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First look: Citroen unveils Metropolis limousine

Big boy: Citroen's Chinese limo, the Metropolis, will make its debut at Expo 2010 Shanghai.

Surprise new Metropolis concept heralds Citroen’s super-sedan for China

20 Apr 2010

CITROEN has revealed one of the largest models to wear the double-chevron badge – the stunning Metropolis concept - that dwarfs long-wheelbase BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 and Mercedes S-class limousines.

The French car-maker will unveil its surprising new super-saloon concept – its first car wholly designed in China for China – not at this week’s Beijing motor show, but in the French Pavilion of Expo 2010 Shanghai, which runs for six months from May 1.

Measuring some 5.3 metres long, a whole two metres wide – making it as broad as the Maybach 62 – and just 1.4 metres high, the Metropolis follows in the footsteps of large Citroen saloons such as the long-wheelbase ‘Presidential’ versions of the legendary DS from the 1960s.

Its global debut in May will also follow the world-first reveals of other large new models in Beijing this week, including the Audi A8L, the long-wheelbase BMW 5 Series and facelifted versions of the Maybach and Volkswagen’s Phaeton.

Should the Metropolis reach production, it will follow a number of PSA Peugeot Citroen models built exclusively for the Chinese market, including the stretched four-door sedan version of Citroen’s C4 hatch, which continues to be built in Latin America.

33 center image The Metropolis is based on a stretched version of the PSA Group’s Platform 3, which underpins sister company Peugeot’s 407 and Citroen’s largest current model, the C6, and also forms the basis of Peugeot and Citroen models built in China in a joint venture with local manufacturer Dongfeng Auto.

In February, Peugeot chose Beijing to reveal its new locally designed 408 sedan, which is based on the 308 Touring and is likely to be sold in Australia, while last month’s Geneva show hosted the debut the ‘5 by Peugeot’ concept, which is expected to morph into the 508 – a replacement for both the 407 and 607.

The first vehicle to be styled and developed from scratch by PSA’s Shanghai design studio, which has operated since 2008, it is aimed primarily at the growing chauffer-car market in what is now the world’s largest vehicle market and Citroen’s second-biggest market.

However, the Metropolis could also eventually be positioned above the C6 as Citroen’s new flagship outside China.

The Metropolis develops a number of design cues first seen on the Hypnos concept, including a full-width Citroen logo and kite-shaped grille up front, upright intakes in front of the front wheels and almost identical door mirrors.

Of course, it also comes with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain – rather than the full-electric system employed in Citroen’s most recent show car, the Survolt two-seater coupe at Geneva last month.

This time, however, Citroen has not fitted a variation of PSA’s upcoming diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain, but a new petrol-electric system that combines a 2.0-litre V6 with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and an electric motor that develops a continuous 40kW and peak power of 70kW.

While the Metropolis runs in zero-emissions EV mode at low speeds, the petrol V6 kicks in with a claimed 200kW and 375Nm of torque when required.

Citroen says that both power sources can combine to deliver maximum output of 345kW and 430Nm – similar to a 4.0-litre petrol V8, but with one-fifth of the CO2 emissions at just 70g/km.

To harness it, the Metropolis has a switchable all-wheel-drive mode, plus Citroen’s latest Hydractive suspension system.

Covering the generous curves and ultra-honed detailing of the Metropolis show car is a ‘Pearl Silk’ paint colour that is said to change under different light conditions.

While signature Citroen styling touches include a concave rear window and chromed side window surrounds, unique exterior design elements include an active rear spoiler and ‘origami’ quarter-lights that appear to float in the air and also house a light source.

The Metropolis’ huge turbine-style 21-inch wheels wear wide 265/35-section tyres.

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