What is it?
Citroen’s all-new C4 family hatchback equipped with the most powerful petrol engine in the range.
On paper it looks promising: we already know a lot about the excellent turbocharged 154bhp, 177lb ft 1.6-litre PSA/BMW-co-developed engine, seen most recently in the DS3.
But unlike the six-speed manual DS3, the engine is only available with a ‘clutchless’ six-speed automated manual gearbox equipped with steering column mounted paddle shifters.
And past experience of the gearbox in other PSA cars says that’s not necessarily a good thing in a segment brimming with quality and many with DSG options.
What’s it like?
A complete mismatch between engine and gearbox. The engine is excellent; there’s plenty of low-speed urgency with peak torque arriving between 1400-4000rpm. It’s also smooth and quiet, matching the new C4’s soft-riding character.
But any hopes of an enjoyable drive are spoiled by the gearbox. Left to its own devices in automatic mode it lurches the car forward under any kind of spirited acceleration and the rest of the time it flicks between being hesitant and indecisive; don’t expect to get into gaps you spot between the traffic at busy roundabouts.