Citroen GT Concept – The French Supercar That Nearly Was
Imagine you're in the market for a supercar. There you are, smiling widely at the fact that you've finally made it in life, searching high and low in the performance car realm to find your perfect match. On the list of manufacturers you would approach, names like Ferrari, Porsche, and McLaren probably sit somewhere near the top. The name "Citroen" on the other hand probably occupies a position somewhere below The Pope, Mr Kipling, or even your neighbour's cat! But supercars being an alien entity to them hasn't stopped Citroen from trying to explore such uncharted territory.
Fans of Gran Turismo will be familiar with this car: the Citroen GT concept. And that's because this car was partly brought to fruition by the makers of Gran Turismo, Polyphony Digital, in a joint design venture with Citroen. Hardly much of a surprise, because just by looking at it, it's evident that there is both traditional French and Japanese styling elegance and philosophy flowing through the entire car.
The GT concept car first saw the light of day at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. Due to the car's connection with the Gran Turismo game, people were able to jump in and drive it virtually from the comfort of their own living room.
In the virtual world, 3 different power guises were available: there was a road version, with 500bhp; a race version, with 600bhp; and a special version powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, delivering 778bhp and a gut-wrenching 1840lb-ft of torque to all four of its wheels via 4 electric motors. As impressive as that sounds however, the electric car provided all the engagement of a boneless limb, and would snap into understeer like it was a chronic illness. The other two cars – that both used internal combustion – were much more enjoyable to drive in the imaginary reality of Gran Turismo.
In real reality however, the GT was completely different to how it was in the game. It used a 5.4L Ford V8, modified to produce 646bhp which it sent to all 4 wheels via a 7-speed sequential box. Weighing in at 3086lbs (1400kg), even though the performance figures have never been specified, suffice it to say that the GT would've been a heavy hitter had it seen production when it was supposed to.
That's right, Citroen were genuinely pursuing the GT for a small production run of 6 cars, which they promised in 2009. Due to the limited numbers, the price was set to be an eye-watering $2,100,000 – which means it would've been even more expensive than non-migrant labour is going to cost UK farmers post-Brexit. But thanks to the progression of time, we now know it never came to be.
If driving one on Gran Turismo can tell you anything, it's that the desire for style inhibited some of the more useful practicalities, such as the blind-spots the enormously wide A-Pillars cause. Not to mention that there was also no back window. I know supercars aren't exactly synonymous with being particularly easy to see out of – but driving the GT in reality would've been a bottom-clenching exercise of constantly trying to tap into and use The Force. It's probably best then that the car is confined to the digital world.
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Written by: Angelo Uccello
Tribe: Speed Machines
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Photo Credits: Citroen