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Future models - Citroen - C3

Baby Citroen set to come in three flavours for Oz

C this: The Citroen C3's headline feature is its whopping windscreen.

Ateco eyes three variants for its new 'high forehead’ Citroen C3 line-up next year

Citroen logo4 Sep 2009

By RON HAMMERTON

CITROEN importer Ateco Automotive will lock in its model line-up for its all-new, second-generation C3 light hatch in March ahead of its Australian debut in the third quarter of 2010.

But the company expects to tick the boxes on a similar three-model, three-engine range as the first generation, when the Mark II five-door C3 arrives with its ground-breaking ‘high forehead’ Zenith windscreen, increased roominess and new levels of refinement.

Citroen released fresh images of the C3 today ahead of its release this month at the Frankfurt motor show, where it will share the limelight with the closely-related, Mini-like DS3 that is also destined for Australian release in the third quarter of next year.

Ateco public affairs manager Edward Rowe said today Ateco would get the full list of C3 production specifications for Australia about March, when it would make its final choices for the launch line-up.

“We expect it will be pretty similar to our current range,” he said.

33 center imageRight now, that comprises only one five-door hatch – the $23,990 1.6-litre 80kW/147Nm petrol four-cylinder Exclusive. The two other variants – the 1.6-litre 66kW/215Nm four-cylinder diesel HDi and entry-level 1.4-litre 55kW/120Nm petrol-engined SX – were discontinued in March this year as the older model headed towards retirement.

However, a similar range of three engines – two petrol, one diesel – can be expected to be restored in the new generation.

In Europe, the new C3 will be launched this year with a choice of three diesel and four petrol engines, based on carryover engines from the current model.

However, in what amounts to a two-stage launch for the new C3, a fresh powertrain range is due to arrive in 2011, with two super-efficient diesels emitting as little as 90 grams of CO2 per kilometre, along with a choice of two three-cylinder petrol engines that Citroen also promises will beat the benchmark 100g/km CO2 standard.

Although the pre-show press kit does not specify the number of cylinders for the new diesel family of engines, they may also be three cylinder – and may be a shared with BMW which plans to fit a three-cylinder diesel engine to its radical hybrid super-coupe, the Vision EfficientDynamics, which will also go on display at Frankfurt.

Citroen parent PSA already shares some engines with BMW, including four-cylinder powerplants for BMW’s Mini and forthcoming Citroen DS3.

Weight control was a key mantra in the designing of the new C3, and Citroen claims to have kept the mass down to the current level of 1100kg by scrutinising every part.

Yet, the new model is 90mm longer and 63mm wider than its predecessor, although it still manages to squeeze under four metres long, at 3940mm.

This body expansion has helped to enhance interior packaging, which has been made even more expansive with a range of space-saving measures such as a more compact under-dash area that allows the front passenger to slide 8cm further forward to open up more legroom for the rear-seat passenger behind.

Slim seat backs also generate an extra 3cm of knee room for rear passengers, while “semi-high” seat bases provide more foot room.

A 300-litre boot and single-action 60/40 split-folding rear seats provide cargo flexibility.

As GoAuto reported in June when the first images of the Mark II C3 were released in Paris, the headline feature of the new car is the huge, 1350mm-long windscreen that extends over the heads of the front-seat occupants.

Dubbed ‘Zenith’ by Citroen, the windscreen has graduated tinting to minimise glare in its top 25cm. This tinting is said to be more effective than conventional smoked glass, with Citroen saying its tint cuts light much more effectively.

If that protection is insufficient, a rigid screen can be pulled down, complete with two conventional sun visors to block low sun glare.

And if you still want more light, an optional ambient electric light system can be ordered for a total glow.

Safety features include ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, emergency brake assist, ESC, six airbags and three-point seatbelts on all five seats.

The two-door C3 convertible, the Pluriel, will remain unchanged, as it is on a separate model cycle to the hatch.

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