2023 Donkervoort F22: Old School Setup With a New Flair

Tiny Dutch automaker Donkervoort started in 1978 building modified versions of Colin Chapman's iconic Lotus Seven sports car, each successive model over the years gaining more power and more performance, with chassis mods to match. The 2023 Donkervoort F22, the company's first car designed entirely in-house, hews to Chapman's mantra of light weight and simplicity, but dials the power and performance all the way up to eleven.Some numbers, and some context: The F22 weighs just 1654 pounds and packs 492 horsepower courtesy of a tweaked version of the Audi RS 3's turbocharged, 2.5-liter, inline five-cylinder engine under the hood. That gives it a weight to power ratio of just under 3.4 lb/hp, which is better than that of a Bugatti Chiron Super Sport and on par with that of a McLaren P1. Donkervoort claims the F22 will slingshot from 0 to 60 mph in less than 2.5 seconds, from 0 to 124 mph in 7.5 seconds, hit a top speed of 180 mph, and pull 2.15 g through corners.Best of all, it's all done the old-school way. Yes, the F22 has racecar-style adjustable traction control, but the engine's 492 horses, which arrive at 6360 rpm, and its 472 lb-ft of torque at 5150 rpm, are funneled to the rear wheels by way of a five-speed stick shift transmission, a clutch pedal and a Torsen diff. No flappy paddles and trick electronics to help you drive like an F1 superstar, though a standard Bosch rev-matching system can be switched on if you need help honing your heel-and-toe downshifts.The choice of a five-speed manual transmission reveals a lot about the clear-eyed, less-is-more thinking behind the F22, however. "We have a five-speed because it's lighter and shorter than a six- or seven-speed gearbox," says Denis Donkervoort, who took over the running of the company from his father and founder, Joop, early in 2021. "We get our straight-line speed from being ultra-lightweight and having a strong, torquey engine, so we don't need all those gears to give us performance. It also means drivers make fewer gear changes per lap, allowing them to enjoy more of what they're doing behind the wheel."The F22 is built on a brand-new hybrid steel-tube and carbon-fiber chassis that has twice the torsional and bending rigidity of the outgoing Donkervoort D8 GTO Individual Series. Suspension is multi-link front and rear, with height adjustable active shocks that offer six different damping settings and can raise or lower the car 1.4in. Standard steering is unassisted and quick, needing just 2.7 turns of the wheel to go from lock to lock. EPS is available as an option.Brakes are by AP Racing, with steel discs and four-piston calipers up front, the whole system weighing 22 pounds less than that used on the D8 GTO. Donkervoort says the F22's braking performance is 30 percent better, too. An optional racecar-style Bosch ABS system allows drivers to adjust the system's intervention threshold, a useful feature for track days.Standard wheels are aluminum alloy, 18-in up front and 19-in at the rear, shod with bespoke Nankang AR-1 performance tires in 235/40 ZR18 and 275/35 ZR19 sizes. Forged alloys are available as an option, saving 8 pounds per wheel, as are carbon-fibre wheels, which at 12 pounds per wheel are less than half the weight of the 26-pound standard rims.All this is wrapped in bodywork designed by Donkervoort technical director Jordi Wiersma and Denis Donkervoort, working under the guidance of Ford's European design chief Amko Leenarts, a long-time Donkervoort fan who sits on the company's advisory board. Though it shares not a single nut or bolt with any previous model, there are echoes of the minimalist Lotus Seven-inspired Donkervoorts in the F22, particularly in terms of the proportion and the front wheels that sit clear of the bodywork; the forms and surfaces and graphics are pure 21st century supercar, particularly at the front and rear.The F22 is a significantly bigger car than the D8 GTO, though at 159.0 inches long, 75.3 inches wide, and 43.5 inches tall, it's hardly a road hog. Some of the increased length and width is for crash protection (Donkervoort says the F22 is undergoing homologation for sale in the U.S. ), some helps the aerodynamics, some contributes to increased luggage space, and some goes to a cabin that's 4.0 inches longer and 3.2 inches wider than the D8 GTO's.

Weather protection is improved, too, courtesy of what Donkervoort calls a 'Twin Targa' roof that comprises two removable carbon fiber panels above the doors that sit either side of a central panel that can also be removed. The two roof panels, which are each secured by three manual latches, can be stored in a bag in the 10.5-cu-ft luggage compartment. The central panel is detached via a button in the cockpit.
The interior features lots of carbon fiber and microfiber. The instrument panel is a small digital screen; an iPad can be mounted on the other side of the dash, opposite the passenger. Six-point safety harnesses are standard. "Our data showed 98 percent of buyers chose the optional six-point harness over the standard three-point harness for their D8 GTOs, so we certified a new six-point harness for all types of use," says Denis Donkervoort.
The planned run of 50 F22s was instantly snapped up by existing Donkervoort owners, so production has been extended to 75 vehicles. Several have been ordered by U.S. enthusiasts, despite prices starting at the equivalent of about $260,000, excluding all taxes and shipping, with the first car expected to arrive stateside sometime in 2023.
By the time it's been shipped from Europe and put on the road in the U.S., an American Donkervoort F22 owner will likely have spent Ferrari 296GTB money on an obscure, hand-built Dutch sportscar with an Audi engine. Denis Donkervoort is unapologetic, however: "We understand that a safe choice suits some people," he says. "But Donkervoort customers didn't get where they are by always making the safe choice."

2023 Donkervoort F22


$320,000 (MT est)


Front-engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door convertible


2.5L/492-hp/472-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC I-5


5-speed manual


1654lb (mfr)


95.3 in

L x W x H

159.0 x 75.3 x 43.5 in

0-60 MPH

2.4 sec (MT est)







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