Peugeot Fractal Concept unveiled

By Bob Nagy on September 2, 2015 7:23 AM

Testing the waters for a possible future production model, the Peugeot Fractal Concept makes its debut this month at the Frankfurt Auto Show. This electric-powered "urban coupe" with a liftoff roof introduces a number of new tech touches, from a bounty of 3D printed components and an even more advanced iteration of Peugeot's i Cockpit to an innovative "9.1.2" audio package and a high-performance all-wheel drive system that also features a variable-ride-height suspension.

A sonic sensation

Weighing just 2,200 pounds, the 4-passenger Fractal Concept is the first ever Peugeot to have both its exterior and interior "identity" co-developed with a sound designer, in this case, Brazilian musician and audio expert Amon Tobin. Dubbed "an ideas incubator that explores design and manufacturing processes," the 150.0-inch long Fractal's exterior matches a Coupe Frache finish that transitions from pearl white to matte black composite. It rides on unique 19-inch Tall&Narrow tires that wrap around bespoke 3D-printed wheels featuring design elements borrowed from anechoic chambers that reduce the noise levels. 

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The overall look of Fractal's cabin boasts a similar anechoic chamber design influence, and here, over 80 percent of the components also were created using a 3D printer. Details include a holographic head-up display to augment the primary 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, yoke-style multifunction steering wheel, a 7.7-inch AMOLED touchscreen built into the center console that can control all of the ancillary functions and a trick satellite navigation system that actively "speaks" to the driver from different virtual positions -- inside and outside of the vehicle -- to help pass along information more effectively. Many functions of the Fractal also can be controlled using a Samsung Gear S smartwatch.

Bass that reaches out and grabs you 

Arguably the highlight element in the mix is a new 9.1.2 sound system developed by PSA's global research unit, StelLab, along with input from French audio specialist Focal. The sophisticated setup, which provides distinctive sonic profiles for the Fractal's closed and open configurations, offers the most immersive experience yet for the driver and passengers. A large part of that comes from the car's revolutionary "tactile bass" system created by an American firm, SubPac. It uses a subwoofer mounted into each of the front seatbacks to pass sound directly into the body of their respective occupants. 

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Motivation for the Peugeot Fractal Concept is provided by a pair of electric motors - one at each axle - that are energized by a 30kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Developing a collective 201 horsepower, they let the Fractal Concept accelerate from 0-62 mph in 6.8 seconds and travel up to 280 miles on a single charge. In keeping with its character, the Fractal also produces a unique sonic signature that announces its presence to pedestrians and cyclists.

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