Fastback rear for affordable EV yields roomier rear, bigger boot and extended range
Citroën has revealed a new fastback-inspired reworking of the genre-bending C4 that is designed to fill a gap beneath the new Citroën C5 X in the firm’s line-up – and only be offered in the UK with an electric powertrain.
While the front of the new Citroën e-C4 X is identical to the C4 SUV-inspired hatch, it has been extensively reworked from the B pillar backwards. The hatchback rear has been switched for an elongated fastback body, which extends the length of the machine to 4600mm. That makes it 240mm longer than the Citroën C4, and 200mm shorter than the larger C5 X.
That length also makes the e-C4 X the longest machine built on Stellantis’s CMP platform that is intended for small cars.
The extended rear of the machine also features a number of unique design cues, including distinctive new LED rear lights and bumper, along with black inserts designed to echo those featured on the C5 Aircross.
With the wheelbase of the machine unchanged at 2670mm, Citroën designers have focused on increasing space in the rear and boot of the car. Rear passengers now get 198mm of knee room – aided by more reclines 27-degree seat backs – while the boot – which has a fixed rather than hatchback partition – has a capacity of 510 litres, 130 litres more than the regular C4.
The front cabin is largely unchanged from the standard C4, although the e-C4 X does get the new MyCitroën Drive Plus infotainment system that was first seen on the C5 X, and which features a larger 10in touchscreen.
The e-C4 X retains the 134bhp, 192lb ft electric powertrain of the e-C4, along with the 50kWh battery from that model. It has a 0-62mph time of 9.5 seconds, and a limited top speed of 93mph. The more aerodynamic design of the e-C4 X, which has a drag coefficient of 0.29, gives it a range range of 224 miles, five more than the e-C4.
Citroën is aiming the e-C4 X at families seeking a cost-effective car, but also thinks the extra space in the rear and boot could make it a popular choice for private hire drivers seeking a relatively affordable electric option.
The machine has also been conceived as a global car, with the four-door saloon style largely intended to aid its popularity in the Middle East and Africa. While it will be offered in those market and some European countries with petrol and diesel engines, in the UK, Nordic and select Western European markets it will be offered purely in electric form.
The e-C4 X will be produced at Stellantis’s Madrid, Spain plant on the same line as the regular C4. Order books are expected to open late this year, with deliveries beginning in early 2023.
Exact UK trim levels and pricing have yet to be set, but insiders suggest it will be close to the existing e-C4, which starts at £28,495.
Pierre Leclercq, Citroën design boss
What was the starting point for this car?
“The request from the strategy department was to make another car based on the C4, but it has to reach 4.6 metres and have a huge boot – but we don’t want a limousine, it has to be exciting, sexy. Adding 25 centimetres to the rear is really not what a designer wants, because you have to shift the masses a bit. So we wanted to do something super sexy, stretched, so we tilted the rear forward and gave it an attitude that is almost unique.”
How does the e-C4 X showcase Citroën’s design language?
“We have a design language that is evolving faster, as you can see on the C5 Aircross as well. Everything you see in terms of body light and colours and contrast we wanted to sit in between a formula of Citroën that is very pure and simple, but with details that are going to become sharper and more three-dimensional – and far more non-automotive.”
While this will be electric only in some markets, it still use a multi-powertrain platform. Will you be able to take lessons from this to future EVs built on pure electric architecture?
“That will obviously give us a lot of freedom. It’s obviously super cool what we’re going to do for electric platforms in terms of exteriors and overhangs and what we can offer with interior space. For me, the biggest advantage of an EV is in terms of interior and feeling. You have a completely different volume, so you feel like you are in a new environment. That’s something I want to create, and it’s something I haven’t experienced yet.”