Decades ago, Hispano Suiza was responsible for high-end cars and airplane engines. The pre-war machines were synonymous with luxury, quality, and performance, “on par with a Rolls-Royce,” per one the marketing gents explaining the brand’s storied history in its Geneva Motor Show booth. “We wanted to continue that tradition with the Carmen,” says Sergio Martinez Campos, the CEO of Hispano Suiza, gesturing to the recently debuted vehicle.
The Carmen is fully electric, with two motors on the rear-axle (one per wheel), and they provide 1,019 horsepower to the coupe. The Lithium Ion battery pack, which sits in a T-shape low in the carbon-fiber chassis, will provide about 248 miles of range on a charge, provided you’re not hammering it, says Campos. Need to recharge? Campos claims it’ll only take about a half an hour to get back to 80 percent.
“There are different driving modes, including sport, comfort, and eco, and depending on what you select, the computer can detune the horsepower to help extend range,” Campos says. The top speed is limited to 155 mph, and it takes less than three seconds to hit 60. At 3,726 pounds, the whole car is moderately light, considering the heavy battery pack. Everything that could be made from carbon fiber was, including the monocoque cell, the chassis, eleven body panels, and more. For comparison, a Tesla Model S is about two and a half tons.
The interior is handsome and well appointed, drenched in alcantara and leather, and an oak laminate runs atop the dashboard. “Every car can be personally perfumed,” Campos says, but the wood and leather smells fantastic as is.
While the exterior design may certainly be polarizing, customers can opt to have the body painted in any hue they wish, or just leave it naked and show off all that carbon. Each of the 19 buyers will have to agree to keep the Carmen for three years before they attempt to sell it, and that $1.6 million sticker also gets you access into a special owners club.