The company is named after its founder, Heinz Melkus, who was one of the most successful racing drivers to come out of East Germany back in the 1960’s. Being quite handy with the technical side of things, Heinz started his own car company, which produced a fair number of models between 1959 and 1986. Since all the cars were made to order, very few cars rolled out of the factory doors.
Heinz’s son Peter is hoping the resurgence of this brand will help move a lot more cars. He restarted the company in December 2006. While they got to work on their new car right away, it wasn’t ready for public exposure until the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2009, where they launched the RS2000.
As you can probably work out, the RS2000 is based on the underpinnings of the Lotus Exige. However, with gullwing-doors it would be much easier to climb in and out of the RS2000 compared to an Exige.
I also think the RS2000 is a lot nicer looking than the Exige also, but that is just my personal opinion. The interior I think everyone will agree is much, much better than the spartan cockpit of the Exige.
Unlike the Exige, power doesn’t come from a Toyota-sourced engine, but instead from either a VW or Opel sourced 2.0-liter, turbo-charged engine (the buyer gets to choose which engine they prefer).
In the normal RS2000, these motors develop 296-hp. But, in the recently announced Black Edition model, which is a more focused, hard-core, street-legal track day toy, power has risen to 321-hp. A mild upgrade, but any power boost in a light-weight car (only 950-kg) will have a very positive effect on its performance.
According to Melkus, the new RS2000 Black Edition can sprint from 0-100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds, and top out at 270 km/h. So no, you can’t call it slow.
Interested yet? Thought you might be. But there is a catch. First of all, it’s not available in North America, so unless you have a summer villa in Europe, you won’t be able to get one. Then there is the price, which in Canadian funds is equivalent to roughly $200,000 for this new Black Edition (but for that price you do get a very nice, six-layered black lacquered paint job).
So it’s not cheap, but rare exotic things never are, and their exclusivity and uniqueness is a huge part of their appeal. Would I have one if I could? Yes, absolutely.