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Chrysler - Citadel

Citadel Gives Hybrid Double Meaning

4 January 1999

The Chrysler Citadel concept car.

DETROIT, Jan. 3 -- Blend a luxury sport sedan with the brawn and sense of security of a sport-utility vehicle, mix in a futuristic performance powertrain, and you have the inspiration for the Chrysler Citadel concept car. 

"If you own a luxury sedan or luxury sport-utility vehicle, you may be wondering what your next purchase should be," said Neil Walling, Vice President, Advanced Design and Exterior Large Car, Small Car and Minivan Design - DaimlerChrysler Corporation.

"We believe we may have just found the answer.

"The Citadel is a hybrid-hybrid, a new breed of crossover vehicle in a category all by itself. It provides the driving passion of the Chrysler 300M with ample cargo room."

While Citadel is a hybrid among market segments, it is also a hybrid of powertrains; that is, it draws power from two different sources.

"It's a performance hybrid," explained Bernard Robertson, Senior Vice President, Engineering Technologies - DaimlerChrysler Corporation. "The Citadel gives you V-8 power with V-6 fuel economy.

A gas engine propels the rear wheels and electricity drives the front wheels. We use the hybrid concept to recover energy normally lost when braking, while providing all-wheel-drive without the complexities of a more conventional parallel hybrid.

"Other hybrids are designed to give maximum fuel economy," Robertson said. "The Citadel is designed to be efficient in how it delivers performance -- a four-wheel-drive hybrid for enthusiasts, if you will. If enthusiasts embraced the technology because of what it can do for performance and utility, that would provide a huge boost to hybrid development.

"Consumers want performance in a vehicle without sacrificing fuel economy, and we believe this unique concept offers an innovative way to accomplish that."

The rear wheels move by way of a 3.5-liter, V-6 and the front wheels receive additional power from Siemens Automotive's electric motors, which have been used on electric vehicles, similar to the Dodge Caravan/Plymouth Voyager EPIC electric minivan. The V-6 generates 253 horsepower and the electric motors add another 70 horsepower.

The powertrain isn't the only unique technology showcased in the Citadel. It offers easy access from both the side and the rear cargo area with the help of innovative ideas. The Citadel features dual-power sliding rear doors and a retracting cargo door that slides under the floor. Most interesting is the structure that separates the front and rear doors, called the B pillar -- it actually moves with the rear door as it opens to maximize accessibility.

"We wanted to make it easy for a wheelchair-bound driver to get in and out of the driver's seat," Walling said. "We've done a pretty good job, I'm told, with full-size vans for the physically challenged. Why not give the disabled driver or passenger the option of a stylish crossover vehicle?

"We wanted them to be able to slide into the front seat, collapse their wheelchair and store it in the rear passenger seat, all without having to get out of the driver's seat. As we went along, we realized that convenience would also have a broad appeal."

 

The Citadel is liquid green with a tan and green leather interior. It's built off the Chrysler Concorde floorpan and body-in-white. The concept car is 192 inches long, 75 inches wide and 59 inches tall. It's "cab rearward" and has a relatively long wheelbase for its length -- 125 inches-because the Citadel is primarily a rear-wheel-drive vehicle.

The Citadel was sketched by Osamu Shikado, best known for designing the exterior of the 1998 Chrysler Chronos concept car. Both vehicles have a short front overhang, relatively long distance between the instrument panel and the front axle, and a long wheelbase (Chronos is 131 inches), but the similarity ends there.

"Both cars have heroic proportions," Shikado, a native of Japan, explained, "but they are very different statements. The Citadel is very contemporary, whereas the Chronos was the epitome of Chrysler heritage. The Citadel's windows, side panels and tires are flush to create a body section that designers call monocoque."

The result is a vehicle with two inches more ground clearance and three inches taller than the Chrysler Concorde. It has 20 cubic feet of storage room compared to the 18.7 cubic feet for the Concorde, 22.2 cubic feet for the Plymouth Voyager (aft of the rear seat) and 18.8 cubic feet for the Dodge Durango (all seats up).

The storage area isn't the only feature with big dimensions. The Citadel also maintains Chrysler's tradition of big wheels (19 inches in the front, 20 inches in the rear), shown with cast aluminum wheels. Goodyear Extended Mobility tires are featured (P235/55R19 in the front and P245/55R20 in the rear).

The interior design effort was led by Akino Tsuchiya, also of Japan, who said she was trying to create the feeling of a European luxury sedan, balanced with touches of art deco influence.

"I was able to keep the serious business look, yet add more character to it," Tsuchiya said. "That's most evident in the shape of the center vents, center console, radio stalks, steering wheel and seats."

Traditional wood, black jade leather, brushed aluminum and chrome accents also help to set the mood.

The center console helps to create a sense of privacy for the driver and front seat passenger and allows for the heat and air conditioning controls to be placed closer to the driver, within easy reach.

The design of the instrument panel gauges is influenced by high-end sports watches such as Chronoswiss and Blancpain. Hand-sculpted chrome is used for the indices on the face of the gauges. Handmade chrome bevels around the odometer and clock lend a sense of quality. This jewelry-like quality is carried through on the details in the steering wheel, door control modules, pedals and the folding tray table on the back side of the front seats.

Another dominant theme throughout the interior is the "heavy, tighter stitching, machined to look handmade," as seen in premium luggage lines such as Louis Vuitton and Coach. The stitching effect is carried through even to the smallest details -- on the shifter knob, steering wheel and overhead consoles.

For added panache, the overhead console features a compass encased in liquid.

To maximize functionality, the rear seats fold down to be flush with the rear cargo floor. Aluminum ribbed accents make loading easy.

This is the fourth hybrid concept car shown by DaimlerChrysler (including three from the former Chrysler Corporation), but the first to emphasize performance for the streets. The Patriot race car, first shown at the 1994 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, was a bold initiative to use flywheel energy storage technology and a unique turbo- alternator to create a vehicle capable of racing at LeMans. That effort led to more than 60 inventions with patent applications pending or in process.

The Dodge Intrepid ESX, introduced in 1996, weighed only 2,800 pounds and achieved 55 miles per gallon but would have cost $80,000 per vehicle in mass production. It was also limited in acceleration (0-60 in 15 seconds, hardly performance numbers). Last year, the company took lightweight materials and affordability to new levels. The 1998 Dodge Intrepid ESX2 concept car weighed only 2,250 pounds, achieved 70 miles per gallon and would have cost $35,000 in mass production.

SOURCE: Chrysler

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