Limited series of 50 copies
Not for sale… for now
Greeted with some skepticism, the Citroën Ami nevertheless achieved great commercial success, as it 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 driver’s license. Rich parents also like to offer it to their children, because they consider it safer than two wheels. Its reasonable price for an unlicensed car, its tangy design and evocative coat of arms helped it a lot, but above all it was its concept that attracted. In fact, it offers two beautiful seats together in a closed cabin, which opposes it to the Renault Twizy and its tandem seats.
In December 2021, Citroën presented the Ami Buggy concept, announcing that it would be limited to 50 numbered examples. Also, when the sales site opened in July, everyone left immediately despite the price being €2,000 higher than the standard Ami, or €9,790.
Pay more to do without doors, replaced with simple metal flaps reminiscent of gondola gates, it works! We are also entitled to a removable roof, in the form of a soft top that we roll up, like a 2CV, as well as specific decoration: gold rims without hubcaps, khaki paint, large spoiler on the roof… It’s impressive!
Mechanically, there is no change though: 8.2 hp, 5.5 kWh battery, 45 km / h maximum, 70 km autonomy. Since it is a quadricycle, the approval standards are more flexible: no ABS or ESP, no airbag, no central mirror…
This makes it possible to contain the sales price, which is lower than a Twizy, as well as very smart manufacturing: for example, the front and rear surfaces are almost identical, which limits the costs of development and production . Speaking of production, Citroën is not holding back on relaunching the production of the Ami Buggy. Consider if you plan to buy a second-hand for € 25,000…
On the road: no, rather in town
Joe the taxi, he’s not going anywhere… Neither is the Friend. He has no right to drive in the lanes for cars, even on the Parisian ring road. No problem, we tried it in Le Touquet, in cold weather (17°C) but under the beautiful sun. I expected to replay Jean Yanne’s driver’s license sketch (unbeknownst to those under 40) as I imagined the cramped cockpit. In fact, on board, two big men settled down without being ashamed of each other. The impression of space is still amazing for a car that is 2.40 m long! It must be said that we were sitting almost at the back window, so the windshield seemed very far away. We don’t need to defog it with a rag…
This does not happen with the Ami Buggy because it is open to all winds, due to the absence of doors. You pull the tab, open the door, and you sit in (and not in) a chair whose comfort 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, on the left of the seat, and… we drive. The push is not violent, but enough to fit smoothly in urban traffic. We quickly reached the promised 45 km/h, and we kept them climbing, even after a good lunch. Then, when the descent comes, you press the N button, which disengages the engine, and you reach 50 km/h. Vertigo at speed!
Visibility is very good, you can see all the dangers coming, except when they appear behind Ami: the mirrors are too small. For its part, the steering is well-calibrated, so it’s quick and light enough, but doesn’t compromise the stability of the car at all. In addition, we are entitled to an ultra-short turning radius.
Holding the road? Or rather the street outfit… It turns out to be healthy and not surprisingly, the Citroën remains firmly planted with its wheels pushed back to the four corners of the chassis. No unexpected tendency to roll (which happens in unlicensed cars), slight understeer at the limit. It works like a well-designed mini-traction, and if you want to have fun, you can always pull the handbrake (very effectively), on a closed track of course. Even the braking is convincing, because it is powerful and easily dosed.
As for the suspension, it jumps but honorably filters the unevenness, while reducing the roll of the body. Only, again, the terrible hard chair shows itself by hurting your back. Citroën announces 70 km autonomy? It is impossible to check in one go, we already have a compote base!
However, the Buggy is only intended for short trips to the beach, and facilitates the delicious sensations of the open air. So what if chaos invades it, it was made for that. It didn’t matter if the metal flaps rattled as hard as they could, we wouldn’t last long on board. It does not matter if the holder of the smartphone does not commit … Oh no, that is boring: you are afraid of losing your terminal when the car goes over a big bump, or even it is stolen by a quick hand of when you stopped. It must be said that the Friend attracts both curious and sympathetic gazes.
Last point, in our copy, the instrument block is poorly fixed and illegible because its display is completely lacking in brightness. Overall, the machine is not as built to last. Perfect for teaching crafts to teenagers!