With sales of 70,000 units in its first year, the Citroen Cactus based on the 2013 concept car has seen only moderate success since its introduction in 2014. That has perhaps understandably motivated Citroen to play with the formula a little. The open Cactus M concept looks to be a step in the right direction.
The "M" is presumably for the Citroen Mehari, a memorable open top off-roader that was built from 1968 through 1988. One thing in common between the two vehicles is the heavy use of plastic in the body. The Mehari's body was made of ABS plastic, and contributed to the older car weighing less than 1200 lbs. The Cactus M used molded plastic doors with a thermoformed TPU coating, a scratch and ding resistant surface that is also found on the bumpers.
One of the most appealing aspects of the Cactus M is that it is designed to be open to the elements. The interior is water and salt resistant, and can even be hosed down for cleaning, with drainage outlets in the footwells allowing the water to escape.
Another "feature," or lack of it, that contributes to the coolness factor is a hollowed out step in the rear quarter that is about the only way to get into the back, as there is no rear door.
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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.
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.
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.
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.