Saturday, May 23, 2009


The C4 WRC  - 20 years ago

The Citroën AX Gti was a car made by the French car maker Citroën which is famous around the world for being one of the most technologically advanced car makers in the world specially when it comes to suspensions. You can for example see hydraulically controlled suspensions in the Citroën Xantia Activa which provides stability and improved cornering control. But one of their most famous models in the past few years was the Citroën AX which came in a variety of versions and engine types which ranged from 1.0L to 1.4L and a prototype even had an electrical motor. and its chassis had 5 or 3 doors . But there was of course a sport model in the Citroën AX line which was the Gti . This was a 3 door car with (for more detailed specs click here) a chassis mounted on independent McPherson suspensions on the 4 corners and was mounted on 4 13" alloy wheels with 185/60SR Michelin MXV2 tires. Although the suspensions were not designed at Citroën they handled like any Citroën would. They are not as hard as the usual GTI cars are, and give very good handling in all aspects. Car braking is exceptional even without the use of a four wheel disc system or ABS but just a regular Front Disc-Rear drum configuration which can take the car from 100 km/h to a full stop without any problem and the need of a big space to break the car. The distance between rear an front wheels is 2.280mm which means that the rear wheels are taken back as far as possible to give additional room in the cabin which is, by the way, is much bigger than it seems at first sight. But perhaps the most important aspect about the car is the engine. It has 1.4 L (1.360 cubic centimeters actually) engine with 4 cylinders 2 valves per cylinder and multipoint injection and one overhead camshaft with a compression ratio of 9.9:1. Although the engine doesn't have 4 valves per cylinder or a DOHC system it delivers the incredible power of 100 Hp DIN at 6.800 Rpm and an excellent torque of 12.5Kg/m at 4200 Rpm which means that you don't have to rise the tachometer to the highest levels to get the power of the car. The exterior of the car differs with the regular model in that it has a rear spoiler at the back mounted on the top of the back window, has a nice set of alloy wheels which give it a more sporty look, front anti fog headlights, which by the way in some cases are yellow because of a french regulation, which ended with the treaty of free commerce between european countries which said that the car regulations had to be equal in all the countries. It also has a rear window wiper. The car comes equipped with power windows and electric locks for the doors and has the option of installing an air conditioning. The dashboard has the regular instrumentation with speedometer, tachometer, odometer, clock, etc. But has the characteristic that it turns on when the engine is turned on. The radio is located at the top of the dashboard and has all the normal heater controls, ashtrays and a glove compartment. The seats deliver comfort and good side support which is ideal for a sport car like this. Another characteristic that gives it a very sporty attitude is the gearbox which consists of 5 manual gears configured in a way such that the car has a good acceleration and top end speed and doesn't present any low power zones at any gear. 

All this combined delivers a car with a weight of only 795 Kg which thanks to its engine can take the car to 100 Km/h in just 9 seconds and can cover the kilometer from a still start in 30.4 seconds. In fact the car had its own championship which was runned in europe which was the AX Cup. The production of the car was stopped on 1996 to give way to the new Citroën Saxo which would replace the AX. The Saxo also has a sport model on its line which is the Saxo VTS which has a much more advanced engine with 1.6L 16 valves DOHC which delivers 120HP. The car has sold well in Europe and in other countries to which it is exported. 

But although the Citroën AX is out of production it will be remembered. From the 1.0L model which was not only very cheap but also delivered great fuel economy, to, of course, the AX Gti which delivered all the performance that you would expect from a Gti car at a price which was not out of the reach of some of us "speed addicts" who look for a car which delivers great speed, acceleration and stability at a reasonable price, besides it was one of the only Gti's which where both sporty and comfortable unlike others which could be classified in the category of the uncomfortable ones. And of course one of its main advantages has to be its origin because no matter which model you drive, when you know that what you're driving is a Citroën you know that you're driving in an excellent vehicle which is a machine that needs no further introduction.


  1. It was really tough hanging on top being the most technologically advance car back then and Citroen did really great too. Even today, competition is tougher and I've heard that Citroen is not a brand to be trifled with technicalities of their cars right now.

  2. I rarely hear or see a Citroen car. But if I do, I always ask a friendly ride to experience it. It's a great experience to be able to ride a Citroen car.