing detail.

With a full interior makeover too, there\'s no denying the Kahn Range Rover Evoque is special enough for a multibillionaire industrialist. For the big screen, it is available in the colour of your choice. No wonder Afzal Kahn’s strap line is: ‘The Road Is My Catwalk’.

Placement of cars in films has become increasingly prevalent, probably seeing its high profile beginnings in the late 60’s with a certain Mr Bond piloting an Aston Martin DB5 “with modifications” in the Swiss Alps or Charlie Croker and his crew and their Mini Coopers on their way to rob Fiat’s gold bullion in Turin. This isn’t exactly a British phenomenon, either. It is something Hollywood has indulged in more than once. Who doesn’t remember the Ford Mustang driven through San Francisco by Steve McQueen in Bullitt? The car was so much a feature player that the soundtrack to the main car chase was the roar of the V8 without the musical accompaniment you would expect. This trend of the car being the star probably reached its zenith with the Fast And Furious series.

It’s not only the big mass producers, such as Audi, BMW and Ford that get their product in place. The boutique car producers have also been able to get involved. Who remembers Disney’s Condorman, starring Michael Crawford? The car he drove was a Nova Sterling, hand built in Mirfield, not far from Kahn Design’s Bradford head office. Kahn Design itself is also very much in demand in terms of product placement with appearances in many a Hollywood movie and various TV shows in the pipeline. Stay tuned to Kahn News for more examples of Kahn iconic automotive styling in the upcoming weeks and months ahead.

One thing is for certain, though. Whatever car Tony Stark drive or builds, for those finishing touches that turn a car from being just a vehicle into a work of art, he would be better served handing it over to Afzal Kahn.

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