Electric cars were a big feature of this month’s Geneva Motor Show, and even speed champions Bugatti got in on the battery act. Full details have now emerged of its new zero-emissions model…
True to Bugatti form, it’s a limited edition car with just 500 being made available. It’s hand-built and uses the latest 3D printer technology alongside traditional Bugatti materials, like turned aluminium for the dashboard, leather for the upholstery and even solid silver for Bugatti’s ‘Macaron’ badge.
And just like its 16-cylinder petrol-powered big brother, the Chiron, the new model has a Speed Key where only the most responsible drivers are able to disable the speed limiter and unleash its full top speed potential.
It won’t be challenging the 261mph Chiron for speed honours, though. The lithium battery-powered Bugatti is a three-quarter scale replica of the Type 35 of the 1920s-30s, and follows a near-100-year-old Bugatti tradition in being aimed at kids (of all ages).
In 1kW (1.3bhp) ‘child’ mode the latter-day Bugatti ‘Baby’ is reined back to 12mph, while in ‘adult’ mode power is upped to 4kW (just over 5bhp) and the top speed is an un-holy 25mph. Go for the optional Speed Key though and dare-devil drivers can unlock 10kW (13bhp) and disable the speed limiter completely.
The junior Bugatti has been done before: in 1926 Ettore Bugatti built a half-scale replica of the mighty Type 35 for his four-year-old son. But his customers saw the junior Bug and insisted on one for their offspring too, and in the end around 500 Bugatti Babys were made between 1927 and ’36, these days all very collectible.
Rear-wheel-drive with a limited-slip differential and regenerative braking via modern brakes on each wheel, the 2019 Baby has been created from digital scans of a real Type 35, often said to be the world’s winningest racing car. The eight-spoke aluminium alloy wheels are copies of Ettore Bugatti’s design for his first Type 35 racer in 1924.
In the cockpit, there are bespoke Bugatti instruments and a re-creation of the Type 35’s distinctive four-spoke steering wheel. Making the car three-quarter scale rather than half-scale allows adults to drive it as well as their kids, says Bugatti.
And its colour? French Racing Blue of course, though other hues are available. Each car also gets a numbered plaque commemorating Bugatti’s 110th anniversary this year. Price? It’s the bargain of the Bugatti range costing just €30,000 plus taxes, so just under £30,000. Get saving kids!