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Le grand design

  1. Citroen is on a roll with the whole concept car thing - and it’s getting increasingly hard not to notice, writes Tom Ford.

    We had the jaw-dropping GT, the Revolte (pictured above), the Survolte and now the Metropolis. The cars might not be rolling through suburbia any time soon - but it goes to show there’s a passion fermenting inside the French company that begs to be set free. 

  2. Recently I got to drive the Revolte through the streets of Paris and even though the car’s supposed ‘revolutionary’ hybrid drivetrain wasn’t actually working (it was basically an electric buggy), the reaction of the crowds was nothing short of ecstatic. The little Revolte is tiny - about the same size as a Ford Ka - but lower and wider. More square than anything else. 

  3. The lines flow with a dynamism that’s shocking at first, less so after about half an hour when your eyes start to pick up the details and the relationships between them. And all that despite it being eye-wateringly, horribly purple. It’s been hailed as the ‘anti-2CV’ - a car that’s small and luxe and flowery, as opposed to basic and utilitarian.  

  4. It’s certainly luxe. The interior is trimmed in red velvet, with a kind of chaise longue in the back and a rearwards-facing baby seat instead of a passenger chair. The driver’s seat looks like carapace armour, and the dash looks like it’s vomiting up a touchscreen TV from the bulkhead.

  5. The concept car lines are the issue - I spend most of my time driving it with my head sticking out of the leather-clad sunroof - but the proportions are spot-on. And the crowds love it. People actually clap. And surely that’s what a concept car should make people feel?

  6. Carlo Bonzanigo - the chief designer at Citroen - is hugely enthusiastic about his projects and seems genuinely interested to see what people think of what is, essentially, a flight of fancy. And people love it. They see Citroen as claiming back some of its history as a car maker that doesn’t need to ape the Germans, a manufacturer confident in and of itself.  

  7. The Revolte certainly shows the way. But what next? And do we want to see mental Citroens? 

    Write to us at tgweb@bbc.co.uk.

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