1988 Peugeot Oxia Concept Car


Image Gallery: Concept Cars The 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car looked like a refugee from a futuristic race course. Its name comes from the Oxia Palus region of the planet Mars.  See more concept car pictures.
© 2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Nobody had to look twice to realize what the1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car was meant to be: A high-performance touring coupe. Spotlighted at the Paris Auto Show, the 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car looked like it had just been driven in from a race track -- and a race track of the future, at that.

It could have, too, because unlike many prototypes and concept cars, the stunning 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car was fully operational. And by operational, we're talking about a twin-turbo V-6 churning out a whopping 670 horsepower at an ear-splitting 8200 rpm. Even with all that superpower the Oxia wasn't a bone-shattering racing machine, but a comfortable, well-behaved motorcar.

"Dramatic" barely begins to define the 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car's sharply angular profile. Wheels were pushed all the way out to the corners of the body, reducing front and rear overhang to a minimum. The short, plunging line of the hood -- led by slatted air intakes -- blended serenely into the vast windshield, with its generous and steeply angled expanse of glass.

The roofline's smooth curve continued rearward to blend at an elegant tangent with the tail. At the rear, a variable aileron looked ready to carry the Oxia off the ground -- perhaps into outer space, or maybe to send it burrowing down into the ground.

No less unique was a view of the car from the top, which showed a body that widened at the rear rather than remaining of similar breadth throughout its length. The cockpit narrowed sharply toward the roof.

Beautifully curved door windows edged into tiny triangular quarter panes. Thin-edged spoilers scarcely cleared the ground, and the bodysides were highlighted by deep cutouts in the lower regions.

It took a bit of squinting but, as interior stylist Paul Bracq pointed out, there was a definite family resemblance between the Peugeot Oxia concept car and real-world Peugeots -- and not just the corporate insignia at the center of the slatted grille.

The 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car may have looked like it belonged in outer space, and that's where its name came from. Oxia Palus is the name of a region on the planet Mars that happens to be situated at latitude zero and longitude zero: the starting point for geographic measurements. Peugeot's Oxia, described as "making its earthly debut" in Paris, was viewed by some as a starting point for future performance vehicles.

To learn about the design of the 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car, keep reading.

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1988 Peugeot Oxia Concept Car Design

The twin-turbo V-6 of the 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car was in the tail. This drawing also shows the car's four-wheel steering and all-wheel-drive systems.
The twin-turbo V-6 of the 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car was in the tail. This drawing also shows the car's four-wheel steering and all-wheel-drive systems.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car design originated at Peugeot's La Garenne research center in France. The car was packed with futuristic technology but wasn't really as far-out as it appeared. Senior engineer Jean Derampe called it "more than a showpiece.

By synthesizing functional reality with advanced Peugeot technologies, we've built a car that can be driven in the real world."

The super-powered, transverse-mounted, 2849cc V-6 lived behind the passenger compartment and had four valves per cylinder, operated by twin overhead cams on each bank. The Bosch Motronic management system used two separate computers (one for each bank).

The hydraulic twin-disc clutch of the Peugeot Oxia concept car engaged the 6-speed gearbox, which led to limited-slip front and rear differentials completing the all-wheel-drive package.

All four wheels steered, too, using a mechanical variable-assist system that "enhances maneuverability at all road speeds." The electrically-adjustable rear spoiler changed angle according to road speed, to deliver peak stability at each velocity, all the way up to the conservatively claimed 187-mph limit (as we'll later see).

The Peugeot Oxia concept car's electronic tire monitoring system measured both the temperature and pressure of the 17-inch Michelin tires, which were mounted on magnesium alloy wheels. If its sensors detected a problem, the system even indicated the maximum speed that could be safely driven until a repair is made.

However, that was only part of the Oxia's complement of electronic helpers. Doors were unlocked and opened to the ajar position, either separately or simultaneously, via an electromagnetic locking system.

An electronic tire monitoring system was a much ballyhooed safety feature of the Oxia, which relied on tire integrity as it approached its 217-mph top speed.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The car's communications center previewed systems that would be commonplace on cars in the 2000s. It included a radiotelephone to receive weather and traffic bulletins, as well as route and destination information.

The Peugeot Oxia's built-in personal computer Its color display screen, tracker ball, and keyboard could handle either travel, business, or personal chores. Key in information about your departure location, destination, and points along the route, and a road map appeared on the screen to display your progress.The map's scale depended on the speed of the car. Databases even delivered facts on hotel accommodations in upcoming cities, or schedules for public transit.

The Peugeot Oxia concept car interior was as space-age as its design. Read about it on the next page.

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1988 Peugeot Oxia Concept Car Interior

The 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car interior drew on solar cells for electrical power. The dashboard included a computer and a map display.
The 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car interior drew on solar cells for electrical power. The dashboard included a computer and a map display.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car interior continued the theme of futuristic comfort. Computerized air conditioning made sure that the selected temperature and airflow stayed constant, regardless of external conditions. When the car was stopped, this system drew power from 18 solar cells, to maintain airflow through the passenger compartment.

Getting into the two-seater wasn't so easy, since you had to climb over a tall sill. Once inside you found a blend of traditional leather and future high-tech. The tall console swept downward, with a high gearshift lever in easy reach. A steel-blue anodized finish decorated the aluminum dashboard.

Electrically-adjustable seats contained a five-point safety harness. Carpets were bright blue; trim was a colored mix of anthracite gray and steel blue. Electrically powered mirrors stood right at eye level, aligned with the inside mirror to produce a wide field of view.

As for entertainment, the Peugeot Oxia concept car's stereo system came with a compact disc player -- a cutting-edge device in a car at the time. Both the driver and passenger had an entertainment-selection keyboard located on the door panel.

Body construction borrowed considerably from race-car techniques, combining light weight with rigidity. An outer skin of carbon and Kevlar-epoxy resin composite was bonded to an aluminum honeycomb structure. The entire chassis assembly weighed only 180 pounds.

Peugeot was no stranger to dramatic concept cars, or to memorable production cars. After years of offering rather sedate passenger vehicles, the company suddenly came up with the speedy 205GTI in 1984. A year later, a turbocharged twin-cam 16-valve 205 Turbo 16, with all-wheel drive, won the World Rally Championship.

A long wheelbase gave the Oxia plenty of room for two passengers, the engine, and cargo space between the front and rear axles.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

At the 1985 Paris Auto Show, Peugeot displayed its futuristic Quasar concept sports car, which had been designed in-house, even though the legendary Pininfarina had styled many Peugeot production models. No less than the later Peugeot Oxia concept car, the fanciful Quasar had a science-fiction quality about it. Doors pivoted forward and up from the sculptured body, in the manner of Lamborghini's Countach.

The Quasar was just the first step in the eventual development of the 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car, however. Learn more about it on the next page.

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1988 Peugeot Oxia Concept Car Development

The 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car descended from a series of futuristic Peugeot cars.
The 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car descended from a series of futuristic Peugeot cars.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

It might be said 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car development began with the 1985 Peugeot Quasar concept car. The Quasar was an early indicator of what the 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car would look like.

Immense side intake ducts adorned the body, while occupants sat inside a massive glass canopy. Twin megaphone exhaust pipes blared out the back end. The Quasar also belted out a mean 600 horsepower, not far short of its later cousin, and was packed with electronic gadgetry from the Clarion company of Japan. A computer system stood ready to map out travel routes, perform a standard safety check, and warn of road and traffic conditions ahead.

For 1986 came the Peugeot Proxima concept vehicle, a free-form four-wheeler that hid beneath its avant-garde styling some of the high-tech mechanicals that made the French company a force on world rally competition.

Indeed, in 1988, a Peugeot 405 Turbo 16 rally car with four-wheel-steering made a record-breaking run up Pikes Peak. Peugeot teams have also fared well in World Cup Championship racing, prompting the development of a race car to enter the Sports-Prototype World Championship, which included the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The company had also been active in the electric-vehicle field, with a number of small fleets running in Europe. In 1989, Peugeot was the only full-scale automaker among seven finalists in a bid to bring electric vehicles to the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power. Unfortunately, sales of conventional Peugeots in the U.S. didn't keep pace with the company's other successes, declining each year from 1984 to 1990.

Interior styling chief Paul Bracq, as reported in Automobile magazine, compared the Peugeot Oxia concept car with exoticars of decades past, calling it "my idea of a Delage, Delahaye, or Talbot for the 1990s." Though it wouldn't ever see service on real roads, certain features were slated to appear in Peugeot racing models -- and perhaps in production cars as well.

A few lucky souls were offered a test drive in which the Oxia concept car shrieked past at over 200 mph.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

To demonstrate that Oxia was more than a showpiece, Peugeot invited journalists for a ride around a French track. With a Michelin test driver at the wheel, the supercoupe reached a speed of 217 mph, well above the company's claim.

Peugeot described its Peugeot Oxia concept car creation as "the very essence of the dreamer which lies hidden deep in the heart of modern man." It was the car that "all would like to own but nobody can."

For specifications of the Peugeot Oxia concept car, go to the next page.

For more on concept cars and the production models they forecast, check out:

1988 Peugeot Oxia Concept Car Specifications

The 3,000-pound 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car was a runner. Below its skin was a 670-horsepower V-6, all-wheel-drive, and four-wheel steering.
The 3,000-pound 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car was a runner. Below its skin was a 670-horsepower V-6, all-wheel-drive, and four-wheel steering.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The 1988 Peugeot Oxio concept car earned its name from a region of Mars, and to some onlookers the vehicle did indeed seem to have arrived from outer space. But a look at the 1988 Peugeot Oxia concept car specifications listed below indicated that the car was decidedly of this world.

Manufacturer: Automobiles Peugeot, Paris, France

Body design: 2-passenger, 2-door coupe; carbon-fiber and Kevlar body on aluminum structure

Powertrain layout: mid-engine, 4-wheel drive

Wheelbase: 110.2 inches

Overall length: 181.5 inches

Overall width: 79.5 inches

Overall height: 44.5 inches

Track, front: 68.3 inches

Track, rear: 66.3 inches

Weight: 3,000 pounds

Approximate price: not available

Engine type: twin turbo-charged dohc V-6 (24-valve)

Displacement (liters/cu. in.): 2.8/174

Horsepower @ rpm: 670 @ 8200

Torque (lbs./ft.) @ rpm: 535 @ 4500

Fuel delivery: Bosch Motronic fuel injection

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Suspension, front: superimposed wishbones, coil spring/ shock assembly

Suspension, rear: superimposed wishbones, coil spring/ shock assembly

Brakes: front/rear vented discs, anti-lock

1988 Peugeot Oxia Concept Car Performance

Top speed: 217 mph

0-60 mph: under 5.0 seconds

Quarter-mile: not available

mph @ quarter-mile: not available

For more on concept cars and the production models they forecast, check out: