Citroën Cactus Concept debuts Hybrid Air tech at IAA

Citroën makes interesting cars. This is not a criticism. When cars are increasingly alike, Citroën is often the breath of fresh air in the room, in this case the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA). Citroën's latest, the Cactus Concept, does two things for the French automaker. Firstly, it showcases the company's Hybrid Air tech and it also provides a glimpse of future Citroën styling. Two good things I'd say. The Cactus is a clean design with the side "Airbumps" providing a nod to the drivetrain tech and a way to break up a flat side profile. The Airbumps match the front and rear accents in color to unite the design. It is clean and interesting. The floating roof is especially nice (see pic after the jump). One interesting "new" feature is the sofa-like front seat that we used to call a bench seat before buckets became de rigueur. Other features that are showing up on more production vehicles include the the LED lighting and the interior touchscreen interfaces. The Hybrid Air technology uses compressed air in lieu of batteries that results in a claimed 45% improvement in fuel efficiency. The Cactus Concept is one of those hard-to-define cars. Is it a crossover? Is it a compact hot hatch? Is it both? What ever it is, it's too bad we won't see it here in the US. For lots more info and pics, check out the press release after the jump.

Source: Press release and Pics (7) after the "read more" jump.

Press Release:

Cactus is more than a concept car; it is a manifest of the future models in the C line. CITROËN is shifting the paradigm with the new concept car, shedding the superfluous and bringing well-being firmly into the limelight. CITROËN Cactus is a desirable, user-friendly car that forges an unprecedented harmony between distinctive yet pragmatic design, comfort for all occupants, and easy-to-use technology.


Pure and functional styling:
  • Strong styling choices focused on efficiency (light weight, aerodynamic)
  • High-tech gaze and flowing surfaces free of any form of aggressiveness
  •  “Airbumps”, customisable design components covered with a soft skin featuring air capsules that protect the body
Ingenious design:
  • An airy driver’s station housing all the controls in a 100% digital interface
  • Sofa-style front seats for more human warmth and comfort
  • Authentic, natural materials laid out in a stylish, relaxed atmosphere
User-friendly technology:
  • A Hybrid Air drivetrain for attractive running costs and reduced environmental footprint
  • Immediate and intuitive connectivity, including access to the CITROËN Multicity Connect portal
The origins of CITROËN Cactus date back to the reveal of the C-Cactus concept car at the 2007 Frankfurt show. C-Cactus was a radical automotive approach that posed a number of key questions: What do motorists expect from cars in today’s world? And which equipment and features really count? The fascinating exercise pushed engineers and designers to make sweeping changes and set problems differently in order to explore new solutions. The pragmatic approach eschewed the superfluous to concentrate on what makes motorists feel good. The end result, CITROËN Cactus, is a manifest that previews forthcoming models in the C line. More will be revealed in 2014…

Pure and functional styling
The styling of CITROËN Cactus marries the aesthetic to the practical, with designers having sought to find the right volumes and extend efficiency to the smallest details. The idea was to keep only the essential, and optimise that essence to obtain a form of natural perfection. The approach allowed the designers to break free from classic automotive cues and explore ingenious solutions to bring customers real equipment and features.

The body styling of CITROËN Cactus seems original and obvious, both at the same time, lingering easily in the memory like that of all great cars that have marked their time. The styling is easy to identify, with: Pure and smooth surfaces in pearlescent white
  • Flowing, aggression-free shapes
  • Floating quarterlight and roof
  • Contrasting design components, each one with a function (protection with Lama grey Airbumps and textured black wheel arches; transport with lacquered black roof arches; cabin light with the large panoramic roof).
    One component stands out immediately through its originality: the Airbump.
    Located on the sides and the bumpers of the car, the design component expresses a new approach that
    gives style a function. The Airbump strengthens the styling of CITROËN Cactus, heightening its personality with its originality and personalisation possibilities. The supple skin of the Airbump features a soft treatment that resists scratches and includes air capsules that dampen impact. CITROËN Cactus has optimal proportions for extra efficiency and driving comfort

    CITROËN Cactus has optimal proportions for extra efficiency and driving comfort:
    • The dimensions of a compact hatchback (4.21 m long and 1.75 m wide)
    • An ideal balance between one-third glazed area and two-thirds wing surface
    • High ground clearance (21 cm) but with an optimised height of just 1.53 m
    • Reduced overhang, with the wheels set firmly in the corners

    The styling of CITROËN Cactus evokes technology and perceived quality and is entirely free of aggression.
    The front end, previewing the visual identity of future models in the C line, is characterised by:
    • Smooth surfaces showcasing the chevrons
    • Flowing forms with a seamless progression from bonnet to wing
    • A high-tech light signature with LED daytime running lights and lamps built in to the Airbumps
    The styling at the back respects the same principle with 3D-effect LED lights built in to the wide  Airbumpprotecting the boot.

    The singular and radical design of CITROËN Cactus also promises a warm, ergonomic and comfortable interior. The absence of side windows, rear window and B pillars beckons onlookers to discover the cabin inside, which has been entirely reworked in terms of architecture as well as in the design of colours and materials.

    Ingenious design
    The first objective with CITROËN Cactus was to free up space inside for the driver and passengers, bringing them more ease and user-friendliness and, hence, more comfort.

    The slender, floating dashboard fully frees up the floor below and on its upper part offers the front passenger a capacious and easy-access storage space. The dashboard design was made possible by using a 100% digital interface and by optimising the organisation of the driver’s station, in particular by:
    • Replacing the instrument cluster with a 7-inch screen
    • Switching control buttons for an 8-inch touchscreen connected to all vehicle functions (air
      conditioning, audio, satnav, connected services and driver aids)
    • Installing the passenger airbag on the ceilin
    •  Replacing the traditional gearstick with push-button controls on the lower part of the dashboard and
    • steering-wheel paddles
    The new architectural approach also informs the front seats, which were designed sofa-style for extra comfort and human warmth.

    Extra comfort is also delivered by the panoramic roof, thermally treated to let in the light but not the heat. It  protects passengers from UVs with technology similar to that used for category-4 sunglasses.

    The second goal with CITROËN Cactus interior was to provide a stylish and relaxed atmosphere. The interior layout frees up plenty of space and focuses on authentic and natural materials. The seats and doors are upholstered in a combination of two materials evoking contemporary furniture: a blue heathered cotton fabric and natural “camel” leather (vegetable tanned) also used on the dashboard and steering wheel.

    In a nod to the luggage sector, the design of the door handles and the storage space on the upper part of the dashboard was informed by decorative travel-trunk components.

    The design choices for CITROËN Cactus were guided not just by interior architecture intelligence but by a whole new approach to the automobile. CITROËN Cactus brings drivers a new motoring experience and total peace of mind, reuniting them with the pleasure and freedom inherent in car travel – a simple, communal, day-to-day pleasure.

    User-friendly technology
    CITROËN Cactus technologies are easy to use, economical and environmental in use, accessible to all and connected, and resolutely focused on the new needs of motorists.

    The new Hybrid Air drivetrain is a case in point. The full-hybrid technology combines compressed air and the hydraulics of a PureTech petrol engine. This powertrain excellence is written into the Brand’s DNA and has led to breakthrough performance, with fuel consumption of under 3 l/100 km.

    Hybrid Air technology has a reduced environmental footprint (no additional battery) and is broadly affordable thanks to:
    • Attractive cost in use (45% reduction in fuel consumption in urban driving)
    • Easy maintenance and servicing through the combination of proven technologies
    • No compromises on interior space
    Digital, tactile and connected! All the controls are grouped on the 8-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard, ergonomic, easy to use and offering access to CITROËN Multicity Connect. The driver and passengers benefit from a portal of web-connected applications that takes vehicle data – including mileage, speed, range and GPS position – into account to generate information adapted to motorists’ needs, warning them of risk areas, locating service stations and identifying tourist destinations, among other advantages.

    Asking questions differently to find new answers
    By proposing a fresh new take on design, architecture and technology, CITROËN Cactus stands as a new automotive synthesis. The car’s optimistic approach finally addresses the expectations of people looking to combine practicality with pleasure.

    CITROËN Cactus is a desirable, user-friendly car, one that is a pleasure to share day by day:
    • “Simple to live”. An ingenious design and intuitive technologies
    • “Simple to love”. A functional design free of all aggression
    • “Simple to share”. A user-friendly cabin and a connected driving interface

    The CITROËN brand
    CITROËN was born 90 years ago at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. A dynamic and creative brand, in 2010 it launched the DS line, a new line of distinctive products that today features the DS3, DS4 and DS5. Building on its “Créative Technologie” positioning, CITROËN markets a range including a full-electric car as well as vehicles equipped with e- HDi micro-hybrid and Hybrid4 full hybrid technology. The brand’s technological advance is also on show in the World Rally Championship, where it has amassed eight Constructors’ titles. In addition, the Marque is innovating in services with the CITROËN MULTICITY mobility offering. CITROËN has 10,000 customer contact points, presence in 90 countries and sold 1,265,000 vehicles in 2012.