This new Citroën Wild Rubis concept car shows the French manufacturer's intent to join the luxury SUV ranks with a stylish new offering.
The Wild Rubis, which formed the centrepiece of the French car maker’s presence at the Shanghai motor show, closely previews a new Chinese-market-only production model that is planned to crown Citroën’s upmarket DS brand when it goes on sale in 2014. The model is likely to take the name DSX7 Hybrid-4 into showrooms.
The car is 4.7m in length, 1.95m in width, 1.59m in height and boasts a 2.9m wheelbase. Autocar sources confirm the Wild Rubis sits on a modified version of the DS5’s platform.
It showcases a new petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain to be offered as part of a range of driveline options on the production version that will likely make its premiere at next year’s Beijing auto show.
The hybrid plug-in drivetrain comprises a transversely mounted 225bhp 1.6-litre THP petrol engine combined with a 69bhp electric motor that is positioned on the rear axle. The electric motor is powered by lithium-ion batteries that can be recharged from a domestic socket. The two power sources give Wild Rubis four-wheel drive capability.
Wild Rubis can run in full-electric mode, with zero emissions, over a range of 31 miles. The electric motor also provides a boost function when the driver acclerates hard, augmenting the petrol unit to provide at total of 291bhp. The car is also capable of 43g/km of CO2 emissions in its most frugal driving modes.
The concept automatically switches to four-wheel-drive mode when it senses that grip conditions are poor, although the driver can also deploy 4WD manually.
Citroën’s design boss Thierry Metroz, told Autocar he is particularly proud of the car’s detailing. The car’s light elements retract behind glass when not needed and the 3D taillights are shaped to show the DS logo. The bright roof rails descend to define the rear end shape of car.
The new Citroën SUV is similar in size to the Volkswagen Touareg – just one of a number of established luxury SUV offerings Citroën development Pierre Monferrini counts among the rivals for the production version of the Wild Rubis, which is planned to be produced in co-operation with Citroën’s Chinese-based joint-venture partner, Dongfeng.
Plans are to initially offer the production version of the Wild Rubis exclusively in China. However, Citroën suggests it may also be added to its European line-up as part of plans to position the company’s DS brand against the likes of Audi, BMW and Volkswagen.
The Wild Rubis, which hints at a Citroën DS SUV, is likely to evolve into one of three new DS models. Citroën will launch the next DS model – a C-segment saloon – in early 2015, followed by a big saloon tipped to carry a DS6 badge.