I’m afraid I have to be the bearer of bad news: Peugeot has no plans to make a production version of the utterly stunning, 504 coupé-inspired e-Legend Concept – although the firm’s design chief Gilles Vidal admitted to us that he’d “love to”. I’d love the company to, as well. I suspect you would too.
If you strip out the electric powertrain, autonomous driving technology and eye-catching future-looking interior, the e-Legend concept is a fantastically styled car. It’s wonderfully retro, yet also fresh and modern. To my eyes, it has as much American muscle car about it as stylish French coupé.
It looks like the sort of car you really want to drive. By looking to the past for inspiration, but without getting caught up in full-on retro pastiche, Peugeot has made the future look cool.
Which is notable, since an awful lot of self-driving concepts don’t. A large number of such machines take the form of minimalist driverless pods, accompanied by lots of talk about ‘mobility’. They’re worthy, and significant, and interesting. And, yes, such machines will eventually be part of our future.
But they forget one key part: lots of people love cars. Lots of people love driving cars. And a lot of people – and I’d imagine this includes most of you – don’t really want to imagine a future without cars that you not only can drive, but want to drive.
Vidal told me that Peugeot’s goal with the e-Legend is to prove that autonomous electric cars can still be stylish, dynamic and fun. Job done. If this is the future of autonomous driving, count me in (as an aside, Peugeot isn't alone in reckoning on the importance of drivers: BMW's development chief recently said the firm will never produce a car without a steering wheel).
In fact, the job might even be done a little too well, because the e-Legend is surely too stylish to just be a concept. Not only that, but if you stripped out that future tech and launched a car with that design onto the market today, I think Peugeot would be onto a winner. It would probably be really good with a thundering, American-style V8 engine in, although in a world moving towards electrification and low-emissions, that might be a step too far.
Still, regardless of what engine was used, if Peugeot could make a production version of the e-Legend that was anywhere near as good to drive as it is to look at, I reckon it'd be onto a winner.
Which is why it's bad news that there are no plans to build one. Still, Vidal and his team are clearly very proud of the e-Legend concept, and you sense that, if a business case could be made, there's a slim chance a production version – or something close to it – could happen. Perhaps if we all ask nicely.
So, go on Peugeot, you know you want to. Please…