Here it is folks: in the flesh, doors open and with no red tablecloth obscuring the view. It's Citroen's GT Concept (or as they prefer to call it, the GTbyCITRO?N). Not only does its full unveiling at the Paris Motor Show spell the end of that exasperating teaser campaign, but it's also the first full appearance of the car in non-computer-generated form.
So, what're we looking at exactly? Well, according to Citro?n's press release (which you can read at the end of this article), the GT exhibited at the Paris Show is not so much a concept car, but a reproduction of a virtual vehicle. That's right, in the same way that the film Tomb Raider reversed the trend of video games being based on movies, the GTbyCITRO?N has become the first car to be modelled on one featured in a racing simulator. The simulator in question, in case you couldn't tell, is the latest installation in the best-selling Gran Turismo series, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue. The GTbyCITRO?N will become a playable car in that game at the conclusion of the Paris show.
Honestly though, with a body like that, it'd almost be criminal if Citroen didn't put the GT concept into production. With diffusers, splitters, intakes and heat chimneys sprouting out of every surface - and a roofline that appears to be hover around knee-height - the GTbyCITRO?N looks for all the world like a Le Mans racer clad in a designer suit. Not just a case of form following function, the GT's body showcases a design that manages to integrate utility with aesthetics in perfect harmony, and it's truly a beautiful shape to gaze upon.
Not only is it easy on the eyes, but Citroen also claims the GT has a positive effect on the environment too. Well, it would if the real-life concept had an engine (that is), for although the GT boasts a hydrogen-electric powertrain, it's eco-friendliness is very much confined to the virtual realm - for now.
Whatever, I'm just relieved we don't have to contend with any more of those damned teaser pics.
GTbyCITRO?N - CROSS OVER TO THE VIRTUAL WORLD...
With GTbyCITRO?N, a show-car presented at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, Citro?n becomes the first vehicle manufacturer to cross over to the virtual worlds: An original take on a road car, GTbyCITRO?N is a style replica of a vehicle from the digital world. The car is the result of a partnership between Citro?n and Polyphony, designer of the driving simulation game Gran Turismo 5 on Playstation 3. Already shipped in more than 50 million units worldwide, Gran Turismo is renowned for its quality, design and realism.
In the game, GTbyCITRO?N features an electric drive train powered by a fuel cell with no pollutant emissions. It is a car designed to square up to the strongest competition.
"GTbyCITRO?N shows how the worlds of virtual and real-life motoring can join together to create a truly innovative partnership. We were delighted that Citroen approached us and gave us the opportunity to combine our creative strengths to build this very special concept car. To see the car take shape in game and then for real has been a truly unique experience as our work normally stays in the digital world. I just hope I can get behind the wheel of GTbyCITRO?N and drive it on a real race track!" - Kazanori Yamauchi, President of Polyphony Digital Inc and creator of Gran Turismo
Performance first and foremost
GTbyCITRO?N is geared to the world of motor racing, with its dynamic styling, sculpted lines and sharp graphics. The rear end is oversized, made exaggeratedly long in order to create an effect of retinal persistence. The idea is to make the concept car even faster visually. The white-to-grey gradation on the body side further underlines this impression of continuous movement.
The cabin of GTbyCITRO?N, designed to seat two adults, expresses the grand touring vision behind this show-car. The on-board ambience allies premium, extensively worked materials with a more high-tech effect for the driving position.
The layout of the low driving position was dictated by driving pleasure. The aim is for the driver to be able to concentrate on the road, assisted by a head-up display clearly displaying driving information.
RACING SPIRIT BY CITRO?N
Power and flowing lines
The design of GTbyCITRO?N reflects a quest for optimal aerodynamic design. The show-car is a vehicle of flowing, taut lines, stretched to the extreme. The cleanly drawn sides, ribbed at the top, and the pearlescent shade of the bodywork enhance the vehicle's sleekly muscled looks.
The determined look of the front end is enhanced by wide air intakes and clear-cut horizontal headlamps. The headlamps feature penetrating blue LEDs in order to light the road effectively and keep rivals at a respectful distance! The chrome chevrons on the smooth bonnet express the Marque's identity.
The carbon rearview mirrors on their finely profiled supports appear to be suspended as if to cleave the air, giving GTbyCITRO?N an excellent on-road stance.
The large wraparound windscreen flows seamlessly into the roof and on into the rear mobile airfoil with its exaggeratedly long shape. The fast-flowing lines create the impression of a car in perpetual movement. The whole body expresses performance and continuous movement.
GTbyCITRO?N also expresses strength and power through generous volumes, (length: 4.960m, 2.080m and height: 1.090m) underlined by strongly marked wheel arches. The diamond-effect 21-inch aluminium wheels enhance the car's sporty personality.
The interior design confirms the vehicle's dynamic and powerful style. The interior of GTbyCITRO?N, designed to seat a driver and co-driver, expresses the racing spirit of this concept. The on-board ambience allies rich, premium, extensively worked materials with a more high-tech effect for the driving position, inspired by the world of motorsports.
Looking beyond the spectacular visual effect, the gullwing opening of the two doors gives GTbyCITRO?N a level of accessibility rarely seen on this type of vehicle. The driver and co-driver can therefore slip into their seats and get out on the track as quickly as possible.
The dark interior of this show-car is a surprise, compared with the light bodywork. Upholstered in black leather with subtle touches of rare materials such as copper and steel, the cabin of GTbyCITRO?N is distinctly sporty.
Two padded racing seats upholstered in dark leather, each fitted with a four-point harness, enfold the driver and passenger for exceptional driving sensations. Placed low down to highlight the impression of speed, the elegant seats are a perfect fit with the rest of the interior.
The top-stitched leather of the door panels and floor adds to the opulence of the interior.
The driving position expresses the spirit of competition. The design was objectively guided by the motivation to win.
The dashboard, with its clean uncluttered design, flows into the receding lines of an imposing copper sculpture. The thrusting modern lines of the sculpture become the central tunnel of the vehicle, illustrating the power of GTbyCITRO?N and appearing to catalyse its strength.
Created in a twist of this same copper sculpture, the leather-and-steel steering wheel also reflects the sporting spirit of the cabin.
To promote maximum concentration, the driver of GTbyCITRO?N has a head-up display for driving information. Using red LEDs, this system projects key driving information ? such as speed and navigation data ? onto the windscreen in the driver's direct line of vision.
The head-up display makes a significant contribution to safety with its direct read-out. Drivers assimilate data more quickly and do not have to look away from the road.
Aerodynamics optimised to combine performance and driving sensations
Special emphasis was placed on the aerodynamics and flowing design of GTbyCITRO?N, these being key Citro?n values. The objective was to enhance the vehicle's dynamics and to create exceptional driving sensations.
Looking beyond its taut, dynamic lines, this racing car features innovative equipment such as enlarged air intakes at the front, a flat underside, and a mobile spoiler and air diffuser at the rear. All these features play an active role in reducing lift and ? above all ? drag, to pin the car to the ground.
With its flowing lines, original architecture and its use ? in the game ? of what is potentially the best environmental technology, GTbyCITRO?N embodies the sporting spirit as seen by Citro?n and underlines the Marque's ambitions to meet new challenges.