As wild as concept cars tend to be, they can also be quite similar. All have robust specifications, extreme designs and, these days, many of the same futuristic features. They tend to fall into three camps: flashy luxury or sports cars with many bells and whistles, more utilitarian concepts built to embrace our seemingly inevitable autonomous future, or a pettiness of both. That's refreshing from this wild new DS, which is a division of the PSA Group in France. It's called DS X E-Tense, and it looks like it's taken from Speed Racer .
This is mainly due to the strange arrangement of seats and the almost total absence of an interior, which makes the DS X E-Tense look like a mid-21st century version of a Mercedes-Benz Formula One mid-size of the twentieth century. . The driver sits in an open cockpit on the left next to a seat that is enclosed in a glass bubble on the right. Whatever the purpose of this displacement design, it is a refreshing break from the myriad of concepts we have already seen in this year's car shows that, in my eyes, are already beginning to bleed. You can only see so many touch screens or augmented reality theoretical implementations throughout the cabin before they all sound the same. The X E-Tense does not have any of that. As DS says, somewhat disparagingly, the X E-Tense "is very different from the current, almost obsessive pursuit of mobility without character."
However, it has at least one ridiculous "specification" and some quirks. Two electric motors feed the front wheels (yes, only the front!) And are able to work together to generate up to 1,000kW, or 1,360 horsepower in "circuit" (or race) mode. The circuit mode "allows the driver to savor the exquisite performance of the suspension designed by DS Performance, the technical team behind the DS Formula E program," says the company. It's an exalted quote, but to be fair, DS is currently in second place in the fourth season of Formula E, and driver Sam Bird has just won a race in Rome after the leader's suspension. In addition, says DS, a "new technology" not specified will allow the car's carbon fiber body to recover its original shape after an accident.
The X E-Tense arrives at a curious moment: it was announced at the Beijing Motor Show a few hours after Ford's decision to eliminate almost completely the passenger sedans in North America. in the next years. Ford is not the first to prove this, and it certainly will not be the last, if the sales data for SUVs and trucks are an indication. I do not think the new concept of DS is any kind of specific repudiation of this trend; It was under construction long before the Blue Oval decided to put aside their next lineup of cars. But certainly now I'm more interested in … maybe I'm even excited to find out? – What happens with the "concept cars" when we move away from the accepted definition of "automobiles" in the first place?
So far, I think most of us had been operating under the assumption that even autonomous cars would look a lot like sedans in some sense, even if they changed their interiors to accommodate the elimination of human driving. But Ford's move seems to have many people recalculating the future. If sedans are opened almost completely before autonomy comes, which seems entirely possible given the dizzying pace at which car companies around the world are adopting more trucks and / or vans, will not that assumption be wrong?
In other words, is the DS X E-Tense the first of the latest sedan style concepts? Maybe. We have already seen an increase in the outrageous concepts of SUVs and crossovers, such as the Lexus UX or the Nissan Xmotion. At the time of their respective revelations, they felt like curiosities, something that is worth more laughter than most "normal" cars. When looking at it through this new objective, it does not seem so hard to believe that the concepts that will be restrained in five years, all will have a high handling height and the ability to adapt to a family of five people in addition to the wild styles, the gadgets and futuristic gadgets and other accessories that we expect.
If that's the case, I think that's one more reason to enjoy the DS X E-Tense. It is a retro-futuristic affection that echoes the road corridors of the 1900s, while unequivocally looks like a car that will not exist in the coming decades. And if things continue to change as they are, they may not exist at all.