First presented at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, the Peugeot 208 aims at marking a new design generation for the brand.
The project started at the end of 2007. In January 2008 the sketch phase began with an internal challenge.
The design theme was confirmed in January 2009, when the industrialisation phase started. One year later after the design-freeze the team began working on the Final Master Model.
Speaking about the main design theme of the 208, Design Director Gilles Vidal explains: “The strength of the 208 lies in its style: it is a real ball of energy. It has the potential to please everyone without being a weak compromise, like a popular piece of music that touches the human soul regardless of culture.”
“For the exterior design, ever since the Advance Project Phase, we have worked together to obtain this efficient, ground-breaking architecture with a very compact overhang (vehicle is 7 cm shorter than 207), and the fluidity of the short bonnet line and the windscreen.”
Back in January 2008, Sylvain Henry’s first sketches already illustrated this beautiful dynamic and compact outline that expresses the real qualities of 208: a car both light, agile and a real “ball of energy”.
Pierre Authier explains: “The whole team wanted to make this car a consistent evolution which will mark a new generation of design at Peugeot, based on emotion and sensations.”
The 3 doors and 5 doors versions were created each with a distinctive identity.
The 3 doors version was conceived with a specific, sporty character and stance. Its exterior features a carved side body panel, directly inspired by Peugeot SR1 concept, a sleek and sporty DLO and, above all, the chromed outline meeting the rear quarter panel, that offers an allusion to the legendary 205 GTi.
The 5 door has a less aggressive look, while maintaining the sculpted sides. The chromed trim surrounds the entire DLO, which is characterized by softer edges.
“We managed to design a car which is both sensually and clean in its form language yet sophisticated in the treatment of each detail. The theme is athletic and sculpted, embodying a feminine/masculine alchemy which is unique and powerful.”
On both the models, the designers introduced a number of strongly identifiable design themes.
- The small floating front grille, which embodies lightness and consumption reduction and bears the Peugeot lettering, sculpted in metal.
- The new LED light signature, which was designed to distinguish the different models.
- The front headlamps, which renew the Peugeot feline and charismatic look with a LED eyebrow, visible at night as well as in daylight.
- The tail lamps, which are displaying 3 LED claws within an original boomerang contour, inserted as a jewel in the car steel body.
Interior Design: re-generating the Supermini
“From the beginning of the project (2007) we wanted the 208 to Re-generate the B segment.”
“In the early conceptual phases, with Pierre Remond’s team (Andre Mermoz and Yong Wook Sin) we developed a new interior architecture. An ergonomic innovation to provide the driver with a much pleasant, simplified and intuitive driving experience in today’s ever changing world.”
In order to overcome this challenge, the new architecture was based on the following elements:
- A small and agile steering wheel which gives a more direct and precise drives providing complete control.
- A clean, precise cluster positioned just above the small steering wheel in order to give a more instant reading of relevant driving information without taking eyes off the route.
“This gave birth to what we call HUC (Head Up Cluster), a natural evolution of Peugeot 3008 HUD (Head Up Display).”
“In the central axe of the dashboard we have placed a touch screen in the optimal reach-vision zone.”
“This permitted us to reduce and simplify the usual collection (number) of buttons and commands into something more intuitive and direct, allowing more freedom to design.”
“This innovative architecture also gave Adam Bazydlo the base for a styling theme which is light, pure and sensual.”
“The obsession for details is visible as we have worked every design element in a precise and sculptural manner.
“Details like feline side air vents or the sensual chrome of the steering wheel or gear shift levers are just a few examples.”
In the cockpit white light is used for precision and easy reading of the driving information.
It is complemented by the ambiance blue light coming from the LEDs underline the floating cluster and the LED comets that light up the glass roof sides.
“To give the car complete consistency, exterior and interior elements are fully coherent. This is the case of graphical fragmented motifs (e.g. front grilles and door panel loud speakers) as well as other details (the small chrome on the rear quarter panel and on the dashboard) or lighting.”
Color and Trim
- Eco-sensitive. – “A fresh breeze for interior: “Frisson” (Shiver)”. A light grey that illuminates the interior in harmony with velvet chromes.
The exterior is sensualised with the “Ice Velvet” body paint a fresh, frosted and silky feeling.
- Extravert. The 208 re-generation is reflected in an audacious mix of colors.
Character is given through a play of contrasted, bold graphic lines on upholstery. In the idea of re-birth we have created the color Blossom Grey, a powdered, elegant body paint color.
- Refined difference. The 208 will be noticed by its extended connectivity and tactile screen, its innovative roof lighting comets as well as its new lighting signature.
“Therefore we created body paint colors that represent a more technological world, like the «Virtual Blue». We have also used materials that give a certain color vibration and decor with gradients and deep black lacquer.”
- Virtual Chic. Particular attention was paid to the seating upholstery with an alcantara-textile–leather trio.
A new stitch pattern called “double woven stitch” was created to accompany this and a Dark chrome metal tint inspired from luxury marquetry.
This inspirational universe is embodied by the sophisticated Black-Red exterior body paint color.
The Design Team
The 208 was created under the lead of Pierre Authier (208 Chief of Design). The full design team included:
- Gilles Vidal, Peugeot Design Director
- Pierre Authier, Head of 208 design
- Sylvain Henry, exterior designer
- Adam Bazydlo, interior designer
- Marie Sanou, color & trim designer
- Anna Costamagna, Interior Design Manager
- Michaël Trouvé, Exterior Design Manager
Speaking of the design team, Pierre Authier comments: “A small group since the Pre-Project Phase, very closely knit, we had the same vision of the direction we should take. That is what inspired us, gave us the strength and energy to succeed in realizing all our ideas.”
Gilles Vidal, Peugeot Design Director
Gilles Vidal is a graduate of the Art Center College of Design of Vevey in Switzerland. He joined the Group in 1996 and spent nine years working alongside Mr. Ploué to Citroën’s line-up.
Since 2009, he has been in charge of concept cars for Peugeot’s styling department. He also helped to define Peugeot’s new identity. Since early 2010, he has been appointed Peugeot Design Director.
Pierre Authier, Head of 208 design
After studying at the Art Center College of Design in Vevey in Switzerland, he joined the Peugeot Brand in 1997 as a Design Manager for the 307 and 308 in particular. He has been Chief Designer for the 208 range since 2007.
(Image Courtesy: Peugeot for Car Body Design)