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Frankfurt LIVE: Citroen Cactus concept

The concept previews an upcoming crossover.

Citroën has officially unveiled the Cactus concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. As its name implies, the Cactus is inspired by the C-Cactus concept that debuted at the 2007 edition of the show.

The Cactus takes the form of a small crossover with a tall front end, narrow headlights, large wheel arches protected by black plastic trim and short overhangs. In a move that harks back to the iconic Méhari, the concept is devoid of all windows except the windshield, which is made mandatory by European law.

Both sides of the car are equipped with a patented soft-touch material called Airbump that uses small air pockets to protect the car from bumps and scratches. A single large Airbump is affixed to the back end of the car.

The Cactus boasts a futuristic and minimalist interior with a configurable seven-inch screen that replaces the instrument cluster, a picture of company founder André Citroën on each of the sofa-like bench seats and a three-spoke steering wheel. The automatic transmission is controlled via either buttons on the bottom of the center console or shift paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.

An eight-inch touch screen located on the center stack groups the car's navigation, entertainment, climate control and connectivity functions into a single easy-to-use unit. Interestingly, the passenger airbag is installed above the windshield.

Precise technical details are not available but the Cactus is equipped with a gasoline-compressed air hybrid drivetrain designed jointly by PSA Peugeot-Citroën ​and Bosch. Christened Hybrid Air, the setup uses a hydraulic pump mounted on top of the gearbox to turn kinetic energy into compressed air that is stored in a tank-like accumulator. The air is converted back into energy when needed.

Production-Bound

Called E3 internally, the production variant of the Cactus will be largely made up of bits and pieces pulled out of the PSA parts bin. It will reportedly ride on the same platform as the Golf-fighting C4 hatchback and will be offered with a number of gasoline- and diesel-burning engines, including Citroën's new 1.2-liter three-cylinder mill. Both front and all-wheel drive models will be offered.

The Cactus' cockpit will be toned down to a level that is considerably simpler than the aforementioned C4. Features such as power windows and climate control will come standard, and tech-minded buyers will be able to order the car with an infotainment system controlled by a seven-inch touch screen mounted on the dash.

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