Hydropneumatics are dead, long live some other weird Citroën suspension

It’s not a proper Citroën unless its suspension is grade A WTF. Prime example is the company’s hydropneumatic suspension, but that will finally go. A replacement has just been announced, however.

Trouble is, we don’t know what that replacement exactly is. CEO Linda Jackson said that it would offer the pillowy comfort with control benefits of hydropneumatic suspension, but “in a more modern, more appropriate way”. It’s developed in conjunction with a supplier, but the result will be Citroën only. Whether that includes DS is unclear. They’re also known to be looking at unique suspensions, but DS is supposed to be a separate brand now.

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While the announcement of the death of the hydropneumatic suspension has led to much wailing, gnashing of teeth and petitions among the die-hard Citroënistes, but I think we need to take a wider view; the gassy suspension made famous by the original DS wasn’t the first WAT suspension from the brand, and there’s no reason why it should be the last.

An independent front suspension and semi-independent rear suspension on torsion bars is not that odd for an ‘80s car, but the Citroën Traction Avant had it back in 1934. The egg cradling, longitudinally linked coil pot suspension of a 2CV is, if anything, the weirdest and most inexplicably effective the company ever made. That one was from 1948.

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Then there was the first hydropneumatic system in the orginal DS, steadily improved and applied in the GS, SM, CX, BX, XM, Xantia, C6 and, finally, the C5. And with that worthy, but insufficiently remarkable car is where it ends.

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In the mean time, Citroën did get its design mojo back with the DS3, the Picasso, DS5 and, most of all, the Cactus. Except that they lack a certain something that will really set them apart from hatches. Something that will address their relative lack of ride comfort and indifferent handling.

Here’s hoping.

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Source: Autocar

Image credits: Teccirio at Wikimedia (CC BY 2.5), Tappz at Flickr (CC0), Entmontage.de, Citroën.

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