Peu­geot’s sweet e-Leg­end elec­tric con­cept

A painfully de­sir­able Peu­geot – when was the last time that hap­pened? The queue to buy an e-Leg­end starts just be­hind

CAR (UK) - - Contents - Colin Over­land

PEU­GEOT’S NEW E LEG­END Con­cept is an elec­tric, au­tonomous show star in­spired by the 1968 504 Coupe. It shows what a 2025 pro­duc­tion Peu­geot could look like and what fea­tures it could of­fer. There’s the con­nec­tiv­ity and big-screen in­fo­tain­ment typ­i­cal of show cars, but there’s also a much greater em­pha­sis on dy­namism and de­sir­abil­ity than has been the case with re­cent Peu­geots. It’s an elec­tric, au­tonomous con­cept car de­signed to ap­peal to car en­thu­si­asts – mis­sion ac­com­plished, we’d say.

Over­all di­men­sions are close to the new 508’s – the con­cept is slightly lower and shorter – and the wheels are a plau­si­ble 19 inches in di­am­e­ter. It’s a two-door four-seater with frame­less win­dows and a glasshouse that closely re­sem­bles the clas­sic 504’s. The el­e­gantly con­cave flanks blend into muscular whee­larches, while at the front and rear the LEDs are styled like claw marks. There’s also a grille and some strong ver­ti­cal air in­lets, giv­ing the e-Leg­end much more of a ‘face’ than many elec­tric con­cepts.

Matthias Hous­san, con­cept car de­sign man­ager, says: ‘We tried to keep some re­al­ism – the size of the wheels, the size of the glasshouse, which is not small like some con­cept cars, which are like car­i­ca­tures.’

The 100kWh bat­tery is in the floor, with elec­tric mo­tors driv­ing all four wheels. While stress­ing that this is a con­cept, not a pro­to­type, Peu­geot claims 456bhp and 590lb ft of torque, with a top speed close to 140mph and a 0-62mph time be­low four sec­onds. Range would be around 370 miles – and a fast charge could get you 310 miles of range in just 25 min­utes. It would also be equipped for in­duc­tive charg­ing.

The in­te­rior is ev­ery bit as strik­ing as the body, mix­ing brash blue with dark wood and bronze, plus a gi­ant screen and a re­tractable steer­ing wheel and ped­al­box for when the e-Leg­end is run­ning au­tonomously. The con­cept’s four seats have blue vel­vet up­hol­stery, with the driver’s seat also sup­port­ing the cen­tre con­sole, which fol­lows the same an­gu­lar think­ing as Peu­geot’s cur­rent pro­duc­tion i-Cock­pit.

e-Leg­end has two au­tonomous modes: Soft, for chilled-out cruis­ing with the screen min­imised, and Sharp for those want­ing to work or be en­ter­tained on the move. It also in­cor­po­rates voice ac­ti­va­tion for use dur­ing au­tonomous driv­ing, with the trig­ger phrase ‘Okay Peu­geot’. A ver­sion of the per­sonal as­sis­tant will ap­pear on pro­duc­tion Peu­geots within two years.

There are also two man­ual modes: Leg­end, which swivels three 504 Coupe-style di­als into ac­tion and adds dig­i­tal wood to the real wood, and Boost, which projects the road ahead on the 49-inch screen, turn­ing the car – rather con­fus­ingly – into a gi­ant sim­u­la­tor of the real world that’s hap­pen­ing out­side at that very mo­ment. The cabin changes will be ac­com­pa­nied by dy­namic changes to the sus­pen­sion and power char­ac­ter­is­tics.

Hous­san: ‘When driv­ing is bor­ing, you will be in au­tonomous mode. But when you want to drive you want the ex­pe­ri­ence to be in­tense and ex­cit­ing.’

Although it’s firmly a con­cept, it’s a run­ner… al­beit at walk­ing pace. The con­cept has a mo­tor in the back, driv­ing the rear wheels. CAR had a pas­sen­ger ride, and found the am­bi­ence to be su­perb. Will it go into pro­duc­tion? It’s cer­tain to in­form what­ever Peu­geot does next, whether that’s fully elec­tric or not. In­sid­ers say five to seven years is a re­al­is­tic tar­get date for an all-elec­tric pro­duc­tion car. Peu­geot is aim­ing for the mass mar­ket rather than the early adopter.

This isn’t Peu­geot’s first elec­tric con­cept. Re­cent show cars have in­cluded the 2015 Frac­tal ur­ban elec­tric coupe (which pre­viewed i-Cock­pit) and the 2017 In­stinct (a shoot­ing brake that de­buted many of the new 508’s de­sign fea­tures).

What’s dif­fer­ent this time is the em­brace of Peu­geot’s own her­itage to pro­duce a gor­geous car that would look in place on to­day’s roads. Peu­geot CEO Jean-Philippe Im­parato speaks of the e-Leg­end em­body­ing an ‘op­ti­mistic and ul­tra-de­sir­able fu­ture’.

All-wheel drive and 456bhp? The sooner this gets built, the bet­ter Just as well it’s au­tonomous – you’ll want to spend your time drink­ing it all in

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