Archive for peugeot rcz

Peugeot 608?

Posted in Desirable machines, Upcoming cars with tags , , on 06/12/2011 by Alexander

I got this splash from the French AutoJournal magazine’s website: I couldn’t believe my eyes. A Peugeot that looks phenomenal, from front to back. The RCZ is a cool car, but somewhat ruined by the ugly stretched face as I’ve pointed out before. This 608, if it turns out to look like this, will be a pleasure to look at, especially in contrast to its hideous predecessor, the 607.

However, will it sell? The Citroen C6 is iconically beautiful, and has garnered praise for its looks and and comfort, and excels in these respects the German offerings. However, its sales are dreadful, as car-makers simply can’t pry customers away from the Audi/BMW/Mercedes badge-snobbery that runs so deep among motorists with enough cash to afford a car in this segment of the market. That said, however, this 608 certainly looks more consensual than the extravagant C6.

I’ve always been one to root for the underdog, and also for what’s different and sets itself aside from the dominant norm. So if this Pug lives up to the dazzling aspect it has in the above picture, I wish it success.


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.

A question of coupés (3)

Posted in Crap cars, Desirable machines with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 18/02/2011 by Alexander
  • The French It’s debatable whether the French have consciously tried to put up a fight with the Germans in the coupé segment. Some notable adversaries were the legendary Citroen SM, the Renault Fuego and the lovely Peugeot 504 coupé, but to be honest, it would seem that the cheese-eating so-and-so’s have decided to leave that niche alone and focus on more mainstream segments. Which is definitely a pity, because they’ve always put up an interesting fight.

    Peugeot 407 coupé – Argh. What a bloody awful car. If looking at it on its own isn’t dismal enough, when you consider it was preceded by beauties such as the 504 and 406 coupés, it makes you wonder what the hell were Peugeot thinking. Both the 504 and 406 had a fantastic trait that was to be able to be different from their saloon versions, making them look like whole new models even though they were practically the same. And they were gorgeous. This 407 coupé manages to incorporate all the ugliness of the saloon version and none of the inherent coolness of coupés.

    Peugeot RCZ – Dang, this thing’s nice. I’ve said it before, though my prediction that it would become a runaway success was biblically wrong (I tend to never be able to foresee which cars will sell like hotcakes and which will flop terribly). I won’t delve into its pros and cons, because I’ve already done that in the article linked above, but I’ll say this: it blows the Audi TT out of the water in every way (except for sales, by the looks of it).

    Renault Laguna coupé – Renault don’t delve much into the coupé market. Fortunately for car lovers, they did, with the Laguna coupé. And what a courageous move it was, with Renault making a car for one of the most badge-snobbing segments of the market. The result is interesting, to say the least, a breath of fresh air in a segment dominated by mostly the same solutions. The Laguna suffers from looking too much like its saloon counterpart (as you can see by now, it’s a common sin), which in turn was ugly to start with. So much so, in fact, that it’s the first version of the Laguna and one of the only Renaults that’s not disputing the top sales spot in its segment. Anyways, even though the Audi A5 is the best rational choice for a coupé, this two-door version of the Laguna is the best emotional choice available. And that’s important, since buying a coupé isn’t rational to begin with.

  • Citroen – Citroen doesn’t have a coupé in its line-up, and hasn’t had a proper one since the fantastic SM back in the 70’s. Which is a huge loss to anyone who appreciates cars, because when Citroen delves into the upper end of the market, it always makes something interesting, beautiful and that usually ends up getting cult status, as the DS, CX, SM, XM and C6 attest (not that their lower-end cars are bad, in fact, they’re quite the contrary in most cases). The problem is, if Citroen were to decide sit down and make a coupé right now, it wouldn’t be as good as it should, given that Citroen’s current styling cues are debatable to say the least. And Citroen wouldn’t consider it, since their strategy nowadays is to try to imitate the Germans and steer clear of their fantastic but risky projects. Just look at how they’ve abandoned future development of both the current C6 and a successor. Morons.