This futuristic Gallic hell sled, the Onyx concept, is Peugeot’s answer to the question, “What would happen if the French went berserk with carbon fiber, sustainable materials, a crazy powerful diesel hybrid powertrain, and, uh, copper and wool felt?”
Indeed, from its outer shell to its interior, the Onyx is jam-packed with innovative and interesting stuff. The front fenders and doors are skinned by a single sheet of copper—hand shaped by a master craftsman, and intended to acquire patina over time—while the rest of the panels are rendered in carbon fiber and finished in matte black. The windows and roof panel are formed from big pieces of lightweight acrylic, providing unobstructed views of the car’s innards as well as its interior.
A carbon-fiber structure serves as the backbone of the Onyx and is said to be composed of just 12 individual parts and weigh a scant 220 pounds. (Total weight: a claimed 2400 pounds.) The mid-mounted engine bolts directly to the carbon frame; that mill is a 3.7-liter diesel V-8 said to produce 600 hp, and it spins a six-speed sequential gearbox. Lithium-ion batteries store braking energy and then pipe it to an electric motor for an 80-hp accelerative boost.
The powertrain and suspension—the latter includes inboard springs and dampers—were developed with the help of Peugeot Sport, the branch responsible for the company’s now-defunct Le Mans racing program. Twin NACA ducts on the double-bubble roof feed the engine air, while a flat, full-length carbon-fiber undertray smooths airflow and is said to create downforce. Carbon-ceramic brake discs sit at each corner, and deceleration is further aided by an active rear spoiler like that used on the Bugatti Veyron.
And now for the jaw-dropping interior. Occupants are cradled in a one-piece carbon-fiber tub that forms the seats, floor, and center console. Foam padding on the seats is covered with wool felt, while the dashboard is constructed from a material Peugeot calls “newspaper wood.” Basically, old newsprint is gathered and compressed into the required shapes; look close enough and you can still see the type from the original papers. A head-up display provides speed data and vehicle info to the driver, who sits behind a thoroughly French, squircle-ish steering wheel.
The roof panel houses a console dotted with aluminum toggle switches, including one to start the engine, and a reflective “blade” displays the feeds from the three rearview cameras (two side-mounted and one rear). The felt-covered center console is home not only to lightsaber-esque milled-aluminum climate controls, but also a blown crystal “reservoir” that depicts the fuel level using actual liquid. That glass piece also has a separate chamber filled with some sort of supercar fragrance, which is diffused throughout the cabin. Très français.
We might be able to do without the funky perfume parlor trick—although who knows, maybe it smells awesome—but we really hope Peugeot builds the Onyx. The world needs a copper-bodied and felt-filled supercar, and even to day we’ve never seen one cooler than this.
Imagine if you could be satisfied and content with your purchase. That can very much be your reality with the Peugeot Onyx Supercar Concept.
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