DS unveils its Geneva 2020 concept car : the Aéro Sport Lounge. But fifteen years ago, a concept car of the same name made its appearance in Frankfurt before being transformed into a… DS 5 ! Will the DS Aéro Sport Lounge also be transformed into a production DS, a DS 9 Crossback for example ?
In 2005, a spectacular bright yellow machine on Citroën’s stand at the Frankfurt Motor Show illuminates the grey skies of September. “I had imagined it in grey, a very beautiful grey,” says designer Frédéric Soubirou, almost fifteen years later. Lost : the machine sparkles and not only by its colour. Its name: C-Sportlounge.
The starting brief for this concept car, which will remain a milestone in the history of Citroën’s style, is both simple and complex. Simple, because Jean-Pierre Ploué, then head of Citroën design for five years, asked his designers to create “a new generation of vehicle between the saloon and the MPV,” recalls Frédéric. Complicated, “because Jean-Pierre didn’t want a minivan connotation, but a sporty, statutory vehicle,” he adds. Like all concept car projects, there is an internal competition between the brand’s designers. Frédéric Soubirou’s design was chosen.
The C-Sportlounge brief wants to reinvent the one-box sedan by giving it the attributes of a sports car and the status of a premium car. “I proposed this monolithic shape which immediately appealed to Jean-Pierre. But he wanted something even more statuesque, otherwise we’d fall back into the world of the MPV. And that’s how the famous ‘sabre’ was born. “The ‘sabre’ is the aluminium rod that starts on the front wing and rises up to the base of the windscreen.
” Thanks to this sword, we have a clear reading of a strong front bonnet despite a very advanced windscreen. At the front, we also wanted to assert the car’s character by abandoning the rather thin front grilles of the previous concepts” like the one of the C-Airdream prototype. ” The C-Sportlounge grille is a kind of nozzle and is framed by side scoops. It brings the monolithic volume which is coupled with a conventional rear end, in the spirit of the shooting brake.” It’s important to put the C-Sportlounge concept car in its context, because at the time, the PSA group didn’t yet talk about the Citroën DS line.
If the C-Sportlounge marks a milestone in the brand’s design history, it’s because it will lead to the birth of the DS5 in 2011, a car born in pain as it enters a new segment. A suffering that Frédéric Soubirou will have (somewhat) experienced during the genesis of “his” first concept car. “I have a thousand anecdotes about this car because it’s my first. The one that opened a great series for me with the DS3, the DS Revolt or the Survolt. But internally, it wasn’t easy in 2004 – 2005 to impose your ideas when you’re young, with little experience, and I was also discovering the reality of making a concept car with an extremely tight schedule !”
In 2010, when he designed the second-generation C4 Picasso, Frédéric had the desire to bring his 2005 intentions to fruition with the C-Sportlounge and removed all the “edges” from the concept car to give birth to a monospace with smooth shapes. Nevertheless, the C-Sportlounge remains a high point in the life of this designer who, as early as primary school, was called to order because he always found a way to pencil a car into his poetic drawings…
SUBJECT TAKEN FROM THE BOOK “CONCEPT-CAR ET PROTOTYPES D’ETUDES CITROËN” PUBLISHED BY BJB. You can order it here : https://www.bjbeditions.com/products/concept-cars-et-prototypes-detudes-citroen