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Peugeot’s Fractal concept uses 3D-printed damping chambers to trap sound

Few vehicles combine the interests of audiophiles, gearheads, and design lovers alike, but Peugeot’s Fractal concept isn’t your typical car.

Unveiled ahead of its public debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, Peugeot’s stunning concept is inspired by sound itself. The exterior design, powertrain, and interior layout — right down to the materials used — were all carefully chosen for their sonic resonance and contribution to a distinct aural atmosphere.

The outside, for instance, has been augmented with anechoic chambers to reduce echo and provide optimum sound comfort. The “urban electric coupe” has been fitted with tall, skinny tires as well, reducing road noise, and the powertrain is quiet and unobtrusive.

Inside Peugeot’s gorgeous i-Cabin, 3D-printed panels present a never-ending feedback loop of geometric shapes, which are both visually stimulating and acoustically functional. What you’re left with is a near blank slate, a palette of silence on which you add music, conversation, or unique ambient noise.

Considering this is a sound-inspired car, the stereo system must be top notch, and it most certainly is. High-end speakers from Focal feature domes made from beryllium — which is seven times more rigid than titanium — and hollow membranes carved from flax. The result is higher internal damping, a broader octave response, and more natural sound than conventional units … but that’s only the start.

The one-off concept utilizes something called a Subpac, a tactile sound system mounted directly into each seat. The sleek contraption transmits bass directly into the occupant’s body, adding a new sensory adventure to the listening process. According to Peugeot, it “gives the seat occupant a more intense and exclusive bass experience.”

The acoustic qualities of this car alone are probably worth your interest, but the concept also happens to be drop dead gorgeous as well as mechanically interesting. The exterior features a mixture of gloss white and matte black finishes, accented by pulsing red running lights that emulate a musical equalizer. Its electric motors are powered by a 30kWh battery pack that’s charged via induction plate, and there are two of them, meaning the Fractal is all-wheel drive. It even features reverse hinged doors that can be opened remotely via smartwatch.

Despite its ultra-modern accessories, the concept weighs only 2,200 pounds, produces 204 horsepower, and zips to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, backed by a variable engine noise ranging from podracer to something of your choosing. Perhaps the coolest thing about this car, though, is that you can experience almost all of its magic sitting completely still. Check out the video below for more.


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