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Citroen GT

Virtual racer becomes reality as French firm powers up Paris show stunner.

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

With its muscular V8 engine, the GTbyCitroen sounds and goes as angrily as it looks. The cabin’s copper-effect dashboard and aluminium switchgear are stunning, while the menacing horizontal front and rear LED lights result in a revolutionary supercar shape. The sole downside we can see is that the only place UK buyers will ever be able to own one is in the virtual garage of their PlayStation 3.

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Meet the super Citroen that’s a real play station! This striking concept demonstrates what can happen when the worlds of computer gaming and car design come together.

Rivalling any Ferrari or Lamborghini for visual drama, the GTbyCitroen – to give it its full name – was first seen at October’s Paris Motor Show. Now, it has hit the road, and Auto Express got behind the wheel for an exclusive drive.

The GT is here thanks to the passion of two enthusiasts: Citroen designer Takumi Yamamoto and the boss of Polyphony Digital – the firm behind the award-winning Sony PlayStation racing game, Gran Turismo – Kazunori Yamauchi. Essentially, the pair collaborated to create a supercar not for the road, but for the computer screen.

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Several sketches later, the GT was born. Yet they weren’t content with having an exclusive machine for the best-selling game – so Citroen decided to build the working concept you see here.

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The car in the game uses a fuel cell, but this roadgoing model features a race-derived 560bhp V8 engine. No official figures have been provided, and Citroen is keeping tight-lipped about its performance. Judging by the pace on offer, though, we’d guess at a 0-60mph time of around four seconds.

With no sound deadening, the noise is awesome. The big V8 roars through the rev range and pops and bangs angrily when you lift off the throttle. But it’s not really the engine or how big the brakes are that’s important – it’s the way it looks. The GT is more than five metres long, and its menacing exterior is made up of 21-inch diamond-effect alloy wheels, scissor doors, blue LED headlights and enormous air intakes. The smooth-flowing lines along the side of the car are met with sharp edges at the front, which accentuate the angry look.

Gran Turismo’s designers said the GT needed to be aesthetically pleasing from the rear, too, as that is the view most gamers will see while playing. Citroen has delivered. The carbon diffuser hangs beneath a massive air vent, horizontal LED lights and wing.

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Inside, the space-age interior would make NASA proud. The only similarity between the GT’s cabin and any other road car is its pedal layout. The dashboard is covered in a copper material and features flared lines and edges, while the switchgear is in a race-style aluminium pod to the right of the driver.

You change gear using two steering wheel-mounted push-buttons, with a digital display in the roof showing the chosen ratio. It is without any shadow of a doubt one of the most striking cars ever created.

The GT has been brought to life to prove that the French company can take a fantasy machine from the computer screen to the road and that it is able to build supercars if it so wishes. Unfortunately, the only way anybody will ever own one is by buying a PlayStation 3 and a copy of Gran Turismo 5: Prologue, then earning one million credits.

But while you won’t be seeing it in a showroom near you any time soon, maybe its dramatic design cues will shape the Citroens of tomorrow.

Rival: Peugeot HYmotion4 Not to be outdone by Citroen, Peugeot took the wraps off the RC HYmotion4 concept at the Paris Motor Show. The four-door supercar boasts a hybrid powerplant and a shape as stunning as the GT’s.

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