Who Could Say No to YES roadster?

February 7, 2008

Automakers are known to spend millions on their auto show stands, surrounding their new products with lavish displays and draping them with attractive, young models. So Chicago Auto Show-goers might be forgiven if they walk right by one small stand. Forget the models. There’s not even a curtain. Just two small cars, standing nose-to-tail, right near the bathrooms at McCormick Place.

Even so, that’s a pretty big deal for Yes! North America, which is making its U.S. debut at this year’s Chicago show. The two-seat roadsters are actually the work of Funke & Will AG, a German engineering firm that conceived the idea in an old aircraft hangar, near Dresden, Germany.

Looking a bit like the child of a Lotus Elise and Honda S2000, the company’s second-generation, open-air offering is available in turbo and naturally-aspirated form. With blower, the car’s 3.2-liter V-6 will make 355 horsepower. The engine is mated to a 6-speed stick, the transmission linked to the rear wheels.

Using an aluminum spaceframe and a simple, manual fabric top, the YES weighs in at just 1962 pounds. That translates into a massive power-to-weight ratio. The turbo model launches from 0-100 kmh (0-62.5 mph) in just 3.9 seconds, and all the way up to 200 kmh (125 mph) in 11.8 seconds, with a top speed of 174 miles an hour.

The naturally-aspirated YES turns out a still impressive 255-hp, and hits 100 kmh in 4.9 seconds. Its top speed is 158 mph.

You’ll have to struggle through some god-awful translations, should you get your hands on the company’s catalogue, and don’t expect to place an order, at least not until late February, “round about,” explains YES executive Ingolf Hanich, when the first six U.S., and one Canadian, dealers will be announced.

Exclusivity is going to be as much a selling point as performance, explained Hanich. Last year, Funke & Will produced a grand total of 120 YES! roadsters, and it is shooting for just 50 more in North America, this year.

How much? A modest $77,995 for the base car, $97,995 for the YES Turbo.

At that price, who could say no to YES?

2008 Chicago Auto Show. Big things from the City by the Lake. (2/7/2008)

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