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Real world takes a back seat with Citroen GT concept

Simulated sex: Gran Turismo driving simulation game experts designed Citroen’s salacious GT sportscar concept.

Citroen GT is a digital fantasy - but real-world eco concepts also emerge in Paris

3 Oct 2008

THE ‘crossover’ vehicle Citroen presented at this week’s Paris motor show is the most salacious sports model the French manufacturer has ever produced in the modern era – but, alas, this is a crossover into a virtual world and there is little prospect of the ‘GT by Citroen’ reaching either a racetrack or a manufacturing plant.

Of course, that could change if its parent PSA Peugeot-Citroen decided to create a car to race alongside Peugeot’s Le Mans contender. For now, however, we must dive into another world – which in this case is the digital world and a partnership between Citroen and the Polyphony, designers of the Gran Turismo 5 driving simulation game.

Essentially a replica of a Playstation Gran Turismo racecar, ‘GT by Citroen’ is a stunningly crafted, heavily sculpted two-seater gull-winged coupe complete with a zero-emissions electric drivetrain and fuel cell stack.

Unsurprisingly, the technical detail pretty much ends there. But the styling is another story.

According to Citroen, the rear end is oversized and made exaggeratedly long in order to create an effect of “retinal persistence” – that is, to make it look visually fast – while the white-to-grey gradation on the bodysides further underline the impression of “continuous movement”.

33 center image Given the GT’s imagined velocity, plenty of attention was also paid to aerodynamic performance – as seen with the enlarged front air intakes, and the mobile rear spoiler and air diffuser. A flat underside was also created.

In raw dimensions, the GT measures 4960mm in length, 2080mm in width and 1090mm in height. The large wrap-around windscreen is designed to add to the impact of the car’s powerful size and presence, while blue LED headlamps and slim-line carbon-fibre wing mirrors have a futuristic feel.

Much less subtle are the massive diamond-effect 21-inch alloy wheels housed under the steroidal wheelarches.

The cabin is dark and kitted out with two leather racing seats, four-point harnesses, a low-slung driving position (with a red LED heads-up display) and copper and steel finishing.

“With its flowing lines, original architecture and its use – in the game – of what is potentially the best environmental technology, ‘GT by Citroen’ embodies the sporting spirit as seen by Citroen and underlines the marque’s ambitions to meet new challenges,” Citroen said in a statement this week.

Polyphony Digital president and Gran Turismo creator Kazanori Yamauchi said the concept demonstrates “how the worlds of virtual and real-life motoring can join together”.

“To see the car take shape in game and then for real has been a truly unique experience as our work normally stays in the digital world,” he said.

Visitors to Citroen’s stand at the Paris motor show can drive the GT in a ‘true-to-life’ simulator.

Also on the French manufacturer’s stand is a hybrid World Rally Car concept – the C4 WRC HYmotion4 (pictured above) – which features the diesel-electric all-wheel drive hybrid technology that will be seen on Peugeot and Citroen models from 2011.

On the rally concept, HYmotion4 includes a 125kW electric motor-generator connected to the rear differential (gear driven), a pack of 990-cell lithium-ion batteries (delivering 400V) positioned over the fuel tank, two additional cooling systems for the motor-generator and batteries (with a specific radiator positioned under the right-hand side of the floor) and an electronic control unit to manage the system’s power electronics circuit.

According to Citroen, the system enables a proportion of the kinetic energy produced during braking to be recovered and stored. This energy is accumulated by a motor-generator in the form of electricity in the battery pack, which can then be employed either to deliver extra power when accelerating or to drive the car using emission-free electrical power alone, with no engine noise or exhaust fumes between rally stages.

As such, the driver can also select from four running modes: internal combustion engine mode (using a modified EW10J4S 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four engine) internal combustion engine mode with energy recovery (activated on stages, improves the brakes’ resistance to fade and charges the batteries) electric motor mode with energy recovery (used on untimed road sections, in built-up areas or in the service park, contributes to increasing the car's range, reduces noise in built-up areas) and boost mode, which combines the internal combustion engine and electric modes (can be selected at the desired moment on a stage to benefit from an additional 300Nm of torque for a limited time).

The AWD hybrid drivetrain that will appear on production cars from 2011 is based a 2.0-litre HDI diesel engine paired with a six-speed automated gearbox. HYmotion4 is designed to boost the performance of the diesel-electric drivetrain with a “high-torque, high-power” rear-mounted electric motor that drives the rear wheels, while the diesel engine runs the front wheels, thus providing “a whole new type of all-wheel drive”.

The system debuted in Paris on the Peugeot Prologue and Citroen Hypnos.

HYmotion4 technology gives drivers the advantages of all-wheel drive, such as increased safety under conditions of reduced grip, without any of the usual drawbacks (increased weight and higher fuel consumption),” the company said.

“HYmotion4 offers all the benefits of a hybrid diesel-electric drivetrain by delivering exceptional performance: the drivability and efficiency of a diesel engine in highway driving, which exceed those of a gasoline engine the quiet running, zero fuel consumption and zero emissions of an electric vehicle at low speeds, especially in city driving lively acceleration thanks to the power boost from the electric motor even at low diesel engine speeds energy recovery while decelerating or braking and four-wheel drive.”

Read more:

First look: Hypnos heralds Citroen’s diesel-hybrid

First look: Prologue previews Pug's off-road plans

First look: Peugeot hybrid coupe concept

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