Peugeot e-Legend Concept debuts in Paris

Published: 02 October 2018

► The new Peugeot e-Legend Concept
► Half 504 retro, half future e-tech
► Revealed at the 2018 Paris motor show

Here’s a thought. An autonomous electric car that doesn’t look like a shuttle bus, but instead looks like a really neat coupe – a car you’d be delighted to see parked outside your house, and which would actually fit into your garage. Peugeot has tapped into its stylish coupe heritage for this all-electric e-Legend Concept that showcases a refreshingly retro vision of future transport.

The e-Legend Concept, which got its public unveiling at the Paris motor show, draws heavily on the 504 Coupe of 50 years ago, but also incorporates elements of US muscle cars.

Paris motor show: the CAR magazine guide

What’s the idea behind the Peugeot e-Legend Concept?

Its overall dimensions are close to the new 508’s – the concept is slightly lower and shorter – and the wheels are a plausible 19in in diameter. It’s a two-door four-seater with frameless windows and a glasshouse that closely resembles the 504’s.

The elegantly concave sides of the car connect muscular wheelarches, while at the front and rear the LEDs are styled like claw marks. There’s a grille and some strong vertical air inlets, giving the e-Legend much more of a ‘face’ than many electric concepts.

Matthias Houssan, concept car design manager, says: ‘We tried to keep some realism – the size of the wheels, the size of the glasshouse, which is not small like some concept cars, which are like caricatures. The fact that we managed to keep the car in a realistic scale is my favourite part.’

The 100kWh batteries are in the floor, with electric motors driving all four wheels. While stressing that this is a concept, not a prototype, Peugeot claims a power output of around 456bhp and 590lb ft of torque, with a top speed close to 140mph and a 0-62mph time below four seconds. Range would be around 370 miles – and a fast charge could get you 310 miles of range in just 25 minutes. It would also be equipped for inductive charging.

Into the blue: inside the concept car

The interior is every bit as striking as the body, mixing brash blue with dark wood and bronze, plus a giant screen and a retractable steering wheel and pedalbox for when the e-Legend is running autonomously. There’s a head-up display for when the driver is in control. The concept’s four seats have blue velvet upholstery, with the driver’s seat also supporting the centre console, which follows the same angular thinking as Peugeot’s current production i-Cockpit.

It has two autonomous modes: Soft, for chilled-out cruising with the screen minimised, and Sharp for those wanting to work or be entertained on the move. 

There are also two manual modes: Legend, which swivels three 504 Coupe-style dials into action and adds digital wood to the real wood, and Boost, which projects the road ahead on the 49in screen, turning the car – rather confusingly – into a giant simulator of the real world that’s happening outside at that very moment. The cabin changes will be accompanied by dynamic changes to the suspension and power characteristics.

Houssan says: ‘When driving is boring, you will be in autonomous mode, but when you want to drive you want the experience to be intense and exciting.’

How real is the Peugeot e-Legend?

Although it’s firmly a concept, it’s a runner… albeit at walking pace. The concept has a motor in the back, driving the rear wheels. CAR had a passenger ride, and found the ambience to be superb.

Peugeot 504 and Peugeot e-Legend Concept: which do you prefer?

Will it go into production? It’s certain to inform whatever Peugeot does next, whether that’s fully electric or perhaps not so far along the electrification spectrum. Insiders say five to seven years is a realistic target date for an all-electric production car. Peugeot is not aiming to be ahead of the curve – it’s aiming for the mass market, not the early adopter.

The e-Legend also incorporates a voice-activated digital assistant for use during autonomous driving; trigger phrase is ‘OK Peugeot’. A version will appear on production Peugeots within two years.

It’s not Peugeot’s first electric concept. Recent show cars have included the 2015 Fractal Urban Electric Coupe (which previewed the i-Cockpit) and the 2017 Instinct (a shooting brake that debuted many of the new 508’s design features). 

What’s different this time is the embrace of Peugeot’s own heritage to produce a gorgeous car that would look in place on today’s roads. Peugeot CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato speaks of the e-Legend embodying an ‘optimistic and ultra-desirable future’.

Browse all our Peugeot car reviews

By Colin Overland

CAR's managing editor: wordsmith, critic, purveyor of fine captions