French carmaker Citroën has done some wacky things over the years, and the current C4 Cactus certainly qualifies as one of them. It’s a tall wagon somewhere between a hatchback and an SUV, covered with plastic “Airbumps” meant to prevent parking-lot dings.
For the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, though, Citroën is taking things even further with the Cactus M concept. This Cactus is no longer a traditional boxy crossover, but rather a two-door, open-topped contraption designed to bring driver and passengers closer to their surroundings, Citroën says.
The look is inspired by Citroën’s cult-classic Méhari utility vehicles. There are two long, molded-plastic doors with visible hinges (second-row passengers are supposed to get in by climbing over the sides of the car), and a folding roof that assembles with the help of human hands and a series of inflatable inner tubes. The top can even be converted into a tent, and the rear seats lowered to create a sleeping area.
Body panels are made from plastic, and the doors and bumpers are coated in a TPU “second skin” similar to the material used in the stock C4 Cactus’ “Airbumps.” It’s meant to resist bumps, scratches, salt water, and sand. That’s a good thing, because Citroën seems to have designed this thing specifically for the beach. It’s probably one of the only roof-less vehicles with provisions for mounting surfboards.
The outdoorsy design theme extends to the interior, which was modeled on the hull of a boat. The upholstery and dashboard are covered in a neoprene material meant to reference wet suits, and virtually everything on the inside is water resistant. In fact, the entire cabin can be hosed down, and the water drained out through plugs in the foot wells.
Power comes from a 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine, which can muster 108 horsepower. While the Cactus M does have multiple driving modes — including normal, all-terrain, snow, or sand — it’s probably less capable off road than, say a four-wheel drive Jeep Renegade.
The Citroën has even more personality than the Jeep, even though it would probably be a bit impractical for everyday use. For that reason, it’s likely destined to remain a concept.