PARIS -- Peugeot looked to the past for inspiration for its latest concept vehicle, the E-Legend, which will debut at the Paris auto show Oct. 2.
The sleek two-door coupe is ready for an electric and autonomous future but evokes the Pininfarina-styled 504 Coupe that debuted in 1969.
"We didn’t mean to do a remake of the 504 Coupe," Peugeot design director Gilles Vidal said. "We wanted to make the point that the future can be exciting. There are some aspects and details that connect it to the 504 but it's not neo-retro.”
Touches that recall the 504 Coupe, which stayed in production until 1983, include the model name badge on a sloping hood, black trim at the base of the roof pillar, knife-edged fenders — and overall proportions that signal "sports coupe."
"The long hood and short trunk are imprinted on everybody's mind. It's a recognizable form," Vidal said. "This is pushing the form language into the future." One clue that the E-Legend isn't a by-the-numbers remake of the 504 is found in the roof pillar trim.
Embedded in the trim is a small screen that greets the driver by name and lets him or her know that the car is ready for autonomous or manual driving.
Inside, the 504 connection is reinforced with pleated aquamarine velour seating surfaces.
The rest of the interior is pure futuristic concept, with a wraparound screen spanning the footwell that can be used for entertainment, navigation or monitoring the car’s running condition. In autonomous (or what Peugeot calls "office") mode, the steering wheel and instrument screen retract and the seats recline and lower to create a theater effect.
Tech collaboration The E-Legend is also an opportunity for PSA Group to show off its latest technology collaboration, with SoundHound, a Silicon Valley company that specializes in voice recognition. The concept was styled by Nicolas Brissonneau (exterior) and Christophe Pialat (interior).
The overall user experience and human-machine interface (HMI) came together under PSA Group's UXCT program, which includes teams from a dozen specialties such as infotainment, ergonomics, coding and sound design. Peugeot has no plans to produce the E-Legend, but executives noted that its dimensions are similar to those of a normal production car and that its styling is purposely approachable.
"We wanted to generate an accessible experience, for us and for our customers," said Matthias Hossann, Peugeot's director of concept cars and advanced design. "We didn't want to be literal. We wanted to put a twist on autonomous driving."