What better way to usher in a new era of state-of-the-art design than to roll it out in the form of a 680bhp ultra-sleek prototype supercar? This is precisely what Peugeot had in store for us at the 2012 Paris Motorshow when the covers came off of the remarkably futuristic Onyx concept sportscar. Powered by Peugeot Motorsport’s 908 LeMans-proven V8 hybrid diesel, the Onyx was a concept that would’ve packed as hefty a punch on the road as it did visually. Alas, the Onyx’s wheels would never get to taste the tarmac in production guise and the concept remained just that.
However, continuing on the same geological theme, Peugeot have revealed details of a brand new concept for the 2014 edition of France’s premier motoring extravaganza. Showcasing more in the way of next-generation design and technology, the all new Quartz concept crossover will be breaking cover in Paris in a few weeks’ time. For now, here’s a sneak peek of what we can expect to see in the French capital.
Based on the same platform as the current 308, the Quartz is the latest in a long line of futuristic SUV concepts aimed at testing the water as manufactures everywhere join the clamour to grab and ever more sizable portion of the highly lucrative crossover pie. With their latest effort, Peugeot have focused their attention on three major areas; styling, innovative materials and hybrid power.
With the French marque currently in the midst of profile shift towards the higher-end of the market, the Quartz showcases Peugeot’s more luxury vision for the future. A clear example of this is the luxury saloon-esc long bonnet that dominates the front of the car, punctuated by angular inlets that improve airflow to the engine. Surrounding the trademark Peugeot lion badge is a red and black chequered patterned grille that shifts depending on the angle it is viewed from. Further back, the Quartz’s glass roof flows in to the rear section of the car and flutes up to meet the distinctive split rear spoiler. The chunky looking rear owes much more to the SUV stand of its DNA and is aptly finished in a menacing matt black to contrast the stony mineral grey of the front three quarters. The Quartz’s sizable wheels are particularly attention-grabbing thanks to the complex geometric pattern of the rims which feature only a handful of composite spokes, optimising air flow and brake cooling.
Enter past the scissor doors and retractable step plate and you will be greeted with a pretty high-tech and sporty interior layout, dubbed by Peugeot as the i-Cockpit. The race inspired compact oval-shaped steering wheel bristles with knobs and levers giving the driver instant access to different driving modes and gear shifts. A configurable head-up display and instrument panels are positioned around the wheel in a set-up that seems to mould itself around the driving position. As for the rest of the cabin, the Quartz gets bucket seats front and rear, with the sport-based design further accentuated by black leather trim which adorns the floor pan, side panels and roof.
Much of this state-of-the-art cockpit is formed from digitally woven textile, a material never before seen in a car. In layman’s terms this means that complex components can be conjured up and shaped with minimum wastage, ticking the all-important green box.
Part and parcel with this environmentally friendly persona is hybrid technology and the Quartz concept certainly delivers on this front. Nestling under that shapely bonnet is a 1.6 litre petrol engine mated to a pair of electric motors, driving each axel independently.
The combination of Peugeot’s 272bhp internal combustion engine together with the two 85kW electric motors gives the Quartz plug-in hybrid an impressive overall output of 500bhp in its most unchained ‘Race’ driving mode. For the more sedate countryside or motorway jaunts, ‘Road’ mode calls on the front mounted electric motor to supplement power from the petrol engine. And for the most green-minded and fuel conscious, ‘ZEV’ mode can engage battery power alone to carry the Quartz up to a top-end range of 31 miles, with a delicate touch behind the wheel of course.
This SUV crossover has to be the most interesting Peugeot concept since the Onyx debuted at Paris two years ago, with several intriguing new design directions being teased to the public. Formal introductions to the Quartz concept will be made from the 4th October when Peugeot unveil their latest creation in the flesh in the French capital.