The elegant design lines of the C-MÃ©tisse, the latest out-of-this-world concept car from CitroÃ«n, will be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show later this month. Exceptionally stylish and powerful, the C-MÃ©tisse proves that a high performance car can also be green, combining a top speed of 155mph with the ability to cover around 45 miles per gallon on the combined cycle.
Crammed with hi-tech innovations and neat touches, the C-MÃ©tisse explores new paths in car design and driving pleasure. Breathtakingly good looking, this model combines coupÃ© styling with 4-door practicality thanks to the show-stopping gull-wing front and rear doors.
In particular, the C-MÃ©tisse has been developed to offer outstanding environmental credentials. It boasts an economical HDi V6 diesel engine, coupled with an acclaimed Diesel Particulate Filter System, and two separate electric motors on the rear wheels, capable of developing a massive 400Nm of additional torque. Around town the new concept car can even run in Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mode.
With its unique and powerful style, this 4-seater, 4-door coupÃ© is visually striking. It is also exceptionally low for a grand-tourer of its size, at just 1.24 metres high, which contrasts with its length of 4.74 metres and width of 2 metres. And with its long bonnet and virtually non-existent rear overhang, its design is classically CitroÃ«n.
Both outside and in, the C-MÃ©tisse takes styling to another level. The front doors open gull-wing style, while the rear doors spin round to provide outstanding accessibility for a car of such a low height. The large, eye-catching alloy wheels have been specially designed, with central wheel nuts hinting at the model's sporting nature.
Once inside the 'aircraft-style cockpit', occupants are enveloped by the extremely comfortable, individual white leather seats, and are surrounded by smart leather trim and aluminium inserts. Each of the passengers benefits from independent air conditioning controls, individual roof lighting and plenty of space.
The driving position has been designed to make life as easy as possible for the driver. The car can be started via 'fighter pilot' style buttons on the roof console, while the fixed-centred controls steering wheel, with mounted gear paddles, brings the essential driving and comfort aids within easy reach.
The unique central console is divided into five sections, within which are located key functions. The console then extends into the cabin via three illuminated strips which inform passengers of the current mode of hybrid propulsion. This lighting system is complemented by sound effects that accompany certain driver actions and indicate deployment of the airfoils.
A suspended head restraint and electric adjustment of the steering wheel and aluminium pedal assembly optimise the driver's line of view, while maintaining passenger space in the rear.
Further helping the driver to view the road ahead, the front headlamps are equipped with a row of LED's that light up progressively, dependant on the steering-wheel angle and vehicle speed, to provide optimal lighting and increased driver awareness through every corner.
A combination of the diesel hybrid power unit, optimised aerodynamics and reduced weight ensure that the C-MÃ©tisse offers outstanding levels of performance, fuel economy and a healthy respect for the environment - the C-MÃ©tisse can return around 45 mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of just 174g/km.
Powering the front wheels is a 208bhp V6 HDi diesel engine mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox, whilst a further two electric motors can drive the rear wheels. Providing an innovative 4-wheel drive capability, each of these motors can deliver up to 400Nm of torque and 20bhp.
The C-MÃ©tisse is focused on providing real driver pleasure and sets extremely high standards for out-of-town driving, as demonstrated by a stunning 0-62 mph acceleration time of just 6.2 seconds and impressive mid-range performance that sees this remarkable concept accelerate from 50-75mph in 4.2 seconds.
Driving pleasure is increased by a 'boost' function, activated under heavy acceleration, which activates to provide the immediate torque required. This combines the torque of the combustion engine with that of the electric motors that drive the rear wheels to enhance performance without pushing up fuel consumption.
This is achieved without compromising safety as, with the boost function and electric motors activated, the vehicle engages 4-wheel drive mode. ESP sensors are also capable of reporting low grip conditions to operate the electric motors, again ensuring that C-MÃ©tisse offers impeccable traction in all conditions.
The diesel hybrid drivetrain comprises a pack of high voltage batteries to supply the electric motors. Placed in the centre of the vehicle, the pack is automatically recharged during deceleration phases. The drivetrain and braking control unit automatically manage the energy configuration: transition from 2 to 4-wheel drive, energy recovery and the recharging of batteries.
All of which means that around town the C-MÃ©tisse can be driven in ZEV mode, a completely silent all-electric mode that helps limit fuel consumption and pollutant emissions. With the diesel powerplant running, CitroÃ«n's acclaimed Diesel Particulate Filter System ensures that virtually no particles are emitted into the atmosphere.
In keeping with recent concept cars from the Marque, the sculptured curves offer exceptional aerodynamics for optimal vehicle performance and fuel economy. Enlarged front air intakes, a flat underside, two retractable rear airfoils together with a rear fixed-fin spoiler contribute towards an excellent drag coefficient of 0.30.
Particular attention has also been paid to reducing the weight of the vehicle so that it requires less power to run, uses smaller amounts of fuel and therefore emits fewer pollutants. The carbon fibre body helps reduce the entire weight of the C-MÃ©tisse to just 1,400kg, including batteries.