Bristol Cars to unveil 200 mph hybrid supercar

bristol-FN-namirBristol Cars is gearing up to unveil a hybrid supercar based on a powertrain devised by Surrey based Frazer-Nash Research.

Bristol Cars has a long tradition in the boutique GT market, but the company has fallen on hard times in recent years. Rumours of a 200 mph hybrid supercar leaked out in 2011, but the company declared itself insolvent at about the same time. Motorauthority reckons we could see the new hybrid at Goodwood.

Now it’s back, owned by Kamkorp Group, which also owns Frazer-Nash Research, which already showed off an electric supercar concept in 2009. This time around, the car could indeed go into production.

The Frazer-Nash Research powertrain is rather unconventional. It features four electric motors and an array of lithium-ion batteries, but on the internal combustion side it reportedly has a Wankel engine. Frazer-Nash has the rights to rotary engine and it used an 813cc unit in its 2009 Namir concept, designed by Giugiaro.

Although Wankels were thought of as the next big thing a few decades ago, engineers never managed to overcome a host of issues plaguing the rev-loving rotaries. Wankels practically buried NSU, which used them in its Ro80 sedan, but some players like Mazda had a bit lot more luck with them. Although it recently chose to halt production of the RX-8 coupe, Mazda claims it is still committed to rotary engines.

Wankels have quite a few advantages over traditional engines, but they are also plagued by high fuel consumption and relatively dirty emissions. However, the downsides are outweighed in hybrid vehicles for obvious reasons and the compact size of Wankel engines means they are finding a new market niche, as range extenders in electric cars.

Not much is known about Bristol’s new car, there are no official specs or photos yet, but the Namir featured rather impressive performance in a very attractive package. The 0-60 time was 3.5 seconds and the car could hit 186 mph. It had a peak power output of 400 horsepower and there is no reason to expect anything less from the new car.