The heritage brand debuts a futuristic sedan with the stance of a sports car

Chrysler has introduced a futuristic sedan that predicts the heritage brand’s design and technology intentions for the late 2020s and beyond.

First previewed in a private, press-only event in January, Chrysler has now introduced the concept to a general audience along with videos and a large cache of images taken in dramatic locations, including one of the great villain’s lairs of the modern world, the Kellogg Doolittle house in Joshua Tree, California. 

Chrysler Halycon villains lair doors

Door mechanism leaves sculptural cut-outs in the roof 

This new concept is named Halcyon, which connotes a time when all was peaceful and prosperous. In this instance, ‘Halcyon’ evokes the glory days of Chrysler, looking to a renaissance of that time and spirit, if not the actual styling and engineering of the past.

Sedan or sports car?

A cursory look at the car reveals a dramatic one-bow shape and sports car stance with a large glasshouse that seems from certain angles like a bubble-top. It is only upon closer inspection that its sedan format is revealed. Both front and rear masks terminate in broad blade-like structures. The glasshouse extends down into what is traditionally the hood area, with the wheel arches protruding above, sheltering 22-inch wheels (!) which reinforce its sports car stance.

Chrysler Halycon profile sketch

Early sketch shows the sports coupé-like profile

Placed on the Stellantis BEV-native large STLA platform, the dramatic vault of the profile is accentuated by the diagonal character line and dramatic angular scallop that travels along its flanks and unites the light blades at front and rear.

Prominent in between are, again, the wheel arches which project well beyond the passenger compartment, again presenting a sports car aspect from a number of different angles. The Halcyon has a strong muscular stance, one largely absent from today’s sedans, and perhaps a preview of a better future for the format.

The Show Starts at the Sidewalk

“The show starts at the sidewalk”, as they say in the theater world, but the automotive world too often misses the importance of the entry sequence. The Halcyon gets it.

Chrsyler Halcyon villain's lair exterior024_016CH

A three-way opening is on each side 

The vehicle’s hands-free entry mode uses biometric information to greet the driver with LED exterior animation, a personalised sound greeting, and interior greetings at the IP. Dramatic carriage or “Red Carpet” doors then open and a “butterfly” glass roof canopy rises to allow for easy ingress.

Air suspension raises the car to allow the driver to easily be seated into the interior. If the driver is carrying a package, the Stow-and-Go seats (see below) will automatically retract to provide storage area.

Chrysler Halycon scanner

Would it be a modern concept without future-looking tech? 

Once welcomed into the interior, one settles into lightweight “keystone”-shaped seats that echo the minimalist design of the exterior while providing luxurious comfort.

The driver faces a retractable yoke-like steering wheel and an equally retractable, transparent, pillar-to-pillar IP, which can transform the cockpit into a relaxing lounge. An equally large augmented-reality HUD stretches across the windscreen. Sensing the occupants, an Intelligent Cabin Comfort feature, powered by AI, tunes the HVAC to personal comfort levels. 

Once in motion, the Halcyon employs a suite of Stellantis smart features to inform the driver of the day’s calendar, predicts and plots a course to the destination, and adjusts the interior environment, based occupancy and weather.

The Halcyon is equipped with Level 4 autonomy, which will allow it to travel without being “driven”, or the driver can opt to take the wheel. If they opt for driving mode, they can choose the level of active safety they wish.

Chrysler Halycon passengers

Stargazing mode – a benefit enabled by autonomous driving 

Assuming the occupants allow the car to drive itself, a number of “modes” are available to enhance the traveling experience, which include the ’stargazing mode’ which allows the car to be transformed into a personal planetarium, with augmented reality maps of the stars and constellations to be projected over the glass canopy, while the seats recline to allow skyward viewing.

The rear seats can fold and retract into the trunk area, and preview a future for Chrysler’s trademark “Stow-and-Go” seats (shown earlier in the article) that were first developed for the brand’s MPVs and have become one of the most popular features in that class of vehicle. With the rear seats stowed, the front seats can slide back to the rear passenger are and recline for a truly relaxing experience.

Eco-materials are prominent throughout the interior with paint minimised and recycled fibres and natural materials emphasised.

Future tech directions

The Halcyon features a host of futuristic technologies, some that are with us, some that are in development and some that are an optimistic extension of current tech trends. 

The Halcyon press release mentions a number of Stellantis technology suites that are currently in development including STLA Brain, STLA Smart Cockpit, and STLA AutoDrive. The Halcyon concept envisions these technologies integrated into one suite of advanced technologies to assist in a coordinated experience that Chrysler calls “Harmony in Motion”, a greatly enhanced mobility experience beyond our current understanding of driving or riding.

Coupled with the aforementioned technology suites, the Halcyon envisions being powered by Lyten 800V Lithium-Sulfur EV batteries that do not use nickel, cobalt, or manganese, which, in theory, will result in an estimated 60 percent smaller carbon footprint than the best of today’s batteries.

Complementing these innovative batteries will be the inclusion of an inductive charging system called Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer (DWPT) which would be embedded in roadways that could allow long distance travel with continuous charging (although it should be noted that trials of wireless dynamic charging have never really progressed too far.)

Summing up the Halcyon’s design and engineering, Chrysler Brand CEO, Chris Fuell, says the concept ”creates a level of serenity […] and showcases innovative and sustainable mobility solutions that embrace technology, offering value to customers while delivering ‘Harmony in Motion.’ It brings to life a fully electric tomorrow through new technology suites from Stellantis that integrate with simple and pure aerodynamic design and a seamless, connected and immersive cockpit experience.” 

Beyond the corporate verbiage, Chrysler deserves a huge commendation for projecting the future in a sedan format rather than a crossover or supercar. Back in the glory days of Detroit, Chrysler sedans would compete with Cadillac and Lincoln at the pinnacle of American luxury (think of the Imperial, New Yorker and Newport models), but also in the mid-premium market, the 300 series, widely known as an engineer’s car: premium, with excellent engine and transmission quality, power and luxury.

Chrsyler Halcyon villain's lair exterior024_018CH

Quite the party trick 

The Halcyon projects a future for that same spirit with superior design, advanced engineering, and a future-facing driving/riding experience. But can Chrysler deliver?

Execution is key in the automotive business and there have been plenty of stumbles and outright retreats amoung Detroit’s Big Three. The Halcyon may yet represent a return to the Glory (Halcyon!) days. But it will be a massive undertaking by Stellantis. Time will tell if the brand is up to it.