The French. They’ve designed some seriously strange stuff over the years, so it’s no surprise that when PSA Group’s luxury brand let its designers craft their “dream car for 2035,” the scarf-wearing artists came up with something thoroughly wacky. What is surprising is that the brand chose to send 1,360 horsepower to the front wheels.
DS’s new car is called the DS X E-Tense, and while it’s just a concept, it’s worth looking at simply because it’s seriously “out there.” What makes this X E-Tense from DS so wild is not just the asymmetry—which we’ve written about is a rare thing to see in auto design because it’s so difficult to pull off—but also the tech specs, even if they’re not actually real.
The idea of sending more than about 350 horsepower to a car’s front wheels makes my inner driving enthusiast cringe, as does the idea of sending more than 800 horsepower through a car without all-wheel drive. But DS’s concept throws physics to the wind:
Located within the front wheels, the two motors selected as the source of the all-electric DS X E-TENSE’s power provide unrivalled response. For road use, peak power stands at 400kW (540 horsepower), a figure that rises to 1,000kW (1,360 horsepower) in ‘circuit’ mode which allows the driver to savour the exquisite performance of the suspension engineered by DS .
Could you imaging punching that accelerator and all that “instant torque” burning your tires into thin rubber bands as 1,360 horsepower struggles to find grip? Gosh that’d be epic.
DS says the X E-TENSE’s chassis is carbon fiber, and the suspension’s springs and torsion bars are “innovative” for reason not specified in DS’s press release.
The seating configuration puts the passenger closer to the rear of the car than the driver, and DS says “An additional seat even makes it possible to travel three-up.” That spare seat, as shown in the image below, goes in front of the passenger.
The cockpit design is open for the driver, whose seat is accessed via an “Elytre door.” The passengers, meanwhile, sit in a “cocoon,” which is accessed through a gull wing door, and which features a glass canopy. Based on the press release, that canopy is apparently comfortable, as DS uses the terms “snug” and “sensuous” to describe the “capsule.”
Adding to the wackiness is a body that is apparently “capable of recovering its original form after an impact,” and a front grille (and thus the car’s cooling capacity) that can “adapt to the driver’s whims.” (Something tells me DS isn’t just referring to active grille shutters, here).
Anyway, yes, the French have graced us with another weird car design, and apparently with the most epic traction control system in history. Will any of this see the light of day? DS says the car will be showing up in a movie at some point; whether that means there’s an actual, non-vaporware version that looks anything like this, I’m unsure. But if there is, I hope someone takes it to the dragstrip.