Citroen joins the French economy revolution

THIS has to be the funkiest of the three ‘ultralow fuel economy’ French cars revealed this week ahead of the Paris motor show: the Citroen C4 Cactus Airflow 2L.

If you’ve been keeping up with the flow of miserly motors coming out of French car makers this week, you’ll know that the ‘2L’ refers the government’s ‘New Industrial Plan’, which aims to revive local manufacturing by producing viable vehicles achieving 2.0L/100km by 2020.

Earlier this week, we’ve seen the Renault EOLAB and the Peugeot 208 Hybrid Air 2L hatchbacks. Now, the Cactus name seems entirely appropriate for a crossover that thrives on very little.

The C4 Cactus is already one of the coolest and most liveable cars on the planet, with slim LED headlamps, blacked-out A-pillars, ‘Airbumps’ along its doors, and that contrasting polyurethane stretched over the front and rear ends.

But this latest version will beat even the most miserly of the current C4 crop (the 1.6-litre four-pot diesel and its impressive 3.4L/100km claim), with Citroen claiming a guarded ‘2.0L/100km’ for the eco-Cactus.

Citroen uses the same drivetrain as fellow PSA brand Peugeot installed in the 208 Hybrid Air 2L, which uses the PureTech 82 three-cylinder engine and PSA’s compressed-air technology. It’s a sure fit as it’s already been shown in the C3, with which the Cactus shares its platform.

Use of more carbon-fibre, aluminium and composite materials lops a further 100kg off the Cactus – which is already 200kg lighter than the regular C4 hatch – giving it a mass of 865kg.

Those Airbumps are now made of carbon-fibre, while also in the eco-kit is a new front bumper design with a triplet of air intakes, including a BMW-style ‘Air Curtain’ that directs air from the new nose to the wheels.

The wheels themselves include mobile shutters, and are narrower (155s) but taller at a massive 19 inches, while the side mirrors are smaller.

There’s new rear spoiler, while the underside of the Cactus has been streamlined to help achieve the magical 2.0L/100km figure.

Citroen says its tech is entirely production viable and that “it could therefore be possible, in the medium term, for a production vehicle such as C4 Cactus to reach this target [of 2.0L/100km]”. 

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