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Car and Driver: Bristol and the Blue Sky: England’s Most Eccentric Sports-Car Maker Launches the Bullet


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It’s been two years since we first told you about the plans of Bristol, arguably Britain’s most eccentric low-volume sports-car maker, to build a new model. Back then, we were told that the company was planning its relaunch for 2015, and that the new car would have a hybrid powertrain.

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Neither of those things has happened, and although development of the gasoline-electric version is said to be still underway, the Bristol Bullet will be powered by a BMW-sourced V-8. We’re also told that production is expected to begin in early 2017, although it’s fair to say that we’re not holding our breath on that one.

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We’re not going to be rude about the way the Bullet looks; that’s what the comment section is for. We’ll limit ourselves to observing that if, as Francis Bacon said, there is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion, then the Bristol’s bathtub stance and contrasting sharp and curved detailing make it very excellent indeed. The official line from the factory is that the car was styled by an eminent Italian designer who “chooses to remain anonymous.” To the point where, we imagine, has since gone into hiding.

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Bristol Bullet

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Bristol says that the new Bullet is based on a prototype discovered at the back of its factory. We’re told that it has carbon bodywork over a bonded-aluminum chassis, materials that Britain’s low-volume carmakers seem to prefer since the nation’s ash trees started to die out. The company claims that the car weighs just over 3000 pounds, and that its naturally aspirated 370-hp 4.8-liter BMW V-8 will enable it to dispatch the 0-to-60-mph dash in under four seconds on its way to a 155-mph top speed.

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Both left- and right-hand-drive versions will be available, although Bristol isn’t planning to sell the Bullet in the U.S. The company says it hopes that future models, which will use an electric powertrain with a small, range-extender engine, will come here. Only 70 Bullets will be built with the official price given—with aristocratic inexactitude—as being “around £250,000.” That’s $331,000 at current exchange rates.

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