During the winter holiday season, red is all around, so we’d thought we’d go along with the trend and test out the new Citroen C4 by Loeb this winter, which sports a Santa-style red paint. Well, the paint had nothing to do with our choice, but it was a nice touch. As a general impression, the Citroen C4 Coupe was always a car which I considered pretty interesting, but it never really attracted me, so I was curious to see what I’ve been missing out on.
Last year, the C4 received a facelift, but the changes are so small even the designers have problems saying which is which: the front end is slightly restyled, on the inside the revcounter was moved from the top of the steering wheel to the central display and new upholstery choices were added. New options like navigation system, new headlights or safety systems are now available, as well as a few new engines, developed in partnership with BMW, among which is the 152 HP 1.6-liter gasoline unit that powered the model we tested.
As I was saying, on the outside there aren’t many noticeable differences as opposed to the old model, but it doesn’t mean that the C4 isn’t attractive. The rear, at least, was love at first sight. This special limited edition by Loeb is even more attractive. Besides the bright red (Rouge Aden) paint job, the model also has two side vinyls and Loeb’s signature under each of the outside mirrors.
Besides that, the 17-inch white sport wheels are available only on this limited series. Overall, the model looks gorgeous, especially when coming out of the car wash on a sunny day.
On the inside, the first thing which pops is the sporty red and black combination, a great touch, specific to this limited edition. Other customized features include the steering wheel (which is wrapped in black leather with red stitching) and the red inserts on the gear knob or carpets, plus the aluminum sport pedals. The center console, on top of the ashtray’s lid, has a really cool plate which says “C4 by LOEB Edition Limitee No XXX”, which makes you feel very special. Of course, you don’t feel that special any more when the number is 1,359, but still, it was a great touch. But by far the coolest thing on the interior was the glass roof, which left a lasting impression on all the car’s passengers (including us). The roof is definitely worth every penny (the package, which includes the wheels too, costs 750 Euros, ~$1,100). Other features in our model were cruise control, electronic folding outside mirrors, park assist and navigation (which compared to BMW’s, for example, is pretty good even in countries like ours, which don’t have a great digital map coverage).
I also enjoyed the seats. When you first get in, they don’t strike you as sporty, and are quite comfy. You’ll actually think that maybe they made a mistake at the factory, as this more aggressive model needed rally ones, but they will give you plenty of lateral support in corners, and are great for sporty driving. The only problem with the C4 is the rear visibility, largely due to the unique design in the back (which is nice) that binds the rear window with the roof right exactly where your inside mirror needs to be pointed at. In bad weather you’ll also be cursing the back wiper which covers an insignificant amount of space, rendering it useless.
I noticed that in terms of controls, Citroen really wants to be different from everyone, by any means. First off, the steering wheel. I’ve drive other Citroen models before, and I knew about the fixed center design, but it’s still quite weird until you grow accustomed to it. Then there are the audio controls. Although the sound system is great, especially when you crank it up, this is the first car I’ve driven where if you turn the big knob on the center console, you actually change stations/songs, instead of modifying the volume (not to mention I searched for the shuffle function for quite some time). Last but not least, the digital display, a Citroen trademark, which has generated a lot of talk. Some like it, but others, myself included, aren’t really into it, because I’d rather see the classic clocks instead of this video game-like lines. But it’s not that important and hasn’t swayed my opinion about the car.
Now you’ll ask “OK, it’s a coupe, so how’s in the back?” Well, the rear space is plentiful. The access is a bit difficult, but I’ve had three people (girls, albeit) in the back and they didn’t complain. The boot is quite large, and can easily fit three people’s luggage for a winter trip.
On the road
Seeing as how I had the C4 for two weeks, I’ve had plenty of time to see what it can do. At the beginning, I was pretty disappointed. I knew it had 152 HP (yeah, it’s not a lot) but reported to the weight of the car, made me expect a sportier feel. I can’t really put my finger on it, maybe it’s the gearbox ratios or my high expectations, but the C4 by Loeb isn’t exactly rally material. Yes, when you’re not afraid to put your foot down, the car complies, but not the way I would’ve expected. I mean Bobby blasted me during a mini-drag race in our long-term Mercedes-Benz GLK (even though it has an extra 150 HP)
All jokes aside, after you get used to revving the car a bit, it’s rather fun. Also, the road handling is great. Another interesting thing is the ride height. At the beginning, knowing it was a sport-oriented model, I expected a ground height so low I’d be afraid to park it on a sidewalk, go over tram lines or hit any pot holes. That lasted until I got a closer look and saw that it has plenty of clearance, which, coupled with the great suspension, make it handle great on normal or mountain roads and you won’t really feel any pot holes.
In terms of fuel consumption, I think the C4 has room to improve. Even though I drove it a bit (just a bit) more aggressive, the average was around 9.7 liters/100 km (29.1 Imperial mpg), and in the city it was between 10.5-10.7 (26.6 Imperial mpg). Outside, on the highway, I drove for two hours on an awful snowy weather so I had an average speed of 60 km/h (37 mph), with the consumption around 7.0 liter per 100 km (40 Imperial mpg).
Frankly, I was very, very eager to see the car’s price, as I enjoyed it and thought that it would’ve been a shame to have a high price that would ruin it. But the price in Romania, including taxes, is 20,850 Euros. Is it really worth it? I don’t really know, it’s up to each and every one of you, but I think it does. The Citroen C4 by Loeb looks and handles great, has plenty of features and the only small drawback is the fuel consumption.
Now though, at least in our country, Citroen has plenty of special offers, with discounts up to €6,000, which, at least in my opinion, are great and will attract anyone on the hunt for a hatchback, especially on the smaller engine models, which go as low as 9,000 Euros (7,900 pounds or $13,000).
We liked: – the paint job (color, vinyls and Sebastien Loeb’s signatures); – the panoramic glass roof; – the red and black interior trim; – the audio system;
– the seats;
We didn’t like: – the engine; – the fuel consumption;
– poor visibility through the rear window.
Citroen C4 by Loeb specifications:
Weight: 1,337 kg (2,948 pounds)
Engine: 4-cylinder 1.6-liter (1,587 cmc), 152 HP (112 kW) at 5,800 rpm, 240 Nm at 1,400 rpm
Performance: 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 9.2 seconds and top speed of 212 km/h (132 mph)
Fuel consumption (urban/extra-urban/combined): 9.3 / 6.9 / 5.3 (liters per 100 km) or 30.3 / 40.9 / 53.2 (Imperial mpg)