The Paris Motor Show opens its doors in about a month and in the lead up we can expect to see previews of some tantalizing concept cars and new models. One of the first to surface is Citroën's forward-looking CXperience Concept.
Where most concept vehicles either hint towards a new model in the works or become ultra-futuristic showings of dreamy technology, the Citroën CXperience Concept rides a line between the two. From futuristic design elements to a plug-in hybrid powertrain that could underpin any vehicle on the road today, it's part "wow, they could build this tomorrow" and part "that will definitely never make it to production."
In terms of exterior design, the 4.85 meter (15.9 ft) long CXperience Concept sits somewhere between a big sedan and a station wagon, without being either. The profile is marked by short overhangs, a curved hood and a fastback-styled rear, while from the front, the car's flat-nosed look is accented by a lack of grille work and slim LED lighting on either side.
Movable flaps on the front corners are designed to better utilize airflow and aid maneuverability, and at bumper level, self-adjusting louvers control airflow into the engine compartment.
There's also a distinct lack of side mirrors. These have been replaced by small arms housing cameras that project an image to a small screen just inside the door. Hidden around the car are more cameras, creating a 360-degree view for parking.
The rear doors open back towards the rear of the car, out to a full 90-degrees from the bodywork, while the front doors open forward in the same fashion.
At the rear, the split LED tail lamps subtly mimic the chevrons, similar to the front daytime runners. The flat tail section has a subtle exhaust port set on either corner and a "mobile fin" below the concave rear glass that lifts at speed.
Inside, bright yellow fabric inset with light, textured walnut wood dominates. The dash has an upward curve and is split down the center to create a shelf across its width. A large 19-inch touchscreen covers most of the central dash, and a squared-off single spoke steering wheel pays homage to Citroëns past. Above that, on the dash, is a wide heads up display unit onto which most of the vehicle's instruments are projected.
The rear seat is one continuous bench, with the backrests split in two. The headrests house speakers tuned to create an "audio cone" for each passenger. Infotainment is controlled via that 16:3 aspect ratio touchscreen, which is intended to be large enough for all of the Citroën CXperience's occupants to see it easily. A range of connected services are available on the screen, including home and garage controls, as well as data streaming for music and movies.
Also showcased in the Citroën CXperience is the company's new ConnectedCAM, a wide-angle camera that first premiered in the new Citroën C3. Acting as an integrated dash cam, it allows the user to capture video or still photos from near the driver's perspective.
Powering the CXperience Concept is a real-world plug-in hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain. The engine size is not specified, but it's said to produce up to 200 bhp, with an 80 kW (107 hp) motor adding power to that. These combine through a transversely-mounted eight-speed automatic transmission, which powers the rear wheels. A total of 300 bhp is available from the powertrain. In all-electric mode, Citroën says the CXperience has a range of about 37 miles (60 km) on a full charge. Its battery can be charged in 2-½ to 4-½ hours, depending on the charging system used – and in a nice touch the the rear lights act as battery charge indicators.
Citroën has promised to fully unveil the CXperience Concept at the Paris Motor Show, complete with working interior technology. We'll be there to bring you full details.
Citroën presents the CXperience in the video below.