It’s fitting that Peugeot’s choice of engine for its stunning new Onyx supercar concept you see above comes from its former Le Mans 24hrs racer: a racer born into a series notable for its unending quest for revolutionary engineering progress.
Because what you see before you is actually quite bonkers; a good bonkers, mind. It’s a one-off supercar concept designed by a group of Pug designers briefed with exploring the use of unprocessed materials in new ways. So that body has been hand-finished using pure copper sheet metal, and because it’s untreated, the finish will change over the course of time, giving it a new look.
The remainder of the bodywork panels are made from carbon fibre, finished in a matt black, and you can tell how pleased Peugeot is with its RCZ sportscar, as the Onyx sports a double-bubble roof in honour of it. Even the ruddy windows and the roof are made from PolyMethylMethAcrylate (PMMA) - basically, shatter-resistant plastic.
Underneath is where the Onyx gets a bit more exciting. The chassis was developed with the help of Peugeot Sport - themselves a bit handy with a bag of spanners - and is constructed from monolithic carbon, and comprises just 12 parts. It’s even been built with a flat carbon fibre floor like they use in racecars, even if the Onyx has been made “suitable for the road”. All in, the whole thing weighs just 1,100kg with torsional stiffness said to be ‘optimised’.
It had better be too, because bolted onto that shell is the 3.7-litre V8 hybrid HDi FAP engine used for Peugeot’s Le Mans programme, here developing some 600bhp transmitted to the rear wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox. There’s an 80bhp boost button incorporated inside too, utilising battery power recuperated from brake energy. Oh yeah, those brakes: 380mm discs at the front and 355mm at the back. Huge.
Inside is where it gets a bit playschool fantasy. The interior is constructed from compressed and stretched felt (obtained from boiled wool, no less), formed as a one-piece pod with no stitching or joins, and acts almost like a pod: as a whole, it contains the soundproofing, seats, roof and upper console. Your body fits into this pod like an organic whole. Very Alien-esque.
The dash is made from wood produced from recycled newspapers - with not a hacking scandal in sight - complete with digital screens and aluminium switchgear operating the engine and air-conditioning controls.
Like we said, bonkers - but a good bonkers. Whatever will Peugeot come up with next, a paper-mache supermini? Discuss your fantasy supercar concept with funky materials in the box below. Oh, and as we mentioned the RCZ, Peugeot has just told us its treated the gorgeous coupe to a full facelift and informed us a range-topping 1.6-litre turbocharged version with 260bhp will hit dealers next year, previewed at this year’s Paris Motor Show by the ‘RCZ R’ concept. It also gets a proper Torsen limited-slip differential too, making it (says Peugeot) the most powerful production Pug in history. It’s in the gallery above if you want a peek. Like the new face?