This sleek four-door saloon is Citroen's Numero 9 concept, due to be exhibited at the upcoming 2012 Beijing motor show. Hybrid power lies beneath the sultry shooting brake body.
Ooh la la! Tell me more about the Citroen Numero 9...
Continuing the DS sub-brand's upmarket push, the Numero 9 hints at a possible future executive saloon model for the range - DS9, anyone? - but festooned with typically French verve and joie de vivre design details. It's as if the design brief was to imagine the love child of a Ferrari FF and Citroen DS5.
The Numero 9 sits on 21-inch wheels, with its glassy roof just 1.27m off the ground. The 4.9m length and wide-set headlight and grille treatment accentuate the car's ground-hugging stance, while the fastback rear profile and aerodynamically shaped pillars contribute to a low drag figure. Even those mammoth wheels are sculpted to scythe through the airstream with minimal fuss.
Why is the Numero 9 slipperier than a greased eel?
Despite its show-stand home, the Numero 9 isn't just an arty sculpture on trick rims, it's actually a further showcase for Citroen's burgeoning hybrid commitment. The 1500kg Numero 9 gets a 220bhp 1.6-litre petrol motor under the bonnet, tasked with driving the front wheels, and an electric motor on the rear axle good for a further 70bhp.
What's more, the lithium-ion batteries which run the electric motor can be charged from a domestic power socket, giving a 30-mile zero-emission range after a three-and-a-half hour charge, says Citroen.
When the two powerplants combine for swift overtaking or all-wheel-drive traction in slippery conditions, the Numero 9 boasts a total of 295bhp via a built-in boost function, helping the Numero 9 to 62mph in 5.4 seconds.
The all-important green credentials are pitched at 166mpg and 39g/km of CO2. Don't you just love plug-in hybrids?
I love them when they look like this! Is the big French car making a comeback?
Perhaps, but don't expect the UK to be a hunting ground for healthy sales if the Numero 9 concept does indeed morph into a Citroen DS9.
As Citroen and its partner Peugeot learnt with the C6 and 607 respectively, the market for luxury French saloons has largely dried up here, and we prefer to take our Gallic purchases as superminis and family hatches.
If the DS9 does emerge in the next couple of years, it'd likely be directed squarely at the Chinese market, where low-emission, premium saloons from Western manufacturers are very much hot property.
>> What do you think of the Citroen Numero 9 concept car? Does Europe deserve to see a showroom version? Leave your thoughts in the comments below