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PETTER SOLBERG’S CITROËN DS3 SUPERCAR
Outwardly, the Citroën DS3 Supercar looks similar to the Citroën DS3 WRC that Petter campaigned in the 2011 World Rally Championship. Under the skin though, they are very different beasts. Essentially, there’s a lot more freedom in the rallycross regulations, and the cars themselves are faster. This allows the engineers to have almost as much fun as the drivers…
Rallycross cars have to use any standard engine block from the car manufacturer, meaning that they can run any size of engine with a 45mm turbo restrictor. This puts out up to 600 horsepower and delivers truly explosive performance. The only downside is the amount of turbo lag sometimes, meaning the drivers have to anticipate exactly when they will need maximum performance well in advance. However, despite the power, the engines are remarkably robust – lasting for several thousand kilometres. That’s because everything in the engine that can be reinforced is beefed up. Just as well because that massive turbo is trying to tear the two-litre engine apart every time Petter touches the throttle.
There’s more freedom in the chassis as well. You can modify the bodywork in order to cater for the unique demands of rallycross, with vents for the rear-mounted radiators for example: a standard feature of rallycross cars that stops dirt getting sucked into the engine and improves weight distribution. The minimum weight of rallycross cars is 1300 kilograms: making them truly featherweight racers. The biggest difference that Petter will notice compared to his other cars in recent years is that there’s no co-driver!
Transmission is four-wheel drive linked to a six-speed sequential gearbox, although the drivers rarely use sixth as it’s all about acceleration and powering past your rivals in rallycross. The gearbox and transmission is built for strength and reliability rather than ultimate sophistication.
As for electronics and driver aids, that’s easy enough: there aren’t any, just as it should be. There is one main sensor on the DS3 Supercar, which is the seat of Petter’s pants. Traction control is provided by Petter’s right foot and his hands on the steering wheel provide stability control. Launch control? Are you serious? That’s why Petter calls rallycross “pure motorsport.”
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New compact MPV from Citroen
Citroen’s new C4 Picasso has lost weight, boasts more cabin space, and enough touchscreen gadgetry inside to embarrass a branch of Currys.
What’s under the skin of the new Citroen C4 Picasso?
Underpinning the car is PSA Peugeot-Citroen’s new do-it-all platform. The aluminium architecture is 70kg lighter than the old car’s chassis, while a stretched wheelbase and shrink-wrapped overall dimensions mean the overall weight savings compared to the outgoing C4 Picasso is 140kg.
Citroen claims the C4 Picasso now weighs the same as its smaller stablemate, the C3 Picasso, while boasting a bigger cabin, and a class-best boot-space of 537 litres. Engines are mounted 40-50mm lower than the old car, for a double-whammy of lower centre of gravity and pedestrian-friendly crash protection.
From the front, the C4 is a rather pretty thing. It has a set of LED lights just above its headlights, with a chrome strip running along the front of the bonnet. While the car looks big, it is actually 4cm lower and 4cm shorter than its predecessor. Inside, the excellent driving position does well to hide the C4’s size.
There will be four trim levels available in the UK – VTR, VTR+, Exclusive and Exclusive+. Entry-level VTR models start at £17,500 and are only available with either a 119bhp 1.6-litre four cylinder petrol engine or an 89bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine. These models can only be had with a five-speed manual gearbox. VTR versions are equipped with toys such as, air-con, an electronic parking brake, 16-inch alloys, cruise control and a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system incorporating Bluetooth, FM radio, AUX-in and USB connectivity.
It comes with a six-speed manual gearbox that’s a little notchy. However, the optional ETG6 semi-auto ‘box is far worse; this is optimised for economy rather than smoothness, so it’s very slow to change gears by itself, and the car lurches when it does. The e-HDi 90 model is a particularly efficient option when combined with this EGT6 gearbox – it averages 74.3mpg and emits just 98g/km of CO2 – but the more powerful manual e-HDi 115 is still efficient with emissions of 105g/km.
Clearly the diesel model makes more sense, with its reasonable acceleration, quiet engine note and seriously impressive running costs. That’s not to say the petrol isn’t without its benefits, though, offering a 0-62mph time of 9.0 seconds – that’s significantly quicker than any other model in the range. It’s a nice, smooth engine, with less rattle and vibration than the diesels.
Citroen has certainly made sure that the new C4 Picasso stands out, with razor-thin daytime running lights flowing in to a full-width chromed double chevron grille. It’s got sporty new proportions, too, at 40mm lower and 40mm shorter than before, while keeping the same width. The squat, ground-hugging stance is more reminiscent of a hatchback than of an MPV, making the C4 Picasso look like nothing else in this class. The interior also looks stylish and upmarket, with all models getting a seven-inch colour touchscreen in the centre console. There are classy Citroen ‘DS’-inspired touches, too, like dual-colour leather seats.
The Citroen C4 Picasso rides on an entirely new platform called EMP2. It has been developed with Peugeot and will underpin the majority of all their future models. With that much invested in this platform, it’s certain to have been extensively tested for reliability, as have the range of engines used in the C4 Picasso. Most have been used elsewhere in Peugeot and Citroen models with little issue. .
Citroën’s three-year/60,000-mile warranty looks a bit stingy alongside rivals, too. Renault’s lasts four years, Chevrolet, Hyundai and Toyota offer five, and the Kia Carens is covered for an impressive seven years/100,000 miles.
Citroen C4 Picasso (2013) first official pictures
Here is also the YouTube video presentation made for all-new Citroen C4 Picasso (2013)