High-riding 19_19 concept is overtly futuristic, but not entirely unrealistic, according to company boss Linda Jackson

The huge wheels of Citroën’s radical 19_19 concept car, built to celebrate the marque’s 100th year, are likely to appear on new models during the 2020s. 

“People are bored,’ said Citroën CEO Linda Jackson at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. “They need a new look, and with the big wheels you get a different posture. The biggest impact of electrification will be on SUVs”.

The 19_19 indicates a return to the more radical thinking that Citroën has been famous for, and while much of this car has been conceived for 2030, Jackson says “I only do concepts where I can test things.” 

Among its defining characteristics are its high-riding shape and the massive, 30in wheels that deliver this, its full electric drive, the motor and battery packaged into a skateboard structure, its full autonomy – with the option to drive – and lounge-style seating arrangements.

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“The 19_19 has high seating and next-generation tyres developed with Goodyear,” says design director Pierre Leclercq. 

The freedom to repackage the car around a skateboard is allowing Citroën to experiment, the big wheels concept providing plenty of potential benefits. One is that the occupants ride higher without the need to build up the vehicle’s bodywork, while also providing plenty of ground clearance. 

Narrow wheels are more aerodynamic, the frontal area of the exposed lower portion of the tyre much smaller, while the reduced width of the contact patch is to some extent compensated for by the patch’s greater length. Large wheels also allow for the installation of in-wheel motors, besides dramatically altering the proportions and stance of the car. 

A drawback is the potential compromise of ride comfort – a major Citroën signature – which is why Goodyear was enlisted to help with their development. “They spent a lot of money on the concept,” says Leclerq. “The next five years is not just going to be an evolution – I want it to be more than that. We’re facing the biggest change in the car industry with the changes in technology.”

Citroën product chief Xavier Peugeot says that Citroën's “next cars will challenge their class codes, as SUVs have done.” 

Peugeot adds that “it’s too early to explain the recipe,” but when asked about the benefits of using tall, narrower tyres, says “I agree. We need different silhouettes in the coming years.”

Read more

First drive: Citroen 19_19 concept review​

Linda Jackson: a day in the life of Citroen's charismatic CEO

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2019: Citroen turns 100​

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Comments
12

19 July 2019

Ride comfort is NOT worsened by increasing the diameter of wheels - bicycles have big wheels exactly because they ride better than small ones.

Wider tyres do deteriorate ride (greater chance of hitting road surface imperfections) and, obviously, lower profile tyres have less flexibility in their sidewalls.

So, all other factors being constant, 30” diameter narrow wheels ought to give a much better ride, though packaging them inside the overall envelope of the car and a tight turning circle may be more difficult.

Robbo

19 July 2019
Aussierob wrote:

Ride comfort is NOT worsened by increasing the diameter of wheels - bicycles have big wheels exactly because they ride better than small ones.

Wider tyres do deteriorate ride (greater chance of hitting road surface imperfections) and, obviously, lower profile tyres have less flexibility in their sidewalls.

So, all other factors being constant, 30” diameter narrow wheels ought to give a much better ride, though packaging them inside the overall envelope of the car and a tight turning circle may be more difficult.

Robbo

It's the increased mass of huge car wheels that imapcts ride quality.

19 July 2019

But innovative wheel materials mitigate this effect and plastics or composites may compensate.

The ratio of sprung to unsprung mass is only one factor in ride quality and, as I said, the larger the diameter the better the ride so it’s far from clear which has the greater effect.

Besides which, and despite everything else, larger wheels do look better!

Robbo

19 July 2019
Aussierob wrote:

But innovative wheel materials mitigate this effect and plastics or composites may compensate.

The ratio of sprung to unsprung mass is only one factor in ride quality and, as I said, the larger the diameter the better the ride so it’s far from clear which has the greater effect.

Besides which, and despite everything else, larger wheels do look better!

Robbo

For sure. It's not cut and dried. Citroen must think there is a potentially acceptable comprise.

19 July 2019

- used to be, but not since the hydro-pneumatic system was phased out has any Citroen excelled in ride quality.  The new "hydraulic cushions" system hasn't exactly lived up to the hype either.

19 July 2019

 Do we think Citroen would have the moxy to put something like this on the road as is?

MrJ

19 July 2019

If this Citroen handles as well as it looks, I will take a test drive.

19 July 2019

People are bored of car stylists continually trying to re-invent the car and come up with something that looks "new" and "different", regardless of whether it's an improvement in practical terms. 

19 July 2019

People are bored of car stylists continually trying to re-invent the car and come up with something that looks "new" and "different", regardless of whether it's an improvement in practical terms. 

20 July 2019

it's a philosophy that brought us the original Mini, Jaguar E-type and numerous Citroens.

If "designers" are given a free reign, then we'll end up with hopelessly impractical inefficient cars that will appeal to three year olds. I'm pretty sure that 30in wheels are not the optimal size for any car and - while they may look good to some - will bring about all kinds of problems in respect of ride, handling, packaging, steering lock, fuel consumption, and cost. 

Citroen has a glorious past, but looks lost for the future. 

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