Frankfurt show-goers may need a double-take when they spot Citroen’s latest concept car, whose nose bears more than a passing resemblance to sister company Peugeot’s new family face.
Headed by a gaping grille and long, swept-back headlights, the dramatic C-SportLounge is the double-chevron’s interpretation of a ‘grand touring car’. Although it sits on the C4 hatchback’s platform, insiders deny that the C-SportLounge previews the as-yet unnamed Xsara Picasso midi-MPV replacement. That car is likely to remain more conventional when it appears in production form next autumn (though a concept version may be unveiled earlier in the year) before going on sale late 2006.
The C-SportLounge raises the dreaded ‘crossover’ tag, this time Citroen reckons it has created a car that mixes the qualities of a coupe and a people carrier. Like last year’s C-AirLounge concept, it hints at the French marque’s future styling direction rather than introducing a new model, but the duo could preview a move for Citroen towards a new breed of cars with an emphasis on long-distance comfort and refinement – a priority on the autoroutes of continental Europe - hence this concept’s wind-cheating drag coefficient of just 0.26.
The cabin is accessed via long front doors and Mazda RX7-style ‘suicide’ doors to the rear. No images of the cabin will be released before the show, but Citroen claims to have taken aircraft inspiration for the four-seater’s interior. The raised driving position features a driver’s seat fixed to the centre console, so the two move in tandem to keep the main controls within reach, and the steering wheel boasts a C4-style fixed-hub and shift paddles for the automatic gearbox.
Though a production version of either of Citroen’s ‘Lounge’ concepts is unlikely before late 2007, expect design cues and details such as the swept-back screen merging with the all-glass roof to filter down to forthcoming models.