This is Magnus, a car built by Eneron, a subsidiary of Kintsugi. Described as an Artificial Intelligence hybrid vehicle, its design phase was accelerated to a 3 month timeframe through the use of AI systems. According to the promotional material, Magnus “provides a paradigm shift in UGV advancements” it also offers “a smarter faster and greener transport solution”

Magnus is a cab forward, fastback with adaptive suspension for off road antics. The unspecified powertrain is a diesel electric hybrid unit with a maximum range of 800km. 133KW batteries power twin 805hp electric drive motors on the rear wheels. The range, purely on electric power is claimed to be 200km. The car delivers ”minimal acoustic signature” when in 100% electric mode. The driver package includes a surprisingly comfy hollow cast aluminium seat, beefy touchscreen consoles, chunky switches, “augmented reality” rear view monitors, and a Magnus specific, conversational virtual assistant. *Eneron suggests Magnus “…blends the elegance of hypercar aesthetics with on and off road capabilities”

So far it sounds like a digitally enhanced, crossover Lamborghini Sterrato. If you’re thinking Magnus will offer the hedonistic allure of hurling a Lambo cross country, with the bonus of a holographic Ana de Armas in the passenger seat, then allow me to provide a ‘paradigm’ reset of your hopes and dreams.

Magnus is designed to carry up to six people. Those six people sit inside an advanced composite shell with a full level 2, ballistic and mine protection underbody. Entry and exit is via fully armoured opposing doors that open 90 degrees providing “superior crossfire protection”

Granted, this might be advantageous in parts of the US, or if you just wanted to wear a Rolex in London. However, it’s safe to say that Magnus isn’t for us proles. Even the six people it can cater for aren’t really required. A UGV is after all, an unmanned ground vehicle. Magnus has the option to operate autonomously, directed by an operator, or a sub division of Skynet.

Humans aside, Magnus can act as a delivery vehicle for alternative “deployable assets” aka a host of things the 21st century could well do without. As the promotional blurb goes on to explain “…bespoke consoles facilitate seamless management of the vehicle reconnaissance drones and robotics, all powered by AI for optimal performance” No mention of Apple car play though.

The composite body, made from an undisclosed material can be easily configured to contain racks of recon drones launched with assistance from the in house specific virtual assistant who by this point, sounds less like Joi from Blade Runner, and more like HAL 9000.

In addition to the flying drones there’s also this cute puppy you can deploy from the cargo deck.

Rumour has it he’s rubbish at fetching sticks. His talents lie in his ability to carry a range of surveillance systems as well as other more kinetic options. Its hard not to draw comparisons with the cyber fido from Fahrenheit 451. 

There’s a ‘civil’ version called Magnum, slated for 2025. It comes in a range of colours from deadly nightshade to digital camo. It could be the perfect autonomous Uber for dystopia. The AI will be downgraded so that a synthesized Cockney says ‘You’ll never guess who I had in the back of my cab’ before blocking any attempt to navigate out of the matrix. Magnus is just a concept car at the moment. If you should see one out and about, run. Just don’t expect to be able to hide.


Images Steve Swanson

*The name, Eneron Magnus, is remarkably similar to Energon Magnus of the Transformers franchise. Magnus was a good robot, apparently. There, you see? nothing to worry about.

About The Author

Steve Swanson

Steve turns any opportunity to write about cars into a roadtrip. It's seen him ride shotgun in a Bentley Blower with Clive Cussler, and cross paths with automotive YouTubers in Canada and the US. His work has been published in Magneto, Classic Cars, Classic American and some magazines that no MotorPunk reader has ever heard of. When he's not writing or driving you can find him kicking tyres at seedy auctions and hawking junk optimistically described as Automobilia

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