Citroen has released these shadowy images of its upcoming new flagship sedan (expected to be badged DS9) that makes its debut at next month’s Beijing motor show.
The pics were posted on the French manufacturer’s Facebook page, accompanied by the somewhat vague tagline, "The future of the DS line is already taking shape at Citroen...".
From what we can make out, the vehicle is an evolution of the Metropolis concept that Citroen wheeled out at the 2010 Shanghai motor show, although the sedan proportions of the earlier concept appear to have been binned in favour of a Porsche Panamera-esque fastback roofline.
Although a very large vehicle at 5.3m in length, the Metropolis was equipped with a seemingly small 2.0-litre V6 engine, albeit equipped with a supplementary electric motor to eke out a combined 345kW and 430Nm (more or less equivalent to a conventional 4.0-litre V8 engine).
In the Metropolis, the combustion engine was hooked up to a seven-speed dual-clutch sequential gearbox that transferred power to all four wheels.
At the time, Citroen claimed this drivetrain emits just 70 grams of CO2 per kilometre (less than the Toyota Prius), and it was said to be capable of running on pure electricity, petrol, or a combination of both.
Citroen has as yet released no details whatsoever regarding the new concept, but the eventual production version is likely to be pitched as a more affordable alternative to the likes of the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series... but initially only for the Chinese market.
The China offensive is in line with the fact that the world’s most populous nation is now Citroen’s largest market, ahead of France. According to overseas reports, the new range-topper will be built as part of Citroen’s joint venture with the Changan Automotive Group in Guangdong province.
As for the DS9 nameplate, it’s a reference to the iconic DS19 that broke all contemporary design norms when it debuted in 1955 and was subsequently the mode of transport for all French dignitaries, including Charles de Gaulle.
In fact, de Gaulle credited the DS for saving his life during an assassination attempt in 1962, during which shots had blown two of the tyres, but the car still managed to escape at speed.