Citroen's future perfect
6 September 2006

Citroën is raising the hybrid stakes with this dramatic Paris motor show concept, the C-Métisse.

Despite the sleek looks, the C-Métisse.is actually a four-door — the front doors open gull-wing style, while the rears spin round. Inside, it’s a genuine four-seater, thanks to a three-metre wheelbase. Citroën claims that rear passengers will have limousine-like levels of kneeroom.

But while the styling and packaging will attract looks at Paris, the most intriguing part of the C-Métisse is its hybrid powertrain, which combines a 208bhp V6 diesel driving the front wheels with two 20bhp electric motors at the rear. Citroën — which has already shown off a diesel hybrid C4 — could be readying the V6 package for use in a hybrid C6.

In regular use, the V6 engine does the bulk of the work. When greater acceleration is required, however, the electric motors — each of which produces 295lb ft of torque — kick in. And because they are driving the rear wheels, Citroën claims that traction improves as the extra shove is delivered. The C-Métisse will also employ its rear-wheel drive if it senses low grip at the front.

The motors are powered by a centrally mounted battery, but despite this hefty storage method, the C-Métisse tips the scales at just 1400kg thanks to extensive use of carbonfibre. That light weight helps the C-Métisse run from 0-60mph in 6.2sec, while also returning up to 43mpg.

The C-Métisse also builds on a couple of current Citroën features — the steering wheel hub is fixed and contains the majority of driver controls, and the headlights use variable LEDs that turn to help illuminate corners.

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