Citroën goes back to the future with its new sci-fi concept
Citroën is injecting a little bit of futuristic pizzazz into its brand. Hot on the heels of the foursquare Ami:One city car concept (see Wallpaper’s June 2019 issue, on newstands now) comes the 19_19, a new vision for a diametrically opposed travel niche – the long distance journey.
That means electric drive – naturally – with an impressive predicted range of 800km, along with some heavy-duty autonomous technology. The concept makes the most of the various sensors required, allowing them to protrude out of the pod-like bodywork in a sci-fi fashion, while each wheel is almost fully encased in a wraparound fender, set apart from the passenger compartment.
Inside, Citroën has embraced the living-room-on-wheels typology that has defined so many autonomous concepts, with a forward-looking, sport-themed cabin that’s made up of three distinct types of seating. Fabrics are stretchy, materials hi-tech, screens are discrete and the driver’s seat is a faceted, 1970s sci-fi wonder.
Switching on autonomous mode reconfigures the dashboard and there’s also Citroën’s take on the near-ubiquitous on-board AI assistant. There are hints of aviation design, along with flashes of branding and inspiration from the company’s archives, but overall there’s nothing retro about this future vision.
As its name suggests, the 19_19 harks back to 1919, for this is Citroën’s centenary year and the company clearly felt the need to revive some of its radical past. We’ve long rhapsodised about the French brand’s mastery of avant-garde design and equally innovative engineering, and although its conceptual visions have never been less than extraordinary, the company’s production cars spent a couple of decades mired in a very atypical blandness. Does the 19_19 imply bolder things to come? We certainly hope so. §