There are weird concept cars, and then there’s the DS X E-Tense Concept

Citroen has a reputation in the auto industry for designing some of the most extreme concept cars in the business. The Survolt and the Cxperience are two that come to mind. Since the company launched the DS sub-brand in 2009, that design creativity has extended to give us creations like the Divine DS and the E-Tense concept vehicles. Today, DS takes us on another wild ride with the arrival of its latest brainchild, the DS X E-Tense concept, a car that the company describes as “a vision of what a dream car might resemble in the year 2035.”

2018 DS X E-Tense Exterior

2018 DS X E-Tense Exterior
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Nothing about this concept makes sense, and yet, it’s in that convoluted space between being bizarre and impractical that it actually creates its singular identity

Designing a concept car can be a tedious exercise for auto designers. There are so many variables to consider because concepts are usually gateways that help give us a glimpse of what an automaker’s future is going to look like. For better or worse, the DS X E-Tense Concept throws all that thinking out the window. I suppose that’s what happens when you give designers a black sketch pad and tell them to think of what a dream car would look like in 17 years. You get some pretty outrageous results, like, you know, the DS X E-Tense.

I don’t even know where to start, though I should point out that the word “asymmetrical” will probably pop out a few times in the course of this review. That’s probably the best way to describe the X E-Tense. It’s so weird and mental that you almost have to give DS designers a standing ovation for not only thinking out of the box but throwing the box out into the ocean.

Nothing about this concept makes sense, and yet, it’s in that convoluted space between being bizarre and impractical that it actually creates its singular identity. Take a look at the car’s shape, example. From the side, it looks like a proper concept. There are curves, sharp edges, and an overabundance of body lines spread throughout the body. In other words, it’s nothing we haven’t seen from a concept vehicle in the past.

2018 DS X E-Tense Exterior
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There are curves, sharp edges, and an overabundance of body lines spread throughout the body

But once you move to the front (and rear), that’s where things take a turn for the bizarre. Remember when I said that the X E-Tense is described as being asymmetrical? Well, the front and rear sections of it literally are. Both sections are completely off-center that you have to wonder if this is really the design DS was going for. The front grille, which traditionally sits in the center of all cars, has been moved completely on one side of the car, creating enough space for the other side to be dominated by what is admittedly a fancy lighting setup. It’s the same story in the rear where everything is completely off-center.

It’s tempting to say that the concept is dripping in eccentricity, but even describing it in those terms feels like it doesn’t do justice to how peculiar this concept really is. And I haven’t even gotten to the fact that the concept also has scissor doors. How DS managed to fit those in everything that’s going on in this concept is a remarkable achievement in its own right.

2018 DS X E-Tense Interior

2018 DS X E-Tense Exterior
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You’re probably not going to believe this, but the interior of the DS X E-Tense offers just as many surprises as the exterior

You’re probably not going to believe this, but the interior of the DS X E-Tense offers just as many surprises as the exterior. First, it has a cockpit that can apparently be accessed by an Elytre door — it’s a scissor door, really — that is trimmed with a combination of leather and carbon fiber weave. There’s one seat in the cockpit, and it’s described as having a pyramidal architecture. But just as you might start thinking that the concept only has space for one individual, the asymmetrical nature of the car actually creates enough space for a passenger that, according to DS, can be “enclosed in a sensuous capsule” with a “ventilated massaging seat that stretches back like a deployed bird’s wing.” All in all, the concept is actually capable of seating as many as three people.

Throw the eccentricity aside, and you’re also looking at an interior that’s dressed to the hilt with premium materials like Millennium Blue and Navy Blue Aniline leather, as well as a number wood and metal trims scattered throughout the cabin. Apparently, these materials will still be important enough 17 years from to get included in one of the wildest concepts we’ve ever seen. Oh, the cabin also comes with a see-through electro-chromatic glass floor that drivers and passengers can look into to see how many speed bumps it drivers over.

2018 DS X E-Tense Performance

2018 DS X E-Tense Exterior
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The motors are said to be capable of producing 1,341 horsepower

Now that we can move past the exterior and interior of the DS X E-Tense Concept, we can turn our attention to the concept’s power and performance capabilities. Since the concept is merely an interpretation of what a future DS model would look like 17 years from now, DS took some liberties in piecing together an ideal powertrain for the concept. Turns out, the company’s version of an “ideal” powertrain involves a pair of electric motors located in the two front wheels. Together, the motors are said to be capable of producing 1,341 horsepower, a seemingly innocuous number that DS is throwing around to give the car the performance street cred it needs to justify its liberal use of the term “concept car.”

Final Thoughts

2018 DS X E-Tense Exterior
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I could come out and tell you that I love the DS X E-Tense Concept. That may be true in some respects, but I’ve never been down with concept cars that are created specifically for the purpose of envisioning a future that doesn’t exist yet. That’s what I think of the DS X E-Tense Concept. I appreciate the audacity behind its design, but at the end of the day, if this thing is a vision of a car that won’t arrive for another 17 years, then I might as well start asking Chrysler what the heck happened to the 1995 Atlantic Concept.

I appreciate the vision and the work that was put into the DS X E-Tense Concept. But it looks like something that the company created because it had nothing better to do.

References

2016 DS E-Tense Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2016 DS E-Tense Concept.

2016 Citroën Cxperience High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2016 Citroën Cxperience.

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Read more 2018 Beijing Auto Show news.

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