From the French comes a 1,000kW front-wheel drive sports car
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I like front-wheel drive, and will defend it to the kilt. But even I have to concede that this new concept car is ... perhaps a bit much.
It comes to us via DS Automobiles — the luxury arm of French outfit PSA — and it's called the DS E-Tense Concept. This is what the team believe "a dream car might resemble in the year 2035."
No, don't expect to see this on the showroom floor for quite some time. On the contrary, the E-Tense is more 'design exploration' than a pursuit of a realistic release.
"We were given complete freedom to give shape our dreams and this creative process led us to imagine a two-facetted car, capable of delivering the best of two worlds: that of providing intense, unfettered driving enjoyment, with an abundance of power, and that of blending the art of living "à la française" with autonomous motoring," said DS design director Thierry Metroz.
"In a way, DS X E-TENSE comes across as a reinterpretation of the motorcycle side-car, with a bold asymmetric stance, but on four wheels."
Without question the wildest element of the E-Tense's exterior is the asymmetrical profile. A front 'grill' sits in front of the driver's side, while the two flanking vents (both differently sized) are integrated via some trippy LED cross-hatching.
While the driver gets an open-cockpit to play with, the solitary passenger gets their own pyramid-shaped "cocoon" cabin space — accessed via a gull-wing door. At the rear, a similar spider-web formation makes up the taillight structure, while the passenger cocoon cascades down the rear into an aggressive diffuser.
There are many other strange elements in the E-Tense, like bodywork that can recover "its original form after an impact", but it's the power-train that we need to talk about. Front-wheel drive, electric-motors, and 1,000kW.
"Located within the front wheels, the two motors selected as the source of the all-electric DS X E-TENSE’s power provide unrivalled response," they say.
"For road use, peak power stands at 400kW (540 horsepower), a figure that rises to 1,000kW (1,360 horsepower) in ‘circuit’ mode which allows the driver to savour the exquisite performance of the suspension engineered by DS."
We've seen some amazing technology in recent years to mitigate front-wheel drive foibles like torque steer. But the idea of directing that much power to two front wheels, forcing them to balance putting it to the ground and steering at the same time, is frankly ludicrous.
Perhaps DS Automobile know something about upcoming front-wheel drive technologies that the rest of us don't? For now, this silly concept remains just that ... a concept.