Zut Alors! Citroën Joins the Supercar Elite… Sort Of

By Andy Bannister

06.24.2009

citroen-gt-london

Passers-by on the streets of central London were treated yesterday to the bizarre sight of a prototype supercar wearing an unlikely badge – that of quirky French make Citroën.

The concept – first aired in the Gran Turismo 5 Playstation game – made a surprise appearance in the city, being photographed outside notable landmarks including Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly Circus. There’s no word yet on the power plant.

Citroën is trying hard to overhaul its rather low-rent image, with a number of well-received new models including the C3 Picasso mini-MPV and the C5 executive car.

It has already previewed the return of its legendary DS badge on a three-door rival for the Mini and Alfa Romeo Mito, and wants to raise the bar to become one of the leading European market contenders.

Previously, the nearest the company has come to a supercar was the glorious but deeply ill-fated SM model of the early 1970s, a grand tourer developed with Maserati.

This complex and futuristic car – now a classic – was scuppered by the fuel crisis and Citroën’s then chronic financial troubles. The firm was swallowed up by conservative rival Peugeot and fell into a long cycle of making increasingly ordinary vehicles.

Unlike the SM, at first glance the new GT prototype’s styling isn’t going to have onlookers swooning in admiration, but it certainly turns heads, and there is talk of very limited production – possibly around 15 units.

Given France’s track record in building sporty cars – with the failure of marques like Alpine and Matra – such miniscule volumes seem wise.

citroen-gt-piccadilly-circus

In truth the car is probably nothing more than a publicity stunt. However, in these tough times, it could prove a good investment for a company entering a brave new world.

COPYRIGHT AUTOSAVANT – All Rights Reserved

Author: Andy Bannister

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6 Comments

  1. Does art imitate life or does life imitate art?

  2. Only if you think videeo games ar art.

  3. A French supercar in front of Buckingham Palace and London’s Picadilly Circus?

    We need a photo of this prototype Citroen GT racing a sizable group of 2CVs in an endless circular trip on the Place de l’Étoile around the Arc de Triomphe.

  4. I often drive my 2cv around town. It attracts 10 times the attention of my old BMW M5. And when the neighbor with the bright yellow Lamborghini parks downtown it’s fun to see that many more folks stop to look at my 2CV. Interestingly, I have absolutely no trouble keeping up with traffic, up to about 50mph that is. Yes; it’s 29hp and 1200lbs. So if it’s true that companies build, and people buy, a super car primarily to get noticed, why doesn’t Citroen just bring back the 2CV?

  5. ChrisK:

    Awesome. Used to see tons of 2CV in Greece pulling campers to beach-side campgrounds (back in the day).

    With modern interpretations of the classic Mini Cooper and FIAT 500 on the road, can a version of the 2CV be too far off? How about as a plug-in electric?

  6. Mothing but a publicity stunt.

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