Surf’s up as Citroen Cactus M Concept sweeps into Frankfurt

Citroen explores the possibility of fun-focused future models with a Mehari-inspired Cactus concept

Between the rows of clinical white hatchbacks and sober-suited, silver-painted saloons at the Frankfurt motor show, Citroen will be taking things much less seriously.

The Citroen Cactus M Concept is the firm’s modern-day interpretation of the Citroen Mehari – a lightweight, pared-down beach car with 2CV running gear.

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

As the name suggests, the latest car is based on Citroen’s most unorthodox modern product, the C4 Cactus crossover. That similarity is readily apparent in the M Concept’s front and rear styling, but between the axles and above the window line, things are rather different.

Prominent wheel arches cover 19-inch alloy wheels with tall tyres, yielding extra ride height without raised suspension. Extra off-road ability is provided by the company’s Grip Control system, which mediates the traction control to enhance purchase on uneven or slippery surfaces.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The concept sheds the Cactus’s roof, doors, windows and tailgate glass. In their place is an unbroken view of the sky and, towards the rear of the car, a significant arch spans the bodywork. This, like the steeper-raked windscreen surround, is covered in a wooden veneer, which echoes the design of Citroen’s specially-commissioned surf board.

Access to the open-air interior is via a pair of elongated doors. These not only allow unhindered access to the rear, but are also built from the same thermoformed plastic as the protective airbumps found on the regular Cactus. They’re designed to resist – in Citroen’s words – knocks, scratches, salt water and sand.

The material is also applied to the bumpers, further protecting the Hawaii blue paintwork. The overall design is supposed to resemble the hull of a boat, and while the Cactus M Concept won’t quite float, the cabin is water- and salt-resistant.

Perforated foot wells allow water to simply filter through unhindered, and the neoprene-covered cabin is designed to be hosed out, much like the original Range Rover. The colour scheme is designed to evoke wet suits, and the Hawaiian theme is continued with the floral patterns on the dashboard and seats.

Should the heavens open, the Cactus M Concept does provide its passengers with a roof. An air compressor inflates three tubes, over which a roof can be stretched. The car can also be turned into a bivouac of sorts, using the inflating roof as a tent that can fold out at the rear of the car.

The drivetrain is rather more conventional than the styling and features. Under the bonnet is Citroen’s ‘PureTech’ petrol engine. Its 1199cc and three cylinders produce 108bhp and 151lb ft of torque, and Citroen quotes the same fuel economy figures as the hard-topped Cactus, at 60.1mpg and 110g/km of CO2.

Advertisement - Article continues below

We’d expect therefore that performance is also similar, and the standard car can reach 62mph in 9.3 seconds with a manual transmission.

While there’s no guarantee of the model going into production, the concept is evidence that Citroen is considering the potential of the Cactus. The concept will appear at the Frankfurt motor show, which opens to press on September 15.

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/citroen/22216/citroen-c5-aircross-review-exactly-like-a-porsche-911-gt3-sort-of
Citroen

Citroen C5 Aircross review

2 Feb 2019
Visit/features/20331/the-vision-gt-cars-every-vision-gran-turismo-virtual-concept-detailed
Features

The Vision GT cars

25 Oct 2019
Visit/porsche/porsche-taycan/17091/2020-porsche-taycan-revealed-750bhp-ev-ready-to-go
Porsche Taycan

2020 Porsche Taycan revealed – 750bhp EV ready to go

11 Sep 2019
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/volkswagen/golf-gti/22866/new-volkswagen-golf-gti-leaked-ahead-of-reveal
Volkswagen Golf GTI hatchback

New Volkswagen Golf GTI leaked ahead of reveal

Following a slew of spy shots last year, a camo-free Mk8 Golf GTI surfaces online
20 Jan 2020
Visit/toyota/gt-86/202104/toyota-gt86-v-mazda-mx-5-v-abarth-124-spider-lightweight-sports-car-shootout
Toyota GT 86

Toyota GT86 v Mazda MX-5 v Abarth 124 Spider – lightweight sports car shootout

Three affordable sports cars from Japan and, er, Japan battle it out on the Yorkshire Dales
14 Jan 2020
Visit/news/202119/2020-geneva-motor-show-preview-what-to-expect-from-europes-most-important-auto-show
News

2020 Geneva motor show preview

Electrification will likely dominate proceedings, but Geneva will have plenty of performance metal to get excited about too
17 Jan 2020
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019