Citroen C-Metisse concept (2006): first official pictures | CAR Magazine
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Citroen C-Metisse concept (2006): first official pictures

Published: 05 September 2006 Updated: 26 January 2015

What’s this? Citroen remembering how to do sexy?

Something like that. This is Citroen’s Paris show-stopper, the C-Metisse, a four-door, four-seat GT coupe. The C-Metisse manages to marry style and some serious technology which makes it a perfect successor to Citroen’s sensational-looking and fearsomely complicated SM coupe of the early 1970’s.

It looks absolutely enormous.

And it is, in almost every dimension bar height. At 4740mm long, 2000mm wide and 1240mm high, it’s longer, wider and lower than a Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano and the wheelbase is a colossal 3000mm, making it longer between the wheels than a BMW 7-series. Which sounds impressive until you discover there are only three seats. Although a coupe, it has four doors, each opening upwards, Lamborghini-style.

So what’s going on under the skin?

Plenty. First off, there’s a conventional V6 Hdi turbodiesel up front, delivering 208bhp to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox. Then at the rear there’s a 20bhp electric motor inside each wheel. We’ve seen this intelligent solution to providing four-wheel drive hardware on show cars before, but it’s not yet made the leap to production. But the hybrid concept is familiar: in town the C-Metisse operates as a zero emissions vehicle using only its electric motors when it has a range of around two miles at 20mph. The motors can also be called into service out of town to boost performance too: Citroen reckons the C-Metisse can hit 62mph in just 6.2sec.

I haven’t seen a Citroen cabin that funky since the GS.

The steering wheel features the same fixed hub as the C4’s, the engine start button is inconveniently located on the roof lining to create a fighter jet ambience and the front seat head restraints are also suspended from above. The light strips on the centre console let passengers know which of the three possible methods of propulsion is at work while the driver is irritated by an army of noises letting him know when the aerodynamic devices are being deployed. Each seat gets its own air con controls stamped into the leather door panels and there are unusual luggage compartments behind the wheels adding additional storage.

So what are the chances of being able to wander down to your Citroen dealer in two years time and drive away in a C-Metisse?

Absolutely zero, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth your attention. The gullwing doors aren’t likely to end up on the next C3 for example, but Citroen has already committed to produce a production diesel-electric hybrid, although not til 2010 at the earliest. And you can expect the nose treatment, bar the gaping air intakes to feature on forthcoming models as well as other details like the rear lights.

By Chris Chilton

Contributing editor, ace driver, wit supplier, mischief maker