Limited series of 50 copies
No longer on sale…for now
Greeted with some skepticism, the Citroën Ami has nevertheless met with great commercial success, since it has sold more than 20,000 units in less than two years. Contrary to what one might think, it is sold mainly not in the city but in the countryside, where it appeals to people who do not (or no longer) have a driving licence. Wealthy parents also like to offer it to their offspring, because they consider it much safer than a two-wheeler. Its reasonable price for a car without a licence, its tangy design and its reassuring coat of arms helped it a lot, but it was above all its concept that seduced. Indeed, it offers two beautiful seats side by side in a closed passenger compartment, which opposes it to the Renault Twizy and its tandem seats.
In December 2021, Citroën presented the concept Ami Buggy, announcing that it would be limited to 50 numbered copies. Also, when the sales site was opened in July, all instantly left despite a price €2,000 higher than that of the standard Ami, or €9,790.
Pay more to do without doors, replaced by simple metal flaps reminiscent of gondola gates, it works! We are also entitled to a removable roof, in the form of a hood that we roll up, like on a 2CVas well as a specific decoration: golden rims without hubcaps, khaki paint, large roof spoiler… It’s impressive!
Mechanically, no change however: 8.2 hp, 5.5 kWh battery, 45 km / h maximum, 70 km of autonomy. As it is a quadricycle, the approval standards are much more flexible: no ABS or ESP, no airbag, no central mirror…
This makes it possible to contain the selling price, which is much lower than that of a Twizy, as well as the very clever manufacturing: for example, the front and rear faces are almost identical, which limits development and manufacturing costs. Speaking of manufacturing, Citroën is not ruling out relaunching the production of the Ami Buggy at all. Think about whether you plan to buy a second-hand one for €25,000…
On the road: no, rather in town
Joe the taxi, he doesn’t go everywhere… Neither does the Friend. She does not have the right to drive on the lanes for cars, even the Parisian ring road. No problem, we try it in Le Touquet, in cool weather (17°C) but under a beautiful sun. I was expecting to replay Jean Yanne’s driving license sketch (those under 40 won’t know) as I imagined the cramped cockpit. In reality, on board, two big fellows settle down without embarrassing each other. The impression of space is even amazing for a vehicle 2.40 m long! It must be said that we sit almost against the rear window, so that the windshield seems very far away. We shouldn’t have to defog it with a rag…
This is not likely to happen with the Ami Buggy because it is open to all winds, due to the absence of doors. You pull the tab, the door unlocks, and you sit down on (and not in) a seat whose discomfort is reminiscent of the wooden seats of the Sprague-Thomson subway trains. Then, we appreciate the well-thought-out driving position. We turn the key, a beep sounds, we press the D button, to the left of the seat, and… we drive. The thrust is not violent, but sufficient to fit seamlessly into urban traffic. We arrive fairly quickly at the promised 45 km/h, and we keep them uphill, even after a good lunch. Then, when the descent comes, you press the N button, which disengages the engine, and you can reach 50 km/h. Vertigo of speed!
Visibility being excellent, you can see all the dangers coming, unless they appear behind the Ami: the mirrors are too small. For its part, the steering is rather well calibrated, therefore sufficiently fast and light, but never compromising the stability of the vehicle. In addition, we are entitled to an ultra-short turning radius.
Road holding? Or rather street outfit… It turns out to be healthy and unsurprising, the Citroën remaining firmly planted on its wheels pushed back to the four corners of the chassis. No unexpected tendency to roll over (which happens on cars without a license), slight understeer at the limit. It behaves like a well-designed mini-traction, and if you want to have fun, you can always pull the handbrake (very effective), on a closed track of course. Even the braking is convincing, because powerful enough and easy to dose.
As for the suspension, it jumps but honorably filters out unevenness, while reducing body roll. Only, again, the horribly hard seat manifests itself by damaging your posterior. Citroën announces 70 km of autonomy? Impossible to check in one go, we have the base in compote long before!
Anyway, the Buggy is intended only for short coastal journeys, and distills tasty sensations of the open air. So what does it matter if the turmoil invades it, it is made for that. It doesn’t matter if the metal flaps rattle as much as they can, we won’t stay on board for long. It doesn’t matter if the smartphone holder doesn’t reassure… Oh no, that’s boring: you’re afraid of losing your terminal when the car goes over a big bump, or even having it stolen by a quick hand when you’re stopped. It must be said that the Friend attracts curious and benevolent gazes.
Last point, on our copy, the instrumentation block was badly fixed and unreadable because its display totally lacked brightness. In general, the machine does not seem so made to last. Perfect for teaching crafts to teens!