Archive for Citroen C-Airplay

Dream Garage #11 – Citroën C-Airplay

Posted in Desirable machines, Dream garage with tags , , , , , on 08/05/2011 by Alexander

Yes, yes, I know. Yet another Citroën. But I simply cannot pass this one up, as it is one of those cars I’d gladly trade for nearly any other one of the members of my dream garage.

The Citroen C-Airplay was introduced in December 2005 at the Bologna Motor Show. Maybe it was the venue, maybe it was too close in time to the C-SportLounge or C-Buggy, I don’t know, but the general reception seems to have been lukewarm at best, because Citroen decided not to pursue the model, either with a production version or even the styling cues. From what I personally recall, the most off-putting feature for most people were the little tinted windows mounted low down in the doors. I suppose people were concerned strangers would be able to perceive defects in their legs in traffic jams or something.

It’s just such a pity and waste that this gorgeous, gorgeous car was left to wallow in the mire of Forgotten Concept-Car Oblivion. That lovely shape and the charming tininess would have made for a cracking city car. I look at it and reminded of the Fiat Nuova 500, which the C-Airplay preceded by more than a year, and judging from the success of the Italian car, Citroen probably had a winner on their hands and didn’t realise it.

And look at it! How much closer could this have been to production version? Yes, the interior is far too outlandish for the mass market, but the outside was bang on. The handsome headlight and the grill arrangement underneath them, the central exhaust pipe, the concavities in the doors, the little wheels a the corners… it’s just all so wonderfully balanced and dynamic-looking.

I also loved that incredibly pretty targa roof, which would’ve been a certain success amongst the target clientèle (which would be those who went for the Fiat 500 cabrio), though a more consensual interior along with more standardised rear seats would’ve been necessary. The rear seats would probably only allow legless dwarves to occupy them in a minimally comfortable manner, but if the Fiat 500 and the Peugeot RCZ get away with it, then so could the C-Airplay.

The absolutely insane interior that could only exist in a concept car was a bit weird. The front seats were joined up with no central column down the middle, like on most cheaper cars up to until about twenty years ago, and the seatbelts were attached to the car in the middle (as you can see in the picture). The interior was all covered in rubbery plastic or something, which the usual PR car-designer prattle said it was to “enhance sensory perception” or some bollocks like that. The steering wheel layout was very cool, very much in line with the fixed central hub introduced with the Citroen C4. I don’t know about the display though, with only the rev-counter and speedometer plainly visible for the driver to see. The end result is a Spartan as opposed to minimalist (e.g., BMW interiors are truly austere and purely functional, with the feeling that joy and enthusiasm weren’t on the designer’s mind – thus Spartan; a Volvo on the other hand, has a very simple interior, with no fussy mannerisms, but very nicely balanced, giving a sense of comfort and welcoming – that’s minimalist). Though the colour and the concept are truly meant to make the innards of the C-Airplay come across and young, fun and funky, I think it must’ve seemed featureless and bare to the casual beholder, and that’s probably another reason why it didn’t receive an enthusiastic reaction on being presented.

And I’m saddened that I’m writing this entry in this way, since it sounds like I’m writing an obituary. It’s been more than five years since this car was shown, and judging by the current crop of Citroen’s and their styling, and the general direction the company is heading in, this concept’s future development is probably definitely very dead. Unless of course, some absolutely whacky executive at the Marque comes along and decides to resurrect the project. This probably isn’t that whacky an idea though, since there is a market for funky little city cars, and the styling still looks great today. Smacks me more as wishful thinking on my part, though.

Ah well. Maybe one day I’ll be filthily-rich enough to go up to some high-standing figure at Citroen and commission a replica of one or buy the concept version. I definitely would do that. I just wonder if such a thing is possible.


Amazing! Upcoming Peugeots may not be crap

Posted in Crap cars, Desirable machines, Upcoming cars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 25/11/2009 by Alexander

After slagging off Peugeot, and especially the 3008 quite ruthlessly, here’s an entry to prove I’m not a mindless Peugeot hater. The above image came from here, and the fanfair is grand.

Take a look at Peugeot’s new baby coupé! Auto Express has learned that the Lion is getting ready to roar into the small sports car market with this sensational 2+2, which boasts Ferrari style at an affordable price tag.

Phwoar! A insy-bitsy Ferrari! I’m being a little sarky, but let’s be honest: it looks good. Gone are the ridiculous Peugeot grills and exaggeratedly swept-back headlamps. This seems promising! Let’s read on:

Small coupés are big news! You don’t need big engines and a huge price tag to have fun, which is why pint-sized sports cars are making a comeback.

And we’re then treated to a list of future coupés that fill the above criteria, which stupidly include a MINI Coupé (a stupid concept, since the MINI is already coupé-ish, and if you look at the pictures it resembles a MINI that’s previously had cartload of bricks tipped on it) and a Toyota Prius Coupé (?!?!?? I thought a criterion was it had to be fun and pint-sized? How can a bloated, soulless object like a Prius ever be either?).

But is the news of this Peugeot coupé too good to be true? Yes. Sifting through the comments, an interesting datum popped up. The Hyundai Veloster Coupé concept looks suspiciously similar. In fact, it’s obvious this Peugeot coupé was Photoshopped from the Hyundai, which gives us two possibilities; either Peugeot is teaming up with Hyundai to give us a common platform car; or the most certain, AutoExpress has been duped. Besides, after the announcement of the 308 RC Z, it would be stupid for Peugeot to compete with itself before the 308 RC Z was even available.

But fear not! If you, for some unfathomable, irrational, bile-swelling reason have a fancy for the Lion brand, Peugeot have decided to make a car that, at first glance doesn’t completely suck.

Dubbed the 508, it marks the return of the “5” at the beginning of the designation, and harks back to my personal Peugeot favourite, the 504. It’s based on the RC HyMotion 4 concept of 2008, which shows Peugeot at least manages to make good use of its nicer concepts, unlike, say, Citroën, who ignore the C-Airplay. But I digress. This 508 car looks crackingly good, and not just for a Peugeot. It reminds me of an old Bugatti four door saloon, the EB112, which never saw the light of day. It has the same sort of profile and fundamental concept.

In conclusion, it’s a sign that upcoming Peugeots may not be dreary crap after all.

Citroën C-Cactus/Essentialle

Posted in News, Upcoming cars with tags , , , , , , , on 29/09/2009 by Alexander

Photos of Citroën’s upcoming C-Cactus-based economical hatchback have been leaked.

Rumours are rife that Citroen is planning to establish a new eco-brand to sit below its standard models, which in turn sit below the recently introduced DS premium range. Called ‘Essentiale’ the new sub-brand would focus on low-weight, simplicity of design and affordability – and the C-Cactus is mooted to be the first member of the Essentiale family when it goes on sale in 2012.

The philosophy of simplicity and ditching of superfluous equipment places the C-Cactus as a spiritual succesor to cut-price Citroens of the past such as the legendary 2CV and lesser-known Citroen Visa. If the 2007 concept is anything to go by, the entire dash structure could be ditched to cut weight and provide additional room in the cabin.

The interior might be purposefully low-tech, but under the bonnet a three-cylinder diesel engine mated to an electric motor should provide class-leading fuel economy, and mark the start of a new wave of cheap but reliable hybrids.

I personally would’ve preferred a dead ringer for the Citroën C-Airplay, one of the best-looking concepts Citroën has come up with in recent years. This model isn’t exactly ugly, though I do have my reservations on Citroën’s new front grill aesthetics, based upon the dubiously-styled new brand symbol.


Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 10/09/2009 by Alexander

The speculation around Citroen’s “new 2CV” is over. It’s not a new 2CV, it’s just a concept car that takes styling cues from Citroen’s old Deux Cheveux. Called the Revolte, it’s a curvy, canvas-topped hatchback, with some similarities to the C-Airplay. I think it would be fairer to say it’s more a C-Airplay pumped up on steroids than a modern 2CV. I seriously doubt it would find a niche in Citroen’s current line-up, if not the space about to be left by the saddening halt in production of the C3 Pluriel.

For something so suddenly hyped, and as mouthwatering as a new 2CV, this was a bit of a disappointment.

Thoughts on the (possible) return of the 2CV

Posted in Desirable machines, News with tags , , , , , , , on 05/09/2009 by Alexander

Autocar makes no mention of the word 2CV, calling it ‘Citroen’s mystery concept car’ and predicting it to be a new C1. Motorspain rejects out of hand that this could be a new C3 Pluriel, because the new C3 has been presented. L’Autojournal makes an interesting point, noticing the grooves on the bonnet, similar to those of that of the original 2CV.

I’ve photoshopped the original picture to see If I could get any sort of other clue:
official citroen photo_psed
Not much can be ascertained, though it looks a lot to me like a revised version of a Citroen C-Airplay.

Now I loved the C-Airplay. It was a beautiful concept car and I was saddened by the fact that it seemed a prodction version wouldn’t be made. The prospect of it being a new C3 Pluriel is also mouth-watering. The Pluriel has reached the end of its life as a production car and Citroen have announced they’ll stop making it later this year. If it is a new 2CV, there’ll be a lot of hype around it, and I just hope it lives up to it.

If you think of current retro-cool cars, the new VW Beetle, the Mini and the Fiat 500 spring to mind. The Fiat is great, a funky little car that might just save Fiat after many years of absolutely abysmal cars. The VW isn’t so cool, having aged and losing most of its shine. The Mini doesn’t really resemble the original that much and doesn’t really convince me.

The thing is, all of the above cars were originally conceived to be mass-market, super-cheap wheels for everyone. Their iconic status is due to their longevity and large sales, and car manufacturers want to cash in on that. That’s fine. But their new versions are nothing more than hideously expensive clothing accessories, driven by rich little weasels between the hippest spots in town.

The original 2CV was just like the original of these new versions: dirt-cheap, put French peasants on wheels, lasted 42 years in production and sold around 4 or 5 million units. Citroen want to cash in on this wave of retro-cool new hip young car thing, and that’s fine. I honestly do hope a new 2CV somehow escapes the fashionista market, but then again, that’s probably what it’s for.

Or is it? Citroen have unveiled the DS3, a competitor in the “premium small car segment” (i.e., the stupid rich kids niche). Will it make another car to compete with itself? Methinks not. Which really pisses me off, since it’ll mean “no, this isn’t a new 2CV”. I just hope it isn’t just another concept car, though if it is a pre-production model, my bet is it’ll be a new DS4 or DS5.