Archive for concept cars

Citroen DS9: China only

Posted in Car conception, Upcoming cars with tags , , , , on 20/03/2012 by Alexander

The past 24 hours on good car blogs have been awash with news of a new Citroen. Citroen’s Facebook page published two teaser pictures some hours apart, and Autoblog Espanol were the first to advance that it as a China exclusive DS9 (apart from usually being the first, they’re also usually correct). Not long before, News2zest had published two pictures, one of a veiled Citroen concept car in Paris, and another photoshopped rendering of the aforementioned car mish-mashed with one of the teaser pictures. I’m not too sure about this last one though, since it looks very similar to Citroen’s previous concept, the Hypnos.

It’s interesting either way, since this will mean a probable successor to the Citroen C6, though it remains to be seen if this new car will maintain the high standards of Citroen’s current flagship model. On the downside, if the Metropolis concept is anything to go by, cars tailored for Chinese sensibilities might not actually work that well in the rest of the world. Perhaps the upcoming Beijing Motorshow will see the DS9’s unveiling, and we’ll see if this is true or not.

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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.

Murray T25

Posted in Car conception, Green Tech, Upcoming cars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 28/06/2010 by Alexander


Gordon Murray’s long-awaited small urban car has finally been unveiled: the T25. Now for something so anticipated, and being associated to the resounding name of the McLaren F1 guru, the hype is considerable. This may very well go against it, in a Segway sort of way, since everyone was expecting something like Colani’s Egg and what they’ve got is a three-seat Smart car.

Comparisons to the Smart car are inevitable. So-called compact parking, reduced engine, low top-speed, etc.,etc. If based solely on this, the T25’s outlook is grim. Smart cars are the vehicle of choice for all sorts of stupid drivers who go far too fast in town and simply screw other drivers over with their selfish parking, but I’ve covered that. The three-seater concept seems interesting, but it’s a bit specific. This probably only appeals to one-child families, or people with only two friends, although the one-child families would fancy a decent boot.

So it seems to have all the pros and cons of a Smart plus an extra seat. What’s so revolutionary about that? The big thing about this car is its manner of manufacture, called iStream that “slashes the investment, factory space and energy required for manufacturing”, and that could be the entire basis for its success. Applied to other cars, then this may be truly revolutionary, in a Ford Model T sort of way. The official details also suggest the scheme could be used for non-automotive purposes, without which the sound of things were enticing enough.

This could also mean the rebirth of British-owned motoring industry. Which is nice.

Revolte

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.