By on April 13, 2014


The Chinese will be the first to lay eyes on Peugeot’s beautiful new concept car, the Exalt, at the Beijing Auto Show that starts later in the month. Along with great artistic touches inside and out, it’s also a hybrid that can run on gasoline, pure electricity or both. The Exalt is a sedan that anticipates Peugeot’s take on the sedan as a coupe -and it’s another example of a dying brand throwing a “hail mary” pass in the form of an attractive concept car.

The Exalt measures in at just 185 inches long, though it weighs about 3,700 lbs. Its sheetmetal mimics hand-hammered steel plates that were common in luxury cars, most especially French ones, in the 20s and 30s of the last century. There’s also special cloth that supposedly feels like shark skin covering the car’s back haunches.

Inside, Peugeot’s mastery of the beautiful comes completely to the fore. The artful finishing is a mix of ebony, a wool based textile and carbon fiber. Digital screens take the place of the instruments. There’s also a clever system that purifies the air, even when the car is not running.

The car is motivated by Peugeot’s highly regarded 1.6 THP turbo engine, which produces 270 hp in this version. There’s also an electric motor in the back. Put together, the ensemble puffs up the power to 340 hp. Unfortunately, but perhaps in tune with the times, the car is a full 6 speed automatic.

If Peugeot can extend any of these ideas to their production cars, I for one could see them becoming desirable cars again. The brand is slowly clawing their way back with cars like the 208 and 308 – which just won Europe’s Car of the Year award. But just as Citroen has the Cactus, Peugeot needs something like the Exalt to put them back in the imaginations of car buyers.

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33 Comments on “Dispatches Do Brasil: The 11th Hour...”

  • avatar

    It is a good looking car, but I’m just not getting too excited (although I like the steering wheel). So it’s a hybrid, so it has more power than I’ll ever want, and too much weight, and probably fairly bad visibility out those slit windows.

    The only really exciting thing is the air purification system. Systems like that could probably have a fair amount of positive public health impact, especially for people who commute in traffic. (Don’t everyone break out in a Snoopy dance!)

    What I really want is a 404 wagon.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s too bad they don’t make a station wagon for the 4. There’s one for the 3 and another for the 5, but for the 4 you’re stuck with a CUV, which is built with Mitsubishi if I recall correctly.

      I bet the air purifier will be a strong selling point in China!

  • avatar

    Man alive, it’s been such a long time since I’ve seen a true design concept such as this. IMHO, I think this design shows true innovation, exterior and interior, unique features and materials, etc. Even the appearance of the hand-hammered steel plate is different. I have always loved the French ability to make comfortable car with good driving dynamics and hope that Peugeot and Citroen survive with these types of car.

  • avatar

    Its unfortunate that like everything else coming from the French automotive industry of late ;

    The concept is great

    The execution [ if it ever happens ] will be a disappointment

    The engineering will suck

    The car [ again assuming it happens ] will not sell worth a damn

    And another French automaker will take yet another hit to the pocketbook in what is looking like a long slow death in the making for their entire automotive industry

    Truly …. the French are [ and have been for the last 30 years ] .. damned and determined to shoot themselves in the foot . Which in light of their glorious and innovative past …. is a damn crying shame

    Oh … but hell … the French can’t even make good coffee anymore [ NYTimes ] so ….

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      I have to agree with you on the coffee. But the coffee was a lot better last year than in 2011.

      But I think Dunkin’ Donuts has the worst crap they try and pass off for coffee globally.

      You are correct about how the French could possibly screw things up.

      But, with some Chinese intervention, it might work.

      The Renault-Nissan Alliance is safe.

    • 0 avatar
      Vojta Dobeš

      I haven’t driven the new crop of Peugeots yet (but I’m trying to get some for TTAC review), but starting some 3 years ago, the PSA cars started showing a HUGE improvement in terms of engineering and driving dynamics. Especially the 1.6 THP engine is a gem, and lots of their cars are actually pretty good. I was stunned by Peugeot RCZ, which I expected to suck royally, but found it to be excellent automobile. The Citroën DS4 is one of the best half-premium small crossovers out there and I would take it over (much more expensive) Audi Q3 or BMW X1 any day. And C3 Picasso is just lovely.

      On the other hand, C4 Picasso is a piece of shit, the “basic” C4 is just dreadfully boring and average and I didn’t see people being excited about the 208, either.

      But still, this is better track record than the FCA, which tends to fuck up nearly everything it tries to do…

      • 0 avatar

        agree completely with the first paragraph.

        2nd paragraph, the C4 Picasso is a family car and as such is a nice enough van. Good space for the family, fair economy, good dynamics if you treat it as it’s meant to be. People are excited about the 208 here. Would sell bundles more if more realistic on price. Seems that in France, Belgium, Spain (among others) people like it just fine.

        As to third paragraph, with the exception of the Dart in US (which can still be saved) and possibly the 300C as Lancia, everything they have done has met with success. Still a long way to go though.

    • 0 avatar

      I am not sure where you are getting your information. It seems to me to be pure opinion, because you have not substantiated any of your comments.
      The French motor industry is in trouble because of economic reasons, because they are far smaller than the German motor industry and do not have the international market the Germans enjoy.
      Economic issues aside, Renault has been producing very good cars over the last 15 years. Let me substantiate that statement by pointing to the Clio as the best selling compact in Europe, the Dacia (Renault) Duster that is shaking up the market every where it is sold. One more thing, every single car in Renault’s line up has a 5 star Euro-ncap safety rating and that makes Renault the leading brand in car safety. Peugeot / Citroen are not far behind but they are not where Renault is. This post discusses real innovations that show that this brand is not dieing off.
      The Renault / Nissan alliance is very strong right now and I believe they 4th largest manufacturer globally. I would say the French motor industry is stronger than many people, who jump to glib uneducated conclusions, might think.

    • 0 avatar

      Yep, nothing in the last 30 yrs. Except for Renault buying – Nissan the greatest coup in recent automobile history. A conglomerate spanning the globe, 4th in sales. Creators of the very successful Dacia branding exercise that has spawned the Logan line (car which if you take all variants and count as one is probably 4th in sales all over the world). A French led conglomerate strong in Europe, the US. Present in all emerging markets in the world. Owners of Lada.

      Yeah, they have absolutely done nothing for the longest time.

  • avatar

    Thats a fine Mazda 929.

  • avatar

    It looks like a baboon in heat, which should appeal to other baboons.

  • avatar

    270hp out of a 1.6. Not bad. I am guessing that, given this motor is “highly regarded”, it is reliable to. I’ll bet that will infuriate the “French cars are Sh1t” crowd ;-)

    • 0 avatar

      You mean like Germany’s TUV? There are zero French cars in their list of the 20 most reliable cars in Europe and 9 French cars in the list of the 20 least reliable cars in Europe. Half of the most reliable cars are Japanese and none of the least reliable ones. Merde is what you make of it.

      • 0 avatar

        Like you say, it’s all relative. IIRC, TUV was recently involved in a scandal where it was shown they favored German manufacturers. Little surprise there, German Inc. is very well oiled as is Japan Ltd. Like when talking of Consumer Reports, there are lots of people out there that value some style and better drive in their cars at the expense of being bored to death by absolute reliability and their minds numbed by either very boring or weird design.

        • 0 avatar

          So are you trying to suggest that Germany’s TUV gave out half of their top rankings to Japanese cars because “German Inc. is very well oiled as is Japan Ltd.?” Isn’t it more likely that all of the most reliable cars in Europe would be Japanese without pro-German bias?

          Engineering excellence isn’t boring, but I’m not a marketer’s dream.

          • 0 avatar

            I have no idea what TUV’s motivations are. in fact, it’s rather surprising that they concede so many positions to Japanese cars. I however have a healthy distrust for any of these rankings. Any can be misused and abused at any point and those who blindly follow them, and others like it, will be easily misled.

            As to being a tool, I’m not. But what I value is different than you. What I saw in this car was a valid and high level engineering in engines, and a sense of style that will hopefully lift PSA from the doldrums they’ve been in. At no point did I claim they are at the pinnacle of reliability. I mistrust them because I have seen many bad, inexplicable things. However, I also do know quite a few people who have only positive things to say. I for one hope they can get their act together because for now I admire them from afar. But I do admire their sense of style yes. And their ride, when they’re working. When the’re working they’re as good if not better than most things out there.

            As to Japanese cars being very reliable as a whole, even the absolute champions of reliability, there is little question of that. What I have often said is that the difference now is not as great as some believe. There is also that in pretty much all other areas where cars are judged, they ain’t bad but they’re hardly the best.

          • 0 avatar

            > I have no idea what TUV’s motivations are. in fact, it’s rather surprising that they concede so many positions to Japanese cars.

            This is a list that lists the Boxster and other Porsches as the most reliable, which is odd because the Germans aren’t known for their sense of humor.

            Seems akin to yelp sorting, where actual quality helps but so does paying them.

          • 0 avatar


          • 0 avatar

            If you look at the TUV methodology, the Porsche sports cars’ placements make sense. They inspect cars and rank them relative to their peers based on calendar age. Their inspections are comprehensive, as used for a Top Gear plot when they each bought old sports sedans. The number of defects they find on the Porsches is low because they see very little use relative to more mainstream cars.

          • 0 avatar

            > They inspect cars and rank them relative to their peers based on calendar age

            JD Power does the same thing for their ratings and it’s a trivially poor/wrong way to do the math since it tells prospective owners potentially nothing about the inherent reliability of the car.

            Regardless, if that’s what everyone claims to do, then barring significantly different usage patterns the results should be similar, and the fact that there are far more german cars in the TUV claims than the others makes them suspect.

    • 0 avatar

      Beerboy, the engines are great and are used by BMWs in their 1.6 cars. If there are problems, there doesn’t seem to be a recurring one that labels the engines as unreliable. They are also relatively new, but they are able to produce many different levels of hp and provide good fun. The ICE engine in this is the same as the engine in the RCZ and is the one that produces the most hp.

      Where PSA errs is in other areas. For example, there has recently been a big recall for many Peugeot and Citroën cars. Unfortunately, it seems that a suspension bit can fail and the fender will catch the wheel and have the obvious very unpleasant consequences. PSA engines, even in Brazil are considered quite good. They do seem to make more mistakes than others in other areas.

      Regardless, this is a styling exercise and shows that they haven’t forgotten beautiful. If they would improve their general quality they would surely grow. They do seem to be very hit and miss. Renault in contrast seems to hit a lot more than they miss.

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