One year on from the launch of the highly successful C4 Cactus, Citroën will display a new take on the model at the 2015 Frankfurt International Motor Show with its concept model called Citroën Cactus M.
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 from which the vehicle took its inspriation, 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.
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.
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. It 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.