Peugeot Quartz concept hides a 500-hp hybrid under its rocky exteriorThu, 02 Oct 2014 19:40:00 EST
Peugeot is going through a bit of a rough patch recently with Dongfeng and the French government coming to its rescue earlier this year. For the 2014 Paris Motor Show, the company is bringing out everything it can to show strength to the home market. Among the automaker's concepts this year is the high-performance Quartz that imagines a very tough crossover.
True to its rocky name, the Quartz looks chiseled from a block of stone with sharp, angular lines covering the whole body. Up front, its LED headlights are recessed behind the hood's overhang to lend a menacing demeanor, and the louvers in the side of the hood take the angry appearance even further. It also rides on some seriously weird 23-inch wheels with composite flaps to direct airflow.
Underneath the long hood is Peugeot's 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 270 horsepower and a six-speed automatic. However, the setup is augmented with an electric motor hooked up to each axle boosting total system output to 500 hp. Alternatively for a greener drive, the Quartz can drive 31 miles on an electric charge.
It seems pretty unlikely that Peugeot could ever translate all of this automotive insanity to a production model, but bravo to its designers for coming up with the Quartz. Scroll down to read the full announcement for this high-performance, hybrid CUV.
PEUGEOT Quartz concept: an exceptional crossover that is a thrill to drive
PEUGEOT has been building on its lead in the crossover market since 2009. With the Quartz concept, it has unveiled a new vision for the segment, blending the heightened expression of a next-generation SUV with the punch of its more high-performance models. There is an original athletic air about both the exterior and the cabin, both of which boast an outstanding design and innovative materials, featuring basalt, digitally woven fabric and chiné leather. The Quartz i-Cockpit is fully focused on driver needs while helping to harness the potential of the PEUGEOT Sport-developed 500 hp drive train and intelligent running gear.
With the Exalt and Quartz concepts, the brand is showcasing its vision of the high-end automotive market. PEUGEOT is committed to developing exclusive concepts for its customers through outstanding design, innovative materials and unparalleled sensations.
Maxime Picat, PEUGEOT Brand CEO
PEUGEOT's style strength lies in its prowess in tackling a sedan or hatchback just as effectively as a crossover to create the kind of stylish car that people would really love to own.
Gilles Vidal, PEUGEOT Style Director
An ultra-athletic crossover
The strong, powerful, sporty style of the PEUGEOT Quartz is clear from the outset. Its shapely design combines the body of an SUV with the cabin of a sedan.
Its road-holding capability is immediately evident in the front end, which spans 2.06 metres in width, sitting on broad, 305 mm tyres. The lighting system features LED units for improved efficiency. The lens-free headlamps are enhanced by a light guide that emerges from the side of the body to divide the air flow. The lion logo stands in the centre of the grille, brought to life by a checked pattern that shifts depending on the angle of view.
In profile, the sleek lines ably convey the dynamic feel of the concept. The 23-inch alloys and Continental tyres sit inside generously rounded wheel arches. The overhangs are extremely short to ensure that as much as possible of the 4.50 m body length is used for the vehicle's occupants. The engine is nonetheless given pride of place under a long bonnet enhanced by louvres that improve air intake. The electronically retractable step adds to a flank inspired by styles found in the textile industry, with fitted pleats fastening the material taut to the structure while lending volume to the wheel arches.
The upper section of the cabin gives the impression of a single block in which the various functions have been carved. The metallic arches encase and attach the polycarbonate windows to the body, enhanced by a sculpted body form that captures the light. They also add to the vehicle's silhouette by lending a mineral look to the overall finish.
As it flows towards the rear wings, the glass roof moulds into two spoilers that further enhance the aerodynamic design. These are aligned with the separator between the two Quartz finishes: mineral grey at the front-inspired by rock crystal-and matt black for the rear wings, offset by occasional splashes of red.
The Quartz's efficiency is underscored by the precision of each feature and component. The spokes on the 23-inch alloys have been kept to the bare minimum made possible by the strength of the materials, and are covered by composite flaps. In addition to their style, these flaps also optimise aerodynamic flow and cooling for the brakes, via the air intakes, to ensure improved heat resistance.
The PEUGEOT Quartz is a single block into which an SUV bottom and sedan upper have been seamlessly carved. Styling reflects the function of each part. The Quartz's sculpted body and innovative materials pack a punch while ensuring efficiency.
Matthias Hossann, PEUGEOT Quartz Style Manager
The cabin showcases innovative, efficient materials
A new manufacturing process was used to remove the need for a central pillar and create scissor doors to enable easy access. The Quartz is based on an EMP2 platform with a composite structure and bonded panels. In addition to weight savings, this solution offers excellent stiffness, which makes it possible to remove the structural support provided by the central pillar.
A retractable step adds to the comfort of all four passengers. Inside, a range of unexpected materials from both natural and recycled sources contribute to the sensory experience and create an impressive visual and tactile effect.
The Quartz has a contrasting interior and exterior. The cabin is designed to convey a sense of warmth through its sophistication and refinement. Yet the overall feel is undeniably sporty, with an i-Cockpit dedicated to the driver's every need.
Sébastien Floutier, PEUGEOT Quartz Colour & Trim Designer
The strength and lightness of basalt symbolises the Quartz itself and features strongly in the centre console. Basalt is formed when magma is quickly cooled once it comes in contact with the elements. It has the same properties the world over, making sourcing for target markets much easier. In this case, the basalt is left in its raw form to contrast with the other materials used.
The Quartz is the first-ever vehicle to feature digitally woven textile. This innovative process can create large and complex parts that can be used as soon as they come off the machine. No cutting is required, meaning there is no waste. The textile is woven with polyester fibre obtained by recycling the kind of plastic used to make water bottles. The process can also produce parts of significant thickness, making them softer and reducing the need for the foam normally used.
Leather is of course present, in keeping with the greatest automotive traditions. To create a sportier feel, the floor pan, sides and roof are trimmed in black leather, with contact points such as seat cushions and backs trimmed in tawny leather. This fawn-coloured trim is sourced from old furniture and clothing.
To complete the look, the door frames are milled in a block of a composite material, with a red hue used to fill the grooves left by the machine. The resulting pattern of lines creates a sense of movement, which constantly changes the appearance.
A driver-dedicated i-Cockpit
Inside, each of the four passengers has a bucket seat providing optimal interior space. The seat structure is left exposed and features a four-point retractable harness, with floating cushions and backrests trimmed in tawny leather to ensure excellent comfort.
The driver's seat has a solid wraparound fit to match the car's high-end performance, with the PEUGEOT i-Cockpit keeping everything at the driver's fingertips. The compact steering wheel with embedded controls is borrowed from competition models and offers the utmost efficiency, allowing the driver to use the indicators, change driving mode and shift gears with ease. The head-up display provides a large, configurable screen with a central 45-degree polycarbonate strip to show additional information and create added depth.
The instrument panel is found on both sides of the small steering wheel and head-up display and is angled toward the driver to ensure easy access to the toggle switches. On activating one of these controls, the driver sees the information travel along the relevant optical fibre.
A high-performance drive train
The Quartz concept's sculpted styling requires an outstanding engine. Developing a total of 500 hp, the full-hybrid plug-in drive train comprises a combustion engine and two electric motors.
The evocatively embossed bonnet houses the 1.6L THP 270 power plant developed by PEUGEOT Sport. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, the four-cylinder engine delivers torque of 330 Nm, with a specific output of nearly 170 hp per litre, making it one of the world's top performers. The front axle is also driven by an 85 kW electric motor with direct drive. This charges the 400 V battery during deceleration phases and assists the combustion engine with gear changes. The rear axle also features an 85 kW electric motor for propulsion and battery charging. A specific ESP handles braking distribution between the four wheels to ensure both vehicle stability and optimise battery charging.
There are three driving modes: ZEV can cover up to 50 km on a single battery charge using the plug-in battery; in Road mode, the combustion engine and front electric motor work together to enhance driving pleasure and maximise battery charging during deceleration; Race mode harnesses the power of the engine and both electric motors to get the most out of the chassis and running gear equipped with limited-slip differentials. This makes it possible to divide torque between the wheels based on the individual grip of each.
To use the system to its full potential, the Quartz front axle employs bespoke McPherson struts, with a multi-arm arrangement on the rear, including on-board electric motor. The pneumatic suspension automatically adjusts ground clearance between 300 and 350 mm. This function is controlled by an optical system that literally reads the road, using cameras linked to a navigation system to anticipate changes in the road surface.
The Quartz concept delivers an outstanding drive. Performance, responsiveness and intuitiveness ensure unparalleled enjoyment behind the wheel. The Quartz showcases a novel PEUGEOT approach to high-end sports models.
By Chris Bruce
See also: Peugeot Quartz Concept is sinister 500-hp hybrid crossover, Peugeot heirs go back to the grind after losing automaking business, Peugeot warms things up with new 308 GT.