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Metropolis to top Citroen’s DS line

Grande auto: Citroen's Metropolis limo is expected to go into production as the DS9.

Citroen plans production versions of the Metropolis limo and plug-in Survolt coupe

21 Jul 2010

CITROEN’S gigantic Metropolis limousine concept and the plug-in electric Survolt coupe showcar both appear destined for production, judging by comments made to Britain’s Autocar.

The French brand’s flagship C6 sedan has been a resounding failure both in Europe and Australia, but PSA Peugeot Citroen design chief Jean-Pierre Ploué says a production version of the Metropolis would provide Citroen with a more convincing answer to top-shelf sedans such as the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-class and Audi A8.

“We cannot afford to let the likes of Audi, Mercedes and BMW forge into Citroën’s heartland supermini territory without fighting back and pushing into theirs,” Mr Ploué told Autocar, in reference to a rash of new premium small cars including the Audi A1.

The PSA design boss suggested to Autocar that a Citroen-badged version of the Metropolis, which made its world debut – wearing Citroen’s double-chevron logo - at Expo 2010 Shanghai in China on May 1, would be a lucrative proposition for the company in markets like China.

But he made it clear the production Metropolis could also be sold in Europe – and potentially therefore Australia – as a flagship for Citroen’s new DS sub-brand, badged as the DS9.

“Selling large luxury cars in Europe is not easy at the moment, but I believe Citroën has a great deal more to bring to the market,” he said.

“A large, characterful DS flagship model – we could call it a DS9 to reference the original DS19 – could do great things for us.”

33 center imageLeft: Citroen Metropolis concept. Below: Citroen Survolt.

If the Metropolis reaches production, don’t expect the DS9 to top the DS range before 2012, after the release of the (new C3-based) DS3 in Australia in September and the European launch of subsequent (C4-based) DS4 and (C5-based) DS5 in 2011.

While the C6, which was also designed by Mr Ploué, measures a Commodore-like 4.9 metres long, the Metropolis dwarfs both it and its potential long-wheelbase German rivals at 5.3 metres long and a whole two metres wide – making it as broad as the Maybach.

At the same time, the low-slung Metropolis, which follows in the footsteps of large Citroen saloons such as the long-wheelbase ‘Presidential’ versions of the legendary DS from the 1960s, is just 1.4 metres tall.

The Metropolis is based on a stretched version of the PSA Group’s Platform 3, which underpins sister company Peugeot’s 407 and Citroen’s largest current model, the C6, and also forms the basis of Peugeot and Citroen models built in China in a joint venture with local manufacturer Dongfeng Auto.

Befitting its high-tech brief, the Metropolis, which borrows a number of design cues from Citroen’s Hypnos concept, comes with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain rather than the full-electric system employed in Citroen’s more recent show car, the two-seater Survolt.

This time, however, Citroen has not fitted a variation of PSA’s upcoming diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain, but a new petrol-electric system that combines a 2.0-litre V6 with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and an electric motor that develops a continuous 40kW and peak power of 70kW.

While the Metropolis runs in zero-emissions EV mode at low speeds, the petrol V6 kicks in with a claimed 200kW and 375Nm of torque when required.

Citroen says that both power sources can combine to deliver maximum output of 345kW and 430Nm – similar to a 4.0-litre petrol V8, but with one-fifth of the CO2 emissions at just 70g/km – through a switchable all-wheel-drive system.

Meantime, an unnamed source has told Autocar that Citroen also planned to put the Survolt sportscar into low-volume production, and that the French maker is “pursuing the idea of a one-make race series” for the plug-in coupe.

Citroen produced a running prototype of the Survolt concept, which debuted at the Geneva motor show in March, that completed demonstration run at the Le Mans Classic race meeting last month.

It was powered by the same 185kW electric drive system as the compact concept, which measures 3850mm long, 1870mm wide and 1200mm high.

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