We wrote about the Citroen AMI in March of this year and suggested that it would tick the box as a car that would make you stand out if it was available in the UK. Well, it’s now looking likely that the diminutive city car will indeed be available for purchase in the UK.
The likelihood all depends on your interpretation of percentages plucked out of the air, but a 75% chance of the Citroen AMI coming to UK shores certainly offers much improved odds compared to spring of this year. There is a downside though – it would appear that while Citroen are not averse to offering the AMI to UK buyers, they are not willing to offer a right-hand-drive version. To be clear, if the AMI does arrive here it will be in its standard left-hand-drive incarnation. If a seeming lack of compromise has got you wondering about charging compatibility, there’s no need to worry – the 5.5kWh lithium-ion battery in the AMI can be charged via a standard 3-pin plug in just 3-hours.
This news comes from the Citroen MD Eurig Druce being asked how he would rank the chances of the small 2-seater eventually coming to Britain; on a scale of 1 to 10, Druce said: “We’ll go 7 and a half…”
The AMI garnered favourable reviews when it was first revealed, yet there is something quite odd about the car that is initially hard to put one’s finger on – then you realise that the front of the minimalist car is pretty much exactly the same as the rear; in a cost saving exercise, both front and rear use the same panel design, making the AMI look rather like an old squashed British Rail diesel train, which had both a cabin at the front as well as the rear.
The 8hp 28mph Citroen AMI is of course perfectly suited to our congested inner city streets with their often-narrow roads and a distinct lack of available parking spaces that you can fit into (or get out of). The AMI even has opposing doors, with one side opening as expected, and the other being rear-hinged and opening like an old-school taxi – a suicide door. Although such doors are largely now confined to history, rear-hinged doors do make entering and exiting a car easier in tight spaces.
There are already some AMIs in the UK, with Druce saying that there is most certainly some on-going discussion in Paris about the possibility of bringing the 2.41 metre long car to the UK, but it isn’t a top priority for the manufacturer. We may get a decision faster than that might imply though, as feedback taken by Citroen over the next few weeks may form the basis of a final decision.
In France, the Citroen AMI is classed as a quadricycle, meaning that the car can be driven by anyone over the age of 14 if you can afford the very reasonable leasing – that means that for a down payment of 2,600 euros, the monthly leasing cost is just 19.99 euros a month.
Now that is an attractive price, and Druce defends the left-hand-drive only stance by saying that any introduction of a new right-hand-drive version would surely bring the cost of ownership up, and that’s not something that Citroen wants to do. He argues that with the car being only 1.39 metres wide anyway, the difference would not be so drastic on UK roads. Let’s hope we get the chance to find out.
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