Currently reading: Citroen shows off 141mpg C4 Cactus concept
French manufacturer answers economy challenge with Cactus-based Airflow concept, which features a Hybrid Air powertrain and lightweight materials

Citroën has revealed its answer to the French government’s 141mpg challenge with a new concept car based on the C4 Cactus.

The C4 Cactus Airflow 2L is capable of returning more than 141mpg, says Citroën, and weighs just 865kg – 100kg less than the standard Cactus. The car made its public debut at the Paris motor show.

Power for the concept comes from a Hybrid Air powertrain – of the same type used by the Peugeot 2008 Hybrid Air prototype which Autocar drove earlier this summer. A prototype of the technology was shown on a Citroën C3 concept car at the Geneva motor show last year.

The powertrain comprises a 3-cylinder 1.2-litre Puretech 81bhp petrol engine – already available as part of the Cactus range – plus a hydraulic pump and air storage tank mounted at the rear of the car. An epicyclic transmission is also used. 

Aside from the obvious economy advantages of using this hybrid setup, Peugeot says it has also reduced frictional losses inside the 1.2-litre Puretech engine thanks to a new internal coating and by using low-viscosity oil.

Three driving modes can be selected, with two utilising either air or petrol power exclusively, and the third using a combination of the two.

Sitting on new 19-inch low rolling resistance tyres developed by Michelin, the C4 Cactus Airflow 2L concept features lightweight materials including aluminium and steel, while carbonfibre features on the Cactus’ ‘Airbump’ panels.

Standard lighting clusters have been replaced by LED units, while a new lengthened spoiler features alongside a rear-mounted air extractor, plus force-activated shutters on the alloy wheels to reduce air flow.

In terms of performance, Citroën says the Hybrid Air-powered Cactus is close to the Puretech 110-powered model. That means a 0-62mph sprint time of around 9.5 seconds, plus a top speed of close to 120mph.

The concept answers a challenge set by the French government to put a vehicle capable of returning 141mpg into production by 2020. 

Other vehicles revealed to answer the challenge include Renault’s Eolab concept – which is claimed to be capable of returning 262mpg – and Peugeot’s 208 Hybrid Air. All three cars have been seen at this week's Paris show.

Read more Paris motor show news

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Back to top

Add a comment…
ZZR1400 18 September 2014

Fat load of use

for those of us who have three children, two dogs and tow a 26ft long twin axle caravan on our holidays around Europe! And will it fit 500kg's of logs in the boot and then transport seven children to a party or football match?
Mini2 18 September 2014

Doesn't work lowered

Here we see the Cactus as a lowered, streamlined vehicle without the contrasting colours on the AirBumps, and I don't think it works at all. They could try this with a DS3 or even a C5 and it would suit it far, far better.
lockan 18 September 2014

No mention of aero? Really!?

The car is called 'Airflow', and it's obviously had serious amounts of work put into advanced aerodynamic features and yet the article doesn't even use the words aerodynamics or drag coefficient? There are even pictures of the car in the wind tunnel and yet the main focus of the article seems to the powertrain and lightweight materials. It's about time people realised how important aerodynamics is to this kind of vehicle.