Back after a major hiatus post the Spanish Civil War, when the Catalonian government decided to seize control of its factories and use them for aircraft engines and other war supplies, Hispano Suiza, Spain’s homegrown luxury automotive brand, is back in action, and with a strong reminder of what it stood for in the past.
This is the Carmen, named after Carmen Mateu, the granddaughter of the founder of Hispano Suiza, and the current president’s mother. Touted as a birth, or a rebirth if you will, the Carmen, unlike most hypercars, doesn’t look like a part of the same family. Channeling a beautiful retrofuturistic aesthetic, the Carmen’s stylings take inspiration from the car’s 1930s history (arguably their peak), and bring those to the modern world. Showing off curves like they’re nobody’s business, the Carmen is equal parts contemporary and blast-from-the-past.
Its vintage-meets-new-age stylings aside, the Carmen has the innards of a futuristic automobile. Powered by an electric drivetrain, the Carmen boasts of a two-motor rear-wheel-drive delivering a cool 1,005 horsepower. This allows the Carmen, technically a hypercar, to blitz from 0-100 kmh (0-62 mph) in less than three seconds. Strangely enough, the top speed on the Carmen is actually electronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph), done because Suiza’s technical directior Lluc Marti says that the real-world applications of driving above 250 kph are bizarrely limited. Rather than keeping a high top speed as a power flex, the Carmen’s top speed is realistic, and ‘sensible’.
Hispano-Suiza has put this prototype together in just nine months, with a design and build team of just 25 people. Debuted in Geneva, the car will head to Spain for testing and development followed by further rigorous application and testing on racetracks and mountain roads across the Iberian peninsula. Pretty remarkable for a company that’s been dormant for almost a century, I’d say!
Designer: Hispano Suiza