Citroën Lacoste concept visits the UK

The love child of a golf buggy and a Smart Car or a very cool concept? Read on and find out...

It may look like the offspring of a one night stand between a golf buggy and a Smart Car – or the kind of vehicle that wouldn't look out of place on Pimp My Ride – but this is in fact the Citroen Lacoste concept. Yep, Lacoste has produced a mode of transport that isn't a pair of white pumps and the result is something quite remarkable.

A fleeting glance at its futuristic design is enough to tell you this is no ordinary car. It has no doors, an inflatable roof, a retractable backseat, a retro computer game-inspired display and an electronically adjustable windscreen. This is anything but ordinary.

We spoke to the brains behind the design, Celine Venet, who told us the concept car has been designed to emphasise lifestyle and joie de vivre – which basically means passengers have no choice but to enjoy an open-air experience.

And who needs doors when you can just cut a large chunk out of the body for a step-in entrance that wouldn't lookout of place on a milk cart? With no back doors, Citroen tells us it's just as easy to hop into the back with "passengers simply jumping on the rear bench". Probably best to keep your Gran upfront, then.

The initial inspiration behind its design stems from a shoe – so a car that's easy to get in and out of – and as you can see it clearly hasn't been based on a pair of toe-pinching real leather loafers. The floating headrests are a nice touch.

Celine also told us that the Citroën Lacoste is a car for those who aren't afraid of venturing out into the elements. The lack of a roof is testament to that. Instead, a structural backbone spans the top of the car creating a t-bar effect. If it does start chucking it down, this vehicular sandal can sprout uppers in the form of a bright yellow auto-inflatable hood to shield you from the worst of the weather.

If the inside happens to get a little soaked, the interior surfaces are designed to repel water, while a couple of drainage points save the car from a sodden ending. You and your passengers, however, will not be so lucky.

More exciting to gadget geeks like us is the Citroën Lacoste's electronic dashboard. The pixelated LED display is a subtle salute to retro 8-bit arcade games. But don't be fooled by its simple guise. The dashboard conceals clever electronics underneath with oversized icons representing display speed, directional cues and your petrol tank status.

And no, that's not a burglar's mask in the bottom left-hand corner of the pic – it's the brake and accelerator pedals.

Not only does it have a spectacular dashboard, an iPod/iPhone dock is a nice touch keeping very much in line with the Lacoste's suave, yet playful nature.

Futuristic indicator controls… natch.

The Citroën Lacoste's golf ball-style alloy wheels are a salute to Lacoste fashion and the sports it's associated with. Similarly, the fabrics found on the seats are similar to those found in Lacoste's tennis gear. The zips are the same found in Lacoste clothing, while the lime green embellishments have been chucked in to conjure up images of tennis balls.

Engine-wise, you're looking at a 3-cylinder petrol engine, which is powerful enough to keep it chugging along and would also be kind to your pockets.

We can see the Lacoste drawing a crowd at the beach – but don't expect to find one in your local Citroën dealership any time soon.

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