2016 Geneva Preview: Peugeot-Citroen rolls out 400 HP electric GT concept

If you’re introducing a new premium brand to an unfamiliar market, it’s customary to build a halo car, a vehicle that will inspire customers and tastemakers to take you seriously. Alfa Romeo recently did it. Hyundai, too. And next week at the Geneva Motor Show, Citroen will join them with this, the DS E-Tense.

Now, to be fair, the E-Tense can’t necessarily be equated with production cars like the Alfa 4C or Genesis G90. And given Peugeot-Citroen’s track record of routinely pumping out very elegant, very strange and very conceptual design studies, it’s likely that is where the E-Tense will stay. But if this all-electric grand tourer cross between an Audi R8 and Lexus RCF is an indication of the sort of thing we can expect from the future of France’s newest luxury nameplate, consider our interest piqued.

The E-Tense — like everything now — is powered by an electric motor delivering 396 hp and 381 lb.-ft. of torque to the rear wheels, mounted we’re not sure where. Wherever it resides, the E-tense could certainly use all the grunt it’s got, given the combined mass of the electric drive system and lithium-ion batteries. Despite a carbon-fiber monocoque, the concept weighs in at just shy of 4,000 lbs. Still, Peugeot-Citroen tells us it can reach the European-mandated limit of 155 mph and hit 60 mph from a standstill in just 4-and-a-half seconds.

But let’s be honest with ourselves; the purpose of a concept like this is to wow the eyes first, and deal with logistics later. According to the press release, 800 man hours were devoted to designing the E-Tense inside and out. It certainly shows. The chiseled fenders, generous side intakes and tapered profile at the rear make quite a statement of performance, as does the lack of a rear window. In addition to the aforementioned Audi and Lexus cues, there’s also some Honda hiding in the E-Tense’s headlights and taillights. The proportions obviously indicate a mid-engined layout, but the long-slung passenger compartment emphasizes comfort. That, coupled with a solid driving range of up to 224 miles before a recharge, is exactly what you need in a GT.

—By: Adam Ismail