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.

Product Review

Dolby makes the most comfortable headphones ever, and that's only the start

Dolby has taken its first step into product design with the new Dolby Dimension wireless headphones. Offering tons of features, supreme comfort, and a shocking price tag, the Dimension are a unique new take on audio in the home, and out.

These are the best Xbox One games available right now

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.

Land Rover shows its artsy side by previewing the 2020 Range Rover Evoque

Land Rover made life-sized wire sculptures to preview the 2020 Range Rover Evoque. The all-new SUV will make its debut during a private event held in London on November 22, and deliveries will begin in 2019.

Lime’s first carsharing service motors into Seattle this week

Lime may be better known for its app-based bike and scooter rental services, but in Seattle, Washington this week it's launching its very first carsharing service, similar to Car2go and Zipcar.

Out of juice? Learn how to jump-start a car with this quick guide

Jumping a car is a simple procedure, but not everyone knows how to properly do so. To make things easier, we've put together a quick-hit guide on how to fire up your vehicle using jumper cables and a second power source.

Born to run (forever): The most reliable cars you can buy right now

We all dread the thought of our car turning into a money pit, but choosing a dependable vehicle from the start can help us rack up countless care-free miles. Here, we've rounded up some of the most reliable cars available.

Many adults believe fully self-driving cars are already traversing U.S. highways

The American Automobile Association tested cars with features such as lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control and found them lacking in real-world conditions. Forty percent of surveyed U.S. adults think self-driving cars exist now.

Prep your car for the coming snow and sleet with these cold weather tips

Driving in the winter, whether downtown or across the country, is rarely easy. Luckily, we've put together a quick rundown of a few things you should do to winterize your car before the snow officially hits.
Digital Trends Live

DT Daily: Waymo’s driverless cars, ‘Fallout 76’ tips, and Racella

In today's episode of DT Daily, we discuss Waymo's foray into the ridesharing sector, along with various tips for making the most of the recently launched Fallout 76. We also sit down with singer Racella to chat about her new EP, Waves.

Want to keep connected on the road? Here are 5 ways to add Bluetooth to your car

The best way to make an old ride feel young again is to bring it up speed with the 21st century. Here's how to properly add Bluetooth to your vehicle, via independent kits, vehicle adapters, or aftermarket head units.

Jeep’s outdoorsy Gladiator pickup truck bares it all ahead of schedule

Jeep will introduce the long-promised Wrangler-based pickup truck at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Named Gladiator, the model was designed to conquer the great outdoors, not for the construction site.

The hamster-friendly 2020 Kia Soul will rock out at the Los Angeles Auto Show

Kia has released a teaser image to preview the next Soul. Scheduled to make its debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2020 Soul will keep the outgoing model's boxy proportions but it will wear a sharper design.

2020 Toyota Corolla sedan aims to offer sharper handling, better tech

The 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan gets the same upgrades as the recently-introduced Corolla hatchback, including a firmer foundation, new engine, and more tech features. Will that be enough to keep the long-lived Corolla nameplate relevant?

Startup Rivian exits stealth mode with a bold promise to electrify off-roaders

Electric car startup Rivian has finally turned off stealth mode and provided details about what it's been working on since 2009. It will build battery-powered off-roaders instead of taking on Tesla and others in the luxury EV segment.