The exterior design features a distinctive treatment with tight surfaces and sharp lines giving form to a sculptural, elegant body which eveolves the language introduced with the SR-1 and HX-1 concept cars.
The most striking features is the unique mix of materials, with the bold yet sophisticated contrast between the polished copper metal panels and the matte black carbon fiber surfaces, which gives the Onyx a unique graphic identity.
The copper parts do not have additional surface protection, so they are intended to “age” and change their appearance with time similarly to architectural elements.
The interior is minimalist and further develops the exploration of alternative materials: all the soft surfaces – including the four seats – are made of felt, made from boiled wool, with interwoven fibers. It is completely recyclable and has good thermal insulation and dehumidifying properties.
The hard surfaces of the dashboard, door panels and center tunnels are made with the so-called ‘Newspaper Wood’, a material produced from used newspapers, assembled and compressed to create the illusion of wood veins through the print type.
Taking inspiration from the world of racing, the Onyx is equipped with a mid-mounted V8 engine coupled with a kinetic energy recovery system.
Like for the SR-1 Concept, which was presented along with the B1K Concept Bike, the Onyx Concept has been unveiled together with two companion products: the Onyx Concept Bike and the Onyx Concept Scooter.
Below we report the full design story form the official press release.
“Onyx has supercar performance, with extremely aerodynamic lines. It has a unique sculpted shape, styled with innovative materials and an innovative architecture.” explains Gilles Vidal, Peugeot Style Director.
Polished like a mirror, the metal remains unprotected to the elements. It will evolve in appearance over time, through a natural patina effect. Other body panels are formed in carbon, and painted matt black.
Shaped to be efficiently aerodynamic, the front ‘face’ links the vertical grill and the full LED headlights, to produce a streamlined surface.
The airflow is then separated; part penetrates into the heart of the car, flowing within the body, for supplying air to the engine. The other part of the airstream spreads across the car sides and over its ‘double-bubble’ roof into the air intakes.
They meet as far as possible from the body to reduce interference. With a Cd of 0.30, the aerodynamic footprint of Onyx is inversely proportional to its visual impact.
Linking experience with the future, Onyx incorporates the present by honoring the iconic RCZ with a subtle characteristic ‘double-bubble’ roofline and aluminum roof arches.
Fully transparent, revealing the strong carbon structure and the interior, the windows and the roof are made of PMMA (PolyMethyl MethAcrylate), enclosing the cocoon that provides maximum occupant protection.
Sandeep Bhambra, Exterior Designer of Onyx, explains: “Onyx has a svelte silhouette with a sculpted form that goes from smooth, sensual to sharp and technologic. From the very first sketches, I wanted to create a showcase of technological excellence and craftsmanship using high performance aerodynamic cues, ‘black diamond glass house’ and body panels hand-shaped in copper.”
The frame of the car is an innovative piece of design. Made of Monolithic carbon, this central structure consists of only 12 parts. It integrates the front with the rear, increasing torsional stiffness and the mass of the structure is optimized, weighing in at only 100kg.
Bolted to the carbon shell, the V8 hybrid HDi FAP 3.7-liter engine, and the suspension were also developed with the expertise of Peugeot Sport that has been acquired and validated on circuits around the world.
Cooled by twin NACA ducts on the roof, the V8 transmits its 600bhp to the rear wheels via a 6-speed sequential gearbox. This power is delivered in a vehicle of ideal proportions: 4.65m long, 2.20m wide, 1.13m high, weighing just 1,100kg.
Intelligent, HYbrid4 technology recovers the kinetic energy normally lost during braking. Stored in lithium-ion batteries, this energy is then automatically returned when accelerating, boosting the power with an extra 80bhp.
The management of this function is evident to the driver, supplementing the driving enjoyment. Drawing on the experience of a competitive environment, the engine has been tuned specially for the challenges of road application.
With a power-to-weight ratio of less than 2kg per brake horsepower, Onyx achieves very high performance without affecting the purity and elegance of its style. To do so, Onyx has a flat carbon underside, which creates a powerful ground effect.
Thus, the aerodynamic elements are kept at a minimum, by extensions of the carbon structure and the movable rear wing that loads the rear axle during braking, which is provided by four carbon discs; with a diameter of 380mm front and 355mm at the rear.
For the driver to gain access into the interior, the doors provide easy access through a sophisticated Pantographic mechanism design with two movements.
On opening, the copper outer skin separates from the door frame, hinged on the door’s outer edge, to ensure the body style aspect is maintained.
The interior is bright and natural, from the floor to the roof. The intuitive design and the materials used to construct its structure characteristics are all on view.
As with the bodywork, the interior is frugal in its use of materials, resulting in a minimalist interior, in close proximity to the occupants.
For the materials chosen and how they should be used and implemented, Onyx explores their life cycles. Onyx demonstrates it is possible to reconcile customer demands, with high performance and preservation of natural resources.
Sophie Gazeau, Colour & Materials Designer, comments: “We sought to use the materials fit for a modern supercar, to ensure the components specified fully justified inclusion. Carbon for its strength and lightweight performance, copper and PMMA for their virtues, felt and paper for their natural elements – all used efficiently.”
Made of felt, compressed and stretched, the cockpit is modeled in a one piece cockpit ‘tub’, with no seams or joins.
The carbon structure combined with the felt surface creates a protective cocoon around its occupants, allowing it to function ergonomically while incorporating all the features previously performed by individual components: soundproofing, floor, high console, roof and bucket seats.
The occupants are integral within one homogeneous piece that also reduces weight. Sports comfort has been integrated with the insertion of foam under the felt, in the areas of contact with the body.
Warm and soft, the felt is derived from traditional production techniques.
Obtained from boiled wool, with interwoven fibers, this material is completely recyclable and is an excellent thermal insulator. In addition, it improves the quality of the surrounding air by dehumidifying.
Interior Designer Julien Cueff explains: “For the interior, it was inspired by an object of everyday life – ‘the egg box’. With a remarkable economy of material, it is perfectly designed through ergonomics and structure to protect its fragile contents. We adapted the concept into an intuitive space with minimum componentry, but where every function fit perfectly to the hand.”
On board, the driver has all the controls in full view, without having to take his eyes off the road ahead. The felt trimmed steering wheel falls naturally to the hands to provide an immediate feeling of agility. Within the carbon ‘tub’, aluminum controls drive the functions of the Peugeot Onyx, while the paddles control gear selection.
The dashboard is constructed with of a new type of ‘timber’ – ‘Newspaper Wood’. Produced from used newspapers, assembled and compressed to create a new material from which the parts are made.
The illusion is beautiful with veins of color evident on the surface. On closer inspection the secret is revealed with the appearance of the print type.
The dashboard houses the heads-up display cluster which shows the engine activity and the vehicle’s speed on metal components, appearing and disappearing, like the keys of a piano. The operation of the hybrid activation is indicated by digital displays. Installed in the roof is a selection of aluminum toggle switches that include the start switch for the engine.
Just behind it, a reflective blade displays rear view camera images: two located in the mirrors, the third, which provides a panoramic view, positioned on the rear panel.
Also covered in felt, the central console celebrates the expertise of the craft of the master glass blower with a masterpiece in glass crystal. This fuel gauge ‘reservoir’ visually indicates the level of fuel in the tank using etched indicator markings for capacity. It also contains in an inner shell, the smell of this supercar.
Released into the cabin by aerators, the fragrance captures the essence of the materials used. Finally, the console features dual-zone air conditioning controls made from milled solid aluminum, where the milling paths in the material are used as grips for the hand.
The beauty of this interior and dynamic experience is captured internally by a camera installed between the headrests. The film is then available to be replayed on a tablet device, inserted into the dashboard facing the passenger and providing an interface for the car infotainment, capturing the experience for posterity.