French makes, and Citroen in particular, have a strange and unjustified fascination with surf cars. Think of these as part Fiat Jolli with its wicker seats, and part Jeep Wrangler.
But with Euro6 emissions and zero practicality. We saw this in the Pluriel and numerous Cacti concepts over the years.
The new Cactus M is a far more practical fantasy, if that is possible. Real doors and even a roof!
The convertible crossover has fixed A and D-pillars in a sexy woodgrain wrap. The contrast between these organic pillars and the bright Hawaiian blue of the body is certainly eye-catching. While quite swish in their shapes, the windshield outlines in wood with clasp/snaps are actually metal under the woodgrain.
The front-drive four-seater’s roof is also very unique. And that is definitely a code-word for never-gonna-happen in production.
A softtop is manually installed in its limp state. Then a built-in compressor fills three air tubes to create a rigid cloth roof. A problem we can anticipate? Anyone on a Paris street with a pin in their lapel could pop the roof in one jab.
One fundamental issue with the Cactus — and all Citroen crossovers — is the lack of any AWD. Just Grip Control programming for the traction and ESP to help you get unstuck from any stick lifestyle mud.
Would we drive the Cactus M on a sandy beach? Absolutely not! While tall and narrow tires are touted by Citroen as off-road benefits, they would sink faster than a lead zeppelin into any soft surface. No TCS can un-bury a front-drive car.
But as a sporty fantasy promoting the new Cactus compact crossover, the M is an effective showpiece.
We really hope there are no production plans for such a silly machine. But the finished qualities of the new fenders does hint toward production intent. Look for any production variant to be a more practical targa variant of the four-door Cactus on sale now — or a possible soft-top in two-door form if Citroen is really delusional about its market prospects.
2015 Citroen Cactus M Concept
NEW CITROËN CACTUS M CONCEPT CAR: FREE YOUR MIND
A new Citroën concept car, inspired by the Méhari,will premiere at this year’s Frankfurt International Motor Show. The concept is called Citroën Cactus M and boasts a bright, upbeat personality.
The Citroën Cactus M places leisure at the heart of the automotive experience. At ease on all types of terrain and in all situations, the Cactus M concept inspires a sense of well-being, freedom and escape.
- An open-air crossover: The Cactus M has ‘go-anywhere’ looks, builds on the approach suggested by the Citroën C4 Cactus and clearly expresses its family ties with the Citroën Aircross concept that was presented at the Shanghai Motor Show in April. The wings are sculpted around the wheel arches for a more compact, muscular look. The upright windscreen, raised body and large wheels underline its personality as a leisure vehicle. Along the sides, the large plastic doors add a lightweight, protective touch, giving the vehicle its signature look. This design brings to mind the renowned Méhari, a vehicle created with the same ‘go-anywhere’ philosophy in mind. The cabin is completely open, connecting the occupants to their surrounding environment. Passengers access the seats in row two by climbing over the sides of the car, using the built in steps on either side at the rear.
- Ingenious, with a strong focus on leisure: Through its design, the Citroën Cactus M turns leisure into a lifestyle, and places fun at the heart of the automotive experience. The interior illustrates this approach, using materials inspired by open-air activities. Ready for all sorts of adventures, the cabin can even be hosed down thanks to the drainage outlets integrated in the foot wells. Inspired by the world of surfing, the seats are designed to resemble wetsuits and are upholstered in a brightly coloured neoprene waterproof fabric. The Citroën Cactus M is a modular vehicle, with a rear arch that enables passengers to carry all their equipment, such as wakeboards or surfboards. Everything is designed for comfort, ease of use and peace of mind.
- At ease on all types of terrain: The Citroën Cactus M concept has also been designed to head off the beaten track, to explore and open up new horizons. Whatever the activity, weather or road conditions, everything is designed to ensure a relaxing ride for the occupants. On all types of terrain, the Grip Control function optimises traction for a assured ride anywhere. The Cactus M also inspires a sense of extreme freedom with a modular cabin that turns into a ‘couchette’ and a roof that can be made into a tent. The inflatable roof features an innovative operating mechanism and provides welcome protection in the event of rain. The Citroën Cactus M concept also features on-board technologies for everyday use with all the helpful equipment found on the C4 Cactus. This includes the central Touch Drive interface and the Easy Push gearbox system.
The Cactus M concept is a modern take on the values that led to the development of the Méhari. These values relate to comfort, well-being and leisure, which have always been part of Citroën’s expertise. When viewed alongside the C4 Cactus and the Aircross concept, the Citroën Cactus M concept clearly illustrates the vitality of the brand and the coherence of its approach.
NEW CITROËN CACTUS M CONCEPT IN DETAIL
AN OPEN-AIR CROSSOVER
One year on from the launch of the C4 Cactus, Citroën will display a new take on the model at the 2015 Frankfurt International Motor Show.
The SUV looks of the Cactus M, previously suggested by the C4 Cactus, are underlined by its specific styling and features. The strong sculpted lines, at the front and rear, convey a sense of power. The use of tall and narrow tyres made it possible to increase wheel diameter, resulting in an increased body height. This impression is reinforced by the sculpted wheel arches. The robust and compact look of the Cactus M is underlined by the 60° rake of the windscreen and the thickness of the pillars, conveying a sense of strength.
The design of the bumpers and the door mirrors was inspired by the Citroën Aircross concept. The solid metal tow hooks and door mirrors suggest protection and quality. These styling attributes position the Citroën Cactus M concept in the world of SUVs and reflect the ties between the two concepts.
Like the Méhari in its time, the Cactus M concept was designed as an open-air vehicle. It seeks to bring passengers closer to their surroundings and to make life easier.
The Citroën Cactus M has two long doors, further underlining the impression of compact overall dimensions. The design of these moulded plastic one-piece doors makes them particularly easy to open and close , while also reducing overall vehicle weight. The doors use the same Airbump® concept as on C4 Cactus with their thermoformed TPU coating. This ‘second skin’, which is also used on the bumpers, resists knocks and scratches as well as salt water and sand. The concept has been designed with visible hinges, just like the renowned Méhari, which also had ABS plastic bodywork.
Inspired by the surfing spirit, the Citroën Cactus M concept is completely open to the outside world. The wood effect on the rear arch and the windscreen pillars brings to mind the way surfboard manufacturers customise their boards. The cheerful design of the wheels resembles a floral wetsuit design.
INGENIOUS, WITH A STRONG FOCUS ON LEISURE
The beach, sand, salt and water are all considered incompatible with cars. However, the Cactus M was designed for this environment, allowing users to enjoy an intense, uncompromising leisure experience. The choice of shapes, materials, technologies and colours was guided by a desire to enable users to pursue their chosen leisure experience, while freeing them from all practical concerns.
The overall design of the cabin resembles the hull of a boat. The flowing lines are a continuation of the exterior design and the impression of the car being a singular moulded object is emphasised by the use of the same colour – Hawaii Blue – both inside and out. This bright, optimistic colour points to the cheery character of the Cactus M concept and encourages users to head for the open road.
Looking beyond appearance, the functional qualities of a boat hull are also reflected in the overall design. The Citroën Cactus M concept is the ideal partner for an expedition and all the materials used have been selected or treated to resist the elements. With the draining foot wells, and seats in water and salt-resistant fabric, occupants who have been surfing or swimming in the sea can get into the car without drying or rinsing themselves off. The whole cabin can even be hosed out.
The Cactus M has an attractive, functional interior. The upholstery and dashboard trim were designed to resemble wetsuits. The brightly coloured neoprene fabric adds warmth to the cabin and underlines the vehicle’s ‘fun’ side. It also increases the waterproof qualities of the seats and reduces the time required for them to dry.
The Citroën Cactus M concept is designed for practicality. The rear side panels each have a hollowed-out step to enable passengers to get into the seats in row two by stepping over the waist line. This solution makes for easier access and creates a sense of freedom for passengers in the rear who do not need to open the door or fold the front seats forward. Inside, a range of functional stowage compartments are available including the large front door bins, each enclosed by a net. The boot is accessed from the outside and two surfboards can be attached using a specific lashing system. Citroën’s styling teams created two surfboards in the colours of the concept car to demonstrate this.
The character and strong personality of the Cactus M concept car is inspired by the 1968 Méhari and the seaside world associated with this legendary model. A number of styling features, such as the door opening straps and single central windscreen wiper bring to mind the automotive design of the time. Similarly, the headrests are designed to resemble boat fenders, bringing to mind the marine environment associated with open-air vehicles.
AT EASE ON ALL TYPES OF TERRAIN
Designed for people looking for wide open spaces, the Cactus M concept is the ideal partner for adventure. Through its technologies and innovations, it overcomes any obstacles relating to the weather or bumpy terrain.
The Citroën Cactus M combines Grip Control with tall and narrow tyres, increasing agility and enabling it to cope with the toughest roads and gradients. Grip Control adapts to all situations to optimise traction in any circumstances. Using a dashboard selector to the left of the steering wheel, the driver can choose between four modes, normal, all-terrain, snow or sand.
The Cactus M concept was designed as an open-air vehicle, but is able to adapt to any type of weather with its innovative roof. Located in the double-floor boot, this roof is installed by hand and stretches around the vehicle using an innovative inflation system. Air inflates three tubes that hold the top in the correct position. Inflation is activated by a compressor at the rear of the vehicle.
With its modular interior and this innovative roof system, the Citroën Cactus M promotes spontaneity and freedom. For example, the Cactus M can be turned into a bivouac for two people, extending the outdoor experience. By means of an ingenious tilting mechanism, the rear seat can become an extension of the boot, create a ‘couchette’. Users can either sleep in the open or under cover, using the inflation function to turn the roof into a freestanding tent. This tent folds out at the rear of the vehicle, enabling two people measuring 1.80m in height to stand upright. No more limits stand in the way of the quest for discovery.
For the roof and the tent, Citroën has worked with two companies who are well known in the sector. For the structure and safety of the tent, the brand called upon ATIC, experts in inflatable structures for extreme conditions. To make the fabric, they worked with Jonathan & Fletcher, who are experts in technical textiles for extreme sports.
Looking beyond its innovations, the Citroën Cactus M is also enjoyable to drive every day as it has all the driving comfort and technologies present on the production C4 Cactus. One year on from the launch of the production car, this concept illustrates the potential of the C4 Cactus as the basis for new models, as well as the extraordinary possibilities for deploying Citroën’s brand positioning through different body styles.
Length: 4.16 m
Width: 1.77 m
Height: 1.48 m
Wheelbase 2.60 m
Petrol drivetrain with the latest-generation automatic gearbox
PureTech 110 S&S EAT6
Performance & fuel consumption
Fuel consumption: 58.9mpg (4.8 L/100 km)
CO2 emissions: 110g/km