At the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show, Bugatti announced a new ‘baby’ as its 110th birthday present to itself. It was the reimagining of the original Bugatti Baby, developed in partnership with The Little Car Company, for enthusiasts old and new.
A year later, the company has completed the design and testing phase, with production of 500 units commencing. When it was first announced, all 500 cars were booked within just 3 weeks but as some customers have had a change in circumstances due to recent global events, there are now a few units still available. Prices range from €30,000 to €43,500 (equivalent to RM150,000 – RM216,000).
Like the original but bigger
The original Bugatti Baby was born in 1926 when Ettore and his son Jean decided to build a scaled-down Type 35 for Ettore’s youngest son, Roland, on the occasion of his fourth birthday. They had intended the present as a one-off car but customers who saw it were so enthusiastic that the Baby went into production and was sold between 1927 and 1936.
Cherished by Bugatti enthusiasts worldwide, no collection is complete without a Baby. However, with only around 500 ever made, they have been the preserve of the lucky few.
While the original Bugatti Baby was a 50% scale version of the car that brought Automobiles Ettore Bugatti to fame in the 1920s, the Bugatti Baby II (as it is referred to) offers more in terms of size and considerably more in terms of performance.
Eight-year olds would struggle to fit in the original half-scale Baby whereas, at 75% scale and designed for ages 14 and above, the Baby II has definitely become more of a young adult. Those who have had the opportunity to drive it describe it as ‘more of an unruly teenager than a Baby’.
“Ettore Bugatti himself was already interested in catering to the children of Bugatti enthusiasts and designed the Type 52 miniature car as a genuine Bugatti. That was a sensation at the time,” said Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti. “We are continuing this tradition with the new edition of the Bugatti Baby II, and I am delighted that we have found The Little Car Company, a partner that shares the same values as us. With the Bugatti Baby II, we invite a young generation of enthusiasts to fall in love with the wonderful world of Bugatti.”
Iconic design, today’s technology
The Bugatti Baby II is available in three versions – a base model, the Vitesse and Pur Sang. The base model has a composite body and a 1.4-kWh battery pack. With the Vitesse, there’s a more powerful 2.8-kWh battery pack in the carbonfibre body. Its upgraded powertrain includes a Speed Key like its big brother, the Chiron.
The Pur Sang version is targeted at collectors. This offers the same powertrain as the Vitesse but with hand-formed aluminium bodywork. Using the same traditional coachbuilding techniques as the original Bugatti Type 35, each aluminium body takes more than 200 hours of skilled craftsmanship to create.
Variable speed limit and power
Still rear wheel drive like the original, all versions of the Baby II have a limited slip differential, high performance hydraulic brakes and selectable driving modes. The Base model can be limited to 20 km/h in Novice mode while Expert mode limits speed 45 km/h with a maximum of 4 kW of power.
The Vitesse and Pur Sang versions include the Novice and Expert driving modes but also offer extra performance from the upgraded powertrain, unlocked by the legendary Bugatti Speed Key. This allows for up to 10 kW (13.4 bhp) to be used. With a total weight of just 230 kgs, the Baby II will be spinning the Michelin tyres as it sprints from standstill to a 70 km/h top speed. Depending on the weight of the driver, 0 – 60 km/h could be done in just 6 seconds.
Although the Baby II would not be legal on public roads so its driver won’t be travelling to the grocery shop down the road, the base lithium-ion battery pack combined with regenerative braking can give up to 25 kms of range on a single charge, with the larger battery pack in the Vitesse & Pur Sang doubling that figure. That means longer driving sessions on the test course around the home.
Like the full-sized electric cars, there’s the same balance of performance or range. If the driver prefers to enjoy the full performance of the Baby II, then the range would of course be less. If recharging is too time-consuming, the battery pack can be easily taken out and replaced with one already charged and ready to do.
Authentic handling too
When it comes to handling, the Baby II is completely true to its mythical predecessor, the Bugatti Type 35. Based on a digital 3D scan of an original Lyon GP car with identical geometry and suspension, the handling is as authentic as an enthusiast could hope for.
The only nod to modernity is the introduction of adjustable dampers, allowing tailoring of the handling in ways not possible in the Type 35’s heyday. Bugatti’s test driver, Andy Wallace, was also involved in the final development of the tuning and set-up of the Baby II.
Other features which will appeal to enthusiasts include faithful working replicas of the original Type 35’s instruments, with some adaption for modernity. The turned aluminium dashboard is as present and correct as it was on the original Type 35, and custom ‘EB’ switches operate the LED headlights.
The car can even be customised in multiple colours for both the exterior and interior, including the exact same solid shades available on the Chiron, and an online configurator is available.