Hispano Suiza unleashes performance track car with glorious 1930s rump
At last year's Geneva Motor Show, Hispano Suiza rose from the dead to present the Carmen, a heavily retro-influenced electric hyper-GT with more than 1,000 horses and looks torn from Hollywood's Golden Age. Thanks to coronavirus, this year's Geneva Motor Show never quite happened, but that didn't stop Hispano Suiza from delivering a new Carmen variant with more powerful, motorsport-inspired performance. If Dick Tracy were an amateur race car driver, he'd be lapping tracks in the new Carmen Boulogne.
A true star of the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, the original Carmen was designed to blend "hypercar performance and exquisite luxury" into a "hyperlux" segment, which now includes the new Koenigsegg Gemera. The Carmen Boulogne still packs luxury, but puts the emphasis on the hypercar performance side of the coin, dialing the all-electric powertrain up to 1,100 hp, 94 hp more than on the standard Carmen.
After the 80-kWh lithium-polymer battery pack fires the dual-motor powertrain up, a torque vectoring system distributes that power to the rear wheels. Range is estimated at around 250 miles (400 km) per charge.
The "Boulogne" upgrade isn't solely about sheer power. The car is also tweaked for quicker, more responsive track lapping, the stiffened front and rear double wishbones working with the stiff carbon monocoque. Curb weight drops by a reported 60 kg (132 lb), helping cut the Boulogne's 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time below 2.6 seconds. Hispano Suiza also lifts the electronic shackles, pushing top speed up to 180 mph (290 km/h).
We're not sure that the Boulogne driver will be all that happy throwing a bulging, 1930s-style automotive derrière around the track, but we're certainly happy that the car maintains classic looks distilled from the 1938 Hispano-Suiza Dubonnet Xenia. The Carmen is a little too short and stout in the snout to truly evoke the touring grandeur of that classic, but one place the retro styling absolutely shines through is at the rear, where the high-arching fenders drop back to create a dramatic rear-end modernized by bright donut tail lamps and a diffuser below a carbon fiber fascia. The Carmen's rear wheel covers have been pulled off to expose the newly developed 20-in wheels, and exposed carbon fiber bodywork and copper trim enhance the Carmen Boulogne's century-straddling style, highlighting its track-oriented focus.
Inside, the brown leathers and woods of the Carmen are swapped for bare carbon, Alcantara and suede. Chrome is replaced with anodized metal in a shade Hispano Suiza calls "Orange Tulipwood," resembling the copper trim outside. A 10.1-in infotainment touchscreen, 360-degree audio system, and clock prepared by a Spanish watchmaker with Swiss mechanism are additional highlights around the two-seat cabin.
Hispano Suiza will build just five Carmen Boulogne models to join the 14 planned Carmen models for a total of just 19 cars. Each Boulogne will start at €1.65 million (approx. US$1.86 million) before taxes, and deliveries are planned for a 2022 start.
Source: Hispano Suiza