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First look: Citroen previews new Picasso

Lounge lizard: The slinky Citroen C-Sportlounge concept offers a roomy 2+2 seating arrangement while the production version is likely to offer at least five seats.

French maker to unveil latest hint at next-gen C4 Picasso at Frankfurt

17 Aug 2005

CITROEN has revealed yet another concept that hints at what its next-generation C4 Picasso mini-people-mover will look like.

The C-Sportlounge, as it has been dubbed, will receive it first public airing at next month’s Frankfurt motor show – two years after the French manufacturer’s first Picasso-heralding concept, the C-Airlounge, debuted.

Due to appear in final production form at next year’s Geneva motor show, the new C4-based Picasso mini-van will eventually replace the top-selling current model, which is based on Citroen’s aged Xsara small car.

Riding a resurgent compact people-mover market alongside vehicles like Renault’s original Megane-based Scenic, the current Xsara Picasso was so successful in Europe that the British market accounted for all of Citroen’s global right-hand drive production capacity.

That, along with the lack of an auto version until mid-way into its model life, was why the first Picasso was never sold in Australia – despite the model being homologated locally.

Next time round, says Citroen, right-hand drive production capacity will be increased to meet demand, and a wider variety of engines and transmissions will be available from launch.

All of which means the Picasso to be previewed at Frankfurt has a far greater chance of being sold in Australia, competing for customers in the diminishing market segment now almost solely owned by the Scenic II.

For now, however, the C-Sportlounge concept offers a distinctive combination of powerful, sleek lines and 2+2 comfort and refinement, and is claimed to capture "the true essence of a 21st century Grand Tourer".

The sleek newcomer boasts an imposing front end, with large chiselled air intakes and elongated, clear-cut headlamps that feature a strong chrome sight-line that travels up to the roof along one of two A-pillars.

The car’s eye-catching demeanour is further enhanced by flared wheel-arches, a wide stance, high waistline and dramatic alloy wheels.

33 center imageC-Sportlounge’s sweeping lines have been designed to optimise aerodynamics and result in a drag coefficient figure of just 0.26.

Inside, the driver benefits from an aviation-inspired design. Like the Citroen C4, the steering wheel has a fixed centre boss and controls.

There are also gearchange paddles, while the one-piece driver’s seat and central console adjust to ensure that the automatic gearbox and climate-control systems remain within reach, whatever the seat position.

High-quality materials contribute to the luxurious ambiance of the interior, where a light and airy feel is ensured by the large windscreen and sunroof. C-Sportlounge is fitted with reverse-opening doors for easy access to the rear seats.

While the production version is certain to gain at least five seats, it is unclear whether the latter feature will make it onto the final Picasso product.

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