Motor Shows

Peugeot e-Legend Concept revealed

A legend, re-interpreted for 2018 tastes with pure-electric power.
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Peugeot has revealed its e-Legend Concept, an all-electric two-door with looks inspired by the 504 coupe.

The timing of the launch isn't a coincidence: the 504 on which the e-Legend is based was released 50 years ago. This is Peugeot paying tribute to one of its best-known, best-looking models while setting the scene for its next generation products.

Power comes from a twin-motor electric setup making a combined 340kW and 800Nm, delivered to all four wheels. It'll hit 100km/h in less than four seconds, and tops out at 220km/h – when you're not chasing top speed, the 100kWh battery is good for over 600km on a charge.

Four drive modes are offered, two autonomous and two human-focused: Soft or Sharp, and Legend or Boost.

We'll start with the driver-oriented ones, given that's what you're keen to hear about. Legend is aimed at laid-back cruising, with fake wood and a tri-dial layout on the touchscreen-heavy interior infotainment system, while Boost promises "dynamic and stimulating driving" with a more modern, immersive instrument setup.

On the autonomous side of things, Soft is pitched as a relaxing, minimalist setup, while Sharp places priority on keeping people in touch with their social calendar. The steering wheel retracts when the car is in an autonomous mode, the front seats recline, armrests deploy and a 49-inch screen can be used for entertainment. That's bigger than the television in my house.

The seats themselves are trimmed in vivid, blue fabric dubbed 'silk velvet' by Peugeot, while the door trims and upper dash is finished in renewably-sourced wood designed to evoke 1960s furniture. There are screens everywhere, from the aforementioned 49-inch unit under the dashboard to a 6.0-inch unit on the centre console, designed to adapt based on the chosen drive mode.

Outside, the e-Legend is a sharper-edged, more modern interpretation of the 504 coupe. The twin headlights are a clear nod to the past, as is the car's upright profile and sharply-cut rear end. Although it's clearly an homage, the e-Legend also has its own thing going on, with tougher proportions and a more muscular stance than its 60s forebear.

"Offering such an aesthetic, technological and immersive experience in such a compact coupé guided us throughout the project," Matthias Hossann, head of Peugeot concept cars, said of the design.

"It is this realism in terms of volume and proportion that gives Peugeot e-Legend Concept its strength and enables it to embody our ambition with this much modernity and energy."

Measuring 4650mm long, 1930mm wide and 1370mm tall, with a 2690mm wheelbase, the car is similar in size to the 508 sedan – although the practical four-door is slightly (10mm) longer and taller (30mm).

To our eyes, the car is similar in appeal to the Honda Urban EV or Nissan IDx. Like both those cars, it takes a classic formula and respectfully drags it into the 21st century, re-imagining the cues that made its predecessor famous for a new audience.

That's not an easy thing to do. There's always a risk retro design will be tacky or forced, while overdoing the whole 'electric, modern' element can make the concept too far removed from its inspiration. Like the Urban EV, the e-Legend nails the balance.

It'll be on display at the Paris motor show, which kicks off on October 2.