Peugeot’s show star for the 2018 Paris Motor Show has been released on to the internet. The ‘e-Legend’ takes an evolution of Peugeot’s current form language and drapes it over the top of the classic 504 Coupé’s Pininfarina-penned proportions.
This bout of nostalgia is balanced out with all the trend-friendly tech they could think to add, including full autonomy, full connectivity and a full EV powertrain with induction charging.
The way the e-Legend takes a straight-edged shape from the ’60s and adds modern exaggerated surfacing and graphics over the top reminds us of the Nissan iDx concepts from 2013 (which referenced the Datsun 510). The headlights are inside the full-width grille, taking a more complex shape than the rectangular units of the 504 Coupé, but calling to mind the 504 saloon's more trapezoidal units.
Peugeot even used a 504-era lion badge on the nose, except here it’s backlit in white.
The surfaces from nose to tail are a mix of razor-sharp lines and soft curves between them. The roof is shaped by three clear straight lines, like the 504, complete with blade-like C-pillar extensions to create a reinterpretation of the old car’s inset rear window.
The arches flare out as if stretched away from the bodyside, housing very un-sixties wheels of enormous dimensions. The tail lights are three slanted red bars – another direct reference to the 504 Coupé.
The interior, however, is perhaps the real highlight of this concept.
The first thing to grab the eyes is the brilliant blue velour coating the monocoque seats, with matching carpet below featuring black pinstripes that seem to continue the pattern of the seat cushions along the floor. The driver’s-side floor stripes terminate with a two-in-one, form-over-function bar of pedals.
Said pedals don’t have to be used, though; of the four driving modes, two are autonomous. Much like the exterior surfaces, they switch between ‘Soft’ and ‘Sharp’. ‘Soft’ mode focuses on comfort and keeps driving information on the full-width dash screen to a minimum, while ‘Sharp’ mode brings the suite of infotainment functions to the fore. In these modes, the steering wheel and separate IP screen fold away.
The manual driving modes are called ‘Legend’, which turns the dash screen into a digital interpretation of the 504’s wooden dashboard and three dials, and ‘Boost’, which is the sporty setting with more aggressive response from the twin electric motors.
As is de rigueur these days, the media software comes with a voice activated personal assistant. Created by Soundhound, it uses “the digitised voice of Peugeot style director, Gilles Vidal” and can speak 17 languages (we cannot confirm whether Mr. Vidal himself speaks as many languages as that).
The corporate messaging behind the e-Legend is a little confusing, as we’re told it simultaneously takes Peugeot design into the future and pays clear homage to an iconic classic. How true the former element really is, time will tell, but this is far from the first concept car in 2018 with retro aesthetic inspiration and a cutting-edge EV powertrain.
We’ll aim to dig a little deeper into this phenomenon during the Paris Motor Show, where we’ll be speaking to Gilles Vidal himself. But not in 17 languages…