Hispano Suiza’s Carmen Boulogne is arguably even more exclusive than the Evija or Nevera as just 19 will be built, compared to 130 and 150 for the Lotus and Rimac respectively. The car has been seen several times in public, most recently at Salon Prive and now at IAA Munich Motor Show.
We’ve held off profiling this radical entrant into the electric hypercar market but with production apparently underway and the car a reality, it seems sensible to take a look.
Before we get onto the fluffy subject of design and the car’s heritage, let’s address what you’re all here for: the powertrain.
Two 549bhp motors – one on each rear wheel – bring the total power output to 1098bhp. Whilst this is a lot, it’s a fair chunk less than equivalent cars in this exclusive sphere, but the Carmen has an ace up its sleeve: it only weighs 1630kg. This is light in EV terms and helps the car reach 62mph in under 2.6 seconds and onto a top speed of 180mph.
Torque is on offer by the bucket load, with 1180 delivered in a completely linear fashion between zero and 6500rpm. An in-house developed torque vectoring system helps keep it in check and allow the Carmen Boulogne to put its power down rather than spinning it away in clouds of rubber smoke. Speaking of torque vectoring, it is controlled by the car’s ECU which sends live data back to Hispano Suiza, ensuring that systems are operating as they should be.
The battery is an 80kWh (useable) unit which enables the car to travel up to 250 miles on a charge. It, too, is controlled by an advanced management system and – alongside the motors – is liquid cooled to ensure thermal stability. It can be charged at more than 80kW DC via CCS2, juicing from 30 to 80 per cent in 30 minutes.
Alongside the power is a chassis that has been developed to make the Carmen a hoot to drive. The carbon monocoque is extremely stiff and weighs just 195kg, and carbon is used liberally throughout the rest of the car to keep things strong and light. Double wishbone suspension front and rear is paired with active damping and variable roll stiffness. Sitting behind 19 inch front and 20 inch rear wheels are AP Racing carbon ceramic discs with substantial six-pot calipers.
According to Hispano Suiza, the Carmen Boulogne is “deliberately provocative, intended to generate an emotive reaction and to be instantly recognisable”. It’s certainly most of those things and really does stand out from the crowd, even more so in real life.
This visual theatre is something that comes from the brand’s historic luxury and racing cars. Adding to this theatre is scissor doors which, when closed, finish the Carmen’s teardrop shape which contributes to its drag coefficient of 0.325. Granted, this isn’t particularly slippery by most EV standards, but then again the Carmen has a lot of downforce generated by a front splitter, rear diffuser and flat floor, which significantly increases drag.
Front and rear LED lights also add to the car’s drama. At the rear, in particular, the combination lamps feature Hispano Suiza’s stork emblem.
Inside, the Carmen Boulogne majors on quality materials and being handmade with a blend of leather, Alcantara, wood, suede and chrome. Hispano Suiza’s Unique Tailormade department can do pretty much anything that a customer might want with almost infinite customisability. Mood lighting, colour shades and even a perfumed interior can all be specified.
There’s plenty of tech and connectivity, too, with smartphone connectivity controllable via the steering wheel or 10.1 inch touchscreen display which also acts as an interface to configure the car and a reversing camera output screen. Owners can set the car up via an app so that it’s ready to roll as soon as they get in.
Keeping up with the other electric hypercars isn’t just about being really, really fast. If you want to compete the price has to be off the scale, and so it is with the Hispano Suiza Carmen Boulogne, which costs £1.4m before taxes. As previously mentioned, just 19 will be made so your money at least buys you into an extremely exclusive club.