C-Airdream (2003)



With C-Airdream, a 2+2 coupé concept car, Citroën continues to explore the language of styling. Flowing lines, clean contours, sophisticated materials and plays of light take passengers on a journey through the senses.

A harmony of slender proportions and fluid lines with an underlying promise of power, C-Airdream expresses Citroën’s vision of sporting coupé design.

The contemporary edge of Citroën’s design values can also be seen in the interior of  C-Airdream. Sculptured lines, contrasting colours, noble materials and plays of light create a harmonious whole with immediate appeal.

C-Airdream also explores a new avenue in technology: electrical control systems.

A coupé of character

The exterior styling of C-Airdream owes its strength as much to its slender proportions –
combining a long wheelbase and long front overhang with a short rear overhang – as to
the performance and fluidity of its external design lines.

The front end immediately catches the attention with its suggestion of latent power. Positioned either side of the radiator grille and chevron, the slim, directional headlamps are a perfect design fit with the smooth bonnet.

The attention to detail, visible in the design of the wheels for example, also contributes to the allure of the coupé, by accentuating its class and elegance.

The profile of C-Airdream expresses the pursuit of optimal aerodynamic design. The receding lines converging towards the rear of the vehicle suggest movement and fluidity, bringing the promise of new sensations. Clearly, this is a car that interacts with the road in a unique way. The waist line – slightly curved towards the rear – and the prominent wings, suggest stability and good roadholding.

Continuing the taut lines of the bonnet, the generous, strongly raked windscreen gives way – without a break – to the smooth curves of the roof. The fully glazed top part of the vehicle frees up the visual field of the occupants to create a strong impression of space and light: an impression unique in a coupé.


The roof line ends with a sharply falling rear window: a perfect fit between the geometric shapes of the rear lights and the fluid lines of the coupé.

A car to rouse the emotions

Truly an exceptional vehicle, C-Airdream makes a strong impression on anybody who steps inside. Sight and senses immediately perceive the interior environment as a new expression of onboard well-being.

Perceptible as soon as the doors are opened, the plays of light interact with the movements of the passengers, making the vehicle come alive. The calm atmosphere of the coupe is adorned by a gentle wave of light that ripples between the doors, the seats, the central console and the dashboard, accentuating the fusion between the various points of the passenger compartment and the ambient calm. The panoramic glazed roof diffuses a gentle light that warms the shadowy tones of the vehicle interior.

The clean, airy lines of the central console emphasise the friendly atmosphere while creating individual space for each occupant. On either side of the console, moiré-look seats with a satin feel set off the subtle mix of dark, glossy and matt leather that covers the passenger compartment.

Two folding seats at the rear offer generous space for luggage, a feature that makes the vehicle more versatile and more suited to a certain art of living.

The instrument cluster with its rev counter and speedometer is a perfect fit with the clean design lines of the dashboard. Information is displayed above the axis of the steering wheel whose original design features a fixed central hub. The navigation and information system screen in the centre of the dashboard is controlled using a mouse located at the end of a broad armrest that extends over the central console.

C-Airdream adopts an innovative approach to the adjustment of the driving position, making sure that the driver is ideally placed. The assembly made up of the steering wheel, associated controls and instrument cluster are electrically controlled to optimise the driving position while maintaining constant space for passengers at the rear.

Using the benefits of drive-by-wire technology, C-Airdream reinvents the driving position. All driving controls are placed on the fixed hub of the steering wheel within easy reach. This avoids any unnecessary movements on the part of the driver, who is able to enjoy driving pleasure to the full.

After the C-Crosser concept car, Citroën is continuing its research into drive-by-wire technology by exploring a new area of expertise: all-electric controls for braking and steering functions.


A driving position with electronic controls: a new perspective on life on board

The use of electronic control systems for all the dynamic functions of the C-Airdream paves the way for a new and revolutionary approach to the interior architecture. Styling engineers were able to create innovative driving interfaces and look at a host of new possibilities in terms of layout.

The control layout is designed to ensure the comfort and well-being of both the driver and passengers. The absence of the pedal assembly frees up additional space, which is used to improve the interior layout and also to increase safety.

The fact that there are no mechanical parts, such as the steering column and pedal assembly, significantly reduces the risk of injury in the event of impact.

Having the controls on the steering-wheel also increases the speed at which the driver’s commands are performed. Precious time is saved in braking, for example, since the driver does not have to put his foot on the pedal.

In addition to the usual functions, the driving position on C-Airdream features the braking, acceleration and gearshift controls. Steering relies on an electric link combining several sensors with control electronics.

To accelerate, the driver applies thumb pressure to the paddles inside the steering wheel. Applying hand pressure to the other side of the paddle activates the braking system. The gearshift function relies on pushbuttons also positioned inside the steering wheel above the paddles, and designed for thumb control.
These controls are all highly ergonomic. Their use becomes natural after just a short time behind the wheel.

Variable-ratio electric steering

The steering function features full electronic control, through which the steering wheel angle/wheel angle ratio can be varied automatically in accordance with the driver’s requirements. Speed and grip are also taken into account.

In particular, this function makes parking much easier owing to the more direct steering ratio (between one and two turns of the steering compared with three turns as a general rule. This feature also ensures pinsharp steering at high speeds.

Increased safety through the electric braking system

The electronically controlled braking system brings real-time control of the pressure exerted on each brake disc. In consequence, the braking capacity of each tyre can be used to the full at all times, whatever the level of grip.

Inter-system architecture

A vehicle dynamics controller analyses data from the sensors and decides on the action to be performed by each component. In the event of asymmetric braking, for example, the steering system can automatically correct the path taken by the vehicle and transmit the corresponding information to the driver.

In this way, Citroën has adopted a new approach to the dynamic capabilities of off-road vehicles and has enhanced safety levels with respect to conventional systems by means of continuous electronic control. This architecture relies primarily on a dual-voltage electrical network (12V – 42V).


Optimised aerodynamic design

As a result of the in-depth studies conducted on aerodynamic design, C-Airdream has a Cd of 0.28 (Cd.A = 0.58 m²), to enhance acoustic comfort and cut fuel consumption and pollutant emissions.

Tried and tested mechanicals

C-Airdream is fitted with the 3.0i V6 engine developing maximum power of 150 kW EEC (210 bhp DIN) at 6,100 rpm. The engine is coupled with an auto-adaptive automatic gearbox with sequential controls on the steering wheel.

The Hydractive 3 suspension – naturally an integral part of the mechanicals – provides comfort and roadholding. Two suspension settings are available, comfort or sport, depending on driving style and road conditions.


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