This 2008 Citroen concept is best known for its melted candy interior – with a swirl of wild colors looking a bit like a bag of Skittles left of the dashboard of a car in direct sunlight.
But in fact, this crossover was one of Citroen’s first attempts at a soft-roader. Powered by a 2.0-liter HDi turbodiesel making 200-horsepower to the front wheels, plus a hybrid electric setup with 50HP for the back axle.
The crossover and SUV space presented and still does present a fantastic opportunity for mass-market brands to achieve premium sales they all crave. Evidence? How many super wealthy people with Mercedes or BMW luxury cars also own a big SUV of some kind? Until recently, those SUVs were almost all big American hulks. Yes, the Suburbans etc were inferior to the luxury cars the mom or dad would typically drive, but they offer the roominess and rugged 4×4 grip to live an adventure lifestyle year-round.
With the introduction of premium full-size SUVs, the window of opportunity is shrinking for mass-market brands to snag SUV sales without any competition.
But even 2015 market conditions in Europe and China, Citroen’s main markets, there is still a huge chance for brands to ratchet up the price ladders with SUVs and crossovers. The Germans have been slow to make SUVs, but the French even slower.
Would this HYPNOS with a normal interior have been a sales hit?
On further inspection, the cool carved-out look for elements of the nose, the scalloped side surfacing and ultra-rounded roof design has made it to production form relatively intact with the latest generation of Citroen and DS models.
But no real SUVs so far, and nothing with a third row of seats for bringing friends along.
A missed opportunity until now, for sure. But there are elements of the HYPNOS that are not as great as they might be. Still clearly based on a minivan or large front-drive model like the C6, the HYPNOS is fairly gangly up front with a giant overhang. Even the 22-inch wheels and huge chevron badges cannot hide its roots.
But would it have peeled off 10-percent of the BMW and Porsche SUV market and nearly doubled average transaction prices for the brand? Yes almost definitely.
2008 Citroen HYPNOS
UNIQUE BODY STYLING AND CABIN DESIGN
Hypnos is a hybrid in terms of both technology and styling. The body combines the vitality and elegance of a saloon with the volumes of a cross-over.
Powerful, flowing and expressive, Hypnos’ unique proportions and balance promise a driving experience of outstanding emotion. The concept car’s rear-hinged doors and colour-splashed interior draw onlookers in and make them want to climb aboard.
Premium cabin materials, exceptionally comfortable individual seats and dreamlike in-car technology are designed to set high standards in driving pleasure and passenger comfort.
Innovative and elegant body style
Hypnos exudes exceptional elegance and strength with its dynamic, sculpted body lines that are both taut and fluid.
Hypnos is eye-catchingly proportioned at 4.90 m long, 2.17 m wide and 1.58 m high. From the pronounced wheel arches to the tautly drawn bonnet and raised waistline, all the body lines reflect strong but sophisticated muscle power.
Hypnos also appeals with its vitality, giving the impression of movement even when at rest. The pillarless “floating” roof, suggesting generous interior space, flows purposefully back to the concave rear window so typical of Citroën executive saloons. The feeling of movement is also conveyed by the powerfully sculpted flanks.
Hypnos’ sleek looks are showcased by the deep radiant grey of the bodywork. Varying in intensity according to the light, this colour gives Hypnos an elegant and prestigious sheen commensurate with its luxury standing.
The rear-hinged doors on Hypnos make access easier, revealing the vehicle’s prestige interior as if uncovering a jewel. A cargo tailgate at the back gives unrestricted access to the boot. Alongside their aesthetic appeal, these opening systems add to the car’s functionality and underline its identity as a vehicle for long-distance travel.
A luxurious welcome
The ambience inside Hypnos is light years away from a conventional motoring experience. The cabin embodies the magical content of the concept car, making each journey an unforgettable sensory adventure.
The shimmering interior makes a dramatic and eye-catching break with the deep grey bodywork. Onlookers will marvel at the rainbow hues of the cabin. Using these bright colours in the interior of an executive car interior underlines Citroën’s creativity.
Using premium materials such as leather and brushed aluminium, the Marque has produced an exceptionally refined cabin that creates a feeling of comfort and confirms the exceptional nature of Hypnos.
The cabin contains four seats positioned on either side of a central helix in a unique configuration that brings to mind DNA and organic life, reflecting Citroën’s focus on human values.
The long, three-metre wheelbase combined with the original, staggered seat layout gives each passenger an astonishing amount of personal space. Never have the passengers in a vehicle of this size had this much room. Leg room, for example, is practically that of a limousine.
In keeping with executive standards of comfort, passengers can customise their own space using the pivoting blades of the central helix, which include a range of controls, such as the air conditioning settings.
The seats are made up of prism-shaped components that can be inflated and deflated to give occupants upper and lower back massages.
Creative interior design
Citroën is committed to making technology more human, accessible and attractive. Giving fitting physical form to this technology and adding new, almost magical, content was one of the main aims when designing Hypnos.
The instrument cluster in front of the driver is presented through prisms, like a diamond, with each facet displaying driving information. And like a jewel, the cluster is mounted in a metal setting of premium quality. This cluster is the main feature at the front of the cabin, embracing a touch screen in the middle of the console and encompassing air vents on either side of the dashboard.
Using micro-diodes located inside the air-conditioning duct, the air vents gently diffuse halos of soft light, in a colour that varies with the chosen temperature.
Hypnos also innovates by bringing passengers the benefits of colour therapy. A ceiling-mounted camera films the driver’s face and regularly measures anthropometric data. The system compares these measures with pre-recorded data to gauge the driver’s state of mind and adjusts the cabin lighting and scented air-freshener fragrance in consequence. Travelling in Hypnos is a remarkable experience in relaxation.
Hypnos combines technology with creativity to striking effect with its original onboard clock, designed by the artist Michel Serviteur. Combining advanced technology and sheer poetry, the clock changes colour depending on the light at different times of day. Dispensing with needles and digital read-outs, this dreamlike timepiece emits a succession of rhythmic colour pulses like the breathing of a living being.
HYmotion4 TECHNOLOGY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND MOTORING THRILLS
Citroën’s active policy of environmental protection has made it one of today’s leading manufacturers in this field. The Marque is underlining its position as a pioneering carmaker by fitting Hypnos with an all-new diesel hybrid drivetrain: HYmotion4. This original technology combines dynamic performance with respect for the environment and low fuel consumption.
HYmotion4: innovation for the environment
The intelligent design of the Hypnos concept car combines:
- a 200 bhp (147 kW) 2-litre HDi DPFS diesel engine mated to a six-speed electronic gearbox system, with torque of 420 Nm;
- an electric motor located on the rear axle developing 50 bhp for 200 Nm of torque.
Hypnos’ diesel hybrid technology is designed to respect the environment. This is particularly true in the city in ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) mode – an “extended”, completely silent all-electric mode with a range of around 3 km at 50 kph – and on roads demanding successive acceleration and deceleration. In this second case, the hybrid architecture limits consumption by using the two forms of energy together.
Hypnos is also equipped with high-power Stop & Start technology that cuts out the engine when the car comes to a halt in urban traffic jams or at red lights. This system also powers the electric motor when the vehicle is in 4×4 mode.
The 2-litre HDi DPFS diesel engine is extremely efficient on the motorway, cutting fuel consumption by 20% compared with a petrol engine.
By controlling fuel consumption and, hence, pollutant emissions, Hypnos boasts combined cycle consumption levels of 4.5 l/100 km for CO2 emissions of 120 g/km.
HYmotion4: hot-blooded driving thrills
No sacrifices have been made in terms of driving pleasure, which remains a key priority for motorists.
If the driver keeps a foot on the accelerator pedal, the boost function kicks in to provide the immediate torque required. This function combines the torque of the combustion engine with that of the electric motor to deliver outstanding performance without increasing fuel consumption. Hypnos accelerates from 0 to 100 kph in 9.4 seconds and takes 31 seconds to travel 1,000 m from a standing start.
Driving pleasure, rather than sheer speed, was the goal with Hypnos.
To this end, it was equipped with the third-generation hydraulic suspension fitted on Citroën’s upmarket models. This technology combines the highest standards in passenger comfort with benchmark road manners.
In situations of low grip or intense handling, the car switches to four-wheel drive mode, with the electric motor powering the back wheels and the combustion engine the front wheels. Four-wheel drive mode brings improved traction and ensures full use of the potential of Hypnos in all grip conditions and in complete safety.
In particularly difficult driving conditions, such as a snow-covered uphill road, the driver can select 4×4 mode.
Length: 4,900 mm
Width (excl. rearview mirrors): 2,036 mm
Overall width: 2,172 mm
Height: 1,580 mm
Wheelbase: 3,000 mm
Front overhang: 980 mm
Rear overhang: 920 mm
Gross vehicle weight: 1,800 kg
Performance and fuel consumption
0 to 400 m: 16.8 seconds
0 to 1,000 m: 31 seconds
0 – 100 kph: 9.4 seconds
30 – 60 kph: 2.6 seconds
80 – 120 kph: 6.8 seconds Top speed: 212 kph
Combined consumption: 4.5 l/100 km over a standard combined cycle CO2 emissions: 120 g/km
HYmotion4 diesel hybrid drivetrain
2-litre HDi DPFS diesel engine (200 bhp (147 kW) / torque of 420 Nm 6-speed electronic gearbox system
Electric motor on rear axle (50 bhp / torque of 200 Nm) ZEV mode (range of 3 km at 50 kph)
CdA: 0.78 m²
Special Michelin tyres: 275/40 R22
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.