Peugeot Quartz (2015) first pictures: it’s a French Steppenwolf! | CAR Magazine

Peugeot Quartz (2015) first pictures: it’s a French Steppenwolf!

Published: 18 September 2014 Updated: 26 January 2015

The French car makers always go for a big splash at the Paris motor show and this autumn’s expo will be no different; the wedgy Peugeot Quartz concept car is proof of that.

It’s a new look at the crossover sector, ‘blending the heightened expression of a next-generation SUV with the punch of its more high-performance models,’ says Peugeot.

The Peugeot Quartz is certainly no slouch; the company claims it has a 493bhp power train.

What’s the point of the Peugeot Quartz concept car?

‘With the Exalt and Quartz concepts, the brand is showcasing its vision of the high-end automotive market,’ says Maxime Picat, CEO of Peugeot. ‘Peugeot is committed to developing exclusive concepts for its customers through outstanding design, innovative materials and unparalleled sensations.’

Car makers always say this kind of fluff about new cars, especially concept cars. But it appears there may be more to the Quartz than meets the eye.

Peugeot has shied away from large cars in recent years – it’s topped out with 508 – but could it be about to re-enter larger, more distinctive segments? The Quartz is a hint that it might be…

That’s why it’s been experimenting so boldly with materials in recent concepts. The Quartz seen today for the first time has basalt, digitally woven fabric and chiné leather in a bid to make it stand out.

Peugeot Quartz in detail

This is a proper crossover, the offspring of an illegitimate fling between an SUV and a ‘saloon’, says Peugeot. It reminds us a bit of the Audi Steppenwolf concept, mating 4×4 with coupe top.

It’s 2060mm wide for a low stance, exaggerated by the chunky 305mm section tyres riding on whopping 23-inch alloy wheels. And at 4500mm long, it’s a couple of fingers shorter than an Audi Q5.

Tech spec of Peugeot Quartz

With a 1.6-litre THP petrol engine tuned for 266bhp and 243lb ft by Peugeot Sport, the Quartz isn’t short on grunt. It’s allied to a full plug-in hybrid system, driven by a pair of 85kW electric motors, one at each axle.

This gives the Quartz four-wheel drive off-road capability – especially when the air suspension adjusts to give up to 350mm of ground clearance – yet it can also travel 30 miles on zero-emissions full electric mode.

There’s even a camera which reads the road surface ahead, like Mercedes’ semi-active chassis. Combined with the mapping onboard, it prepares the Quartz for all kinds of surface ahead.

Is it all pie in the sky though, right?

On the face of it, almost certainly. We can’t see Peugeot putting this product into production in anything approaching this spec.

And yet… The Quartz is based on the PSA EMP2 mid-sized platform family, meaning there are production innards lurking under there somewhere.

Strip away the composite bodywork, retractable steps for boarding and volcanic basalt materials – it makes us wonder if the Quartz could presage a new, bolder mid-sized crossover from the French. How good could that be?

>> Should Peugeot put the Quartz into production? Click ‘Add your comment’ and tell us

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, car news magnet, crafter of words