Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupé and Cabriolet get a fresh look and more…

The styling has a more sporting touch with a fresh look for the front sections. The all-LED headlamps have been given flatter housings, while the interior of the LED tail lights has been reworked.

At the same time the two-door models take on the key upgrade features of the other body variants as part of the facelift. These include electrified, and therefore more efficient, petrol as well as diesel engines with integrated starter-alternator, the next generation of driving assistance systems and the infotainment system MBUX infotainment system (Mercedes-Benz User Experience).

The E-Class Coupé and Cabriolet will be making their debut with sales partners in Europe in autumn 2020.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

In good Mercedes tradition, The E-Class Cabriolet with the classic fabric top offers spaciousness and comfort on long journeys for up to four people. And does so all year round: as an option, the Cabriolet can be fitted with the AIRCAP electric draught-stop system and AIRSCARF neck-level heating. Unrestricted usability all year round is similarly ensured by the acoustic soft top, a standard feature that helps to optimise the level of noise experienced in the interior.

The coupé has pleasing flowing lines, and has its own enthusiastic followers, who like a roomy four seat Gran Turismo with coupé character and panache.

The “A-shape” design of the new diamond radiator grille, which is likewise standard on all versions, adds a particularly dynamic touch. The grille also features chrome-plated dots, a single louvre and the Mercedes star in the centre.

Typical Mercedes comfort

The adaptive driver’s seat adjustment is a particularly intelligent feature: when the height of the body is entered on the media display or via Mercedes me, the seat automatically moves into a position generally suitable for someone of that height, which then only needs to be fine-tuned by the driver.

The integral-look sports seats feature prominent side bolsters and integrated head restraints.

Next-generation driving assistance systems: better assistance in tailbacks and when parking

As standard, the E-Class comes with Active Brake Assist. The system is also able to brake for stationary vehicles and crossing pedestrians at typical city speeds and even to prevent collisions, depending on the situation. As part of the Driving Assistance Package, this is now also possible when turning off across the oncoming lane. A range of further Intelligent Drive functions can optionally be added to the Driving Assistance Package.

A new generation of steering wheels, plus MBUX

The E-Class is fitted with an entirely new, intelligent steering wheel as part of the facelift. This is available as a leather steering wheel and in a super sports variant. The control surfaces sport a high-gloss black finish, while the trim elements and surrounds have a silver shadow finish.

The new E-Class is equipped with the latest generation of the MBUX multimedia system (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). As standard, it includes two large 10.25-inch/26 cm screens arranged side by side for a sublime widescreen look. Two 12.3 inch/31.2 cm screens are optionally available.

Mercedes-AMG E 53 Coupé (Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 8,9-8,6 l/100 km, CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 204-198 g/km), 2020, Outdoor, Vorderansicht, dynamisch, Night Paket, Carbon Paket II, Exterieur: graphitgrau metallic;Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 8,9-8,6 l/100 km, CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 204-198 g/km Mercedes-AMG E 53 Coupé (combined fuel consumption: 8,9-8,6 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 204-198 g/km), 2020, Outdoor, front, dynamic, Night package, Carbon package II, exterior: graphitgrey metallic;combined fuel consumption: 8,9-8,6 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 204-198 g/km

New to the E-Class Coupé and Cabriolet is the ENERGIZING COACH. This function is based on an intelligent algorithm and recommends one or other of the programmes depending on the situation and the individual concerned. If a Garmin® wearable is integrated, personal values such as stress level or quality of sleep optimise the accuracy of the recommendation. The aim is to ensure the driver feels well and relaxed even during demanding or monotonous journeys.

Your Mercedes is safe…

In conjunction with Mercedes me, the two packages URBAN GUARD Vehicle Protection and URBAN GUARD Vehicle Protection Plus enable all-round monitoring of the parked vehicle. URBAN GUARD comprises an anti-theft alarm system, tow-away protection with visual and audible warning in the case of a detected change in position, an alarm siren, interior monitoring (triggers in the case of movements in the interior) as well as a pre-installation for theft and parking collision detection. 

Increased electrification of the powertrain…

The electrification of the powertrain takes another major step forward with the facelift of the E-Class. The new two-door models also see the top version of the four-cylinder diesel engine (OM 654 M), rated at 195 kW, fitted for the first time with an integrated starter-alternator (ISG). It therefore has a 48-volt on-board partial electrical system. A recuperation function and the ability to “glide” with the engine switched off make the engine even more efficient.

Clever: integrated into the transmission

Ongoing development work means that the integrated starter-alternator used here is a second-generation unit that is now part of the transmission (rather than of the engine). This means that it can be more easily combined with different engines. The extra boost that is available right from the first turn of the engine, known as EQ Boost, can deliver as much as 15 kW and 180 Nm, thus ensuring that the driving enjoyment offered by both of the sporty two-door models is even more pronounced.

The 48-volt technology with ISG is also a feature of the in-line six-cylinder petrol engine (M 256), now available for the first time in the E-Class. As with the Saloon, Estate and All-Terrain models, this unit has now been added to the engine line-up for the two-door models.

There is also the new Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC+ Coupé and Cabriolet, of which more later in a special report!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Alfa’s: Italy’s invincible and iconic police cars…

We vividly remember them when I drove in the historic Mille Miglia with my father. The olive green Alfa Giulia Supers of the Carabinieri coached us along the way, watched over crossroads, helped to control traffic along our route, kept overenthusiastic spectators at bay.

The Carabinieri had not only taken out their fifties’uniform complete with riding boots, they also had polished their Giulia Supers. And of course, mechanically, these Alfa’s were in top form. What a delight it was to hear their 1,6 thoroughbred DOHC four cylinder revving up when they joined with panache and screeching Michelins again our fast moving column of Millia Miglia cars. Only to pass us swiftly with the blue police light flashing on the roof, with their engine on full song.

The beautiful Alfa 1900 was in 1952 immediately an iconic intervention car for the Italian Polizia…

Delightful, simply delightful. On the return leg from Roma back to Brescia, on the lunch stop before Siena, me and my father took (too much) time to chat with Stirling Moss, and we forgot our schedule a bit. This meant we were late, and had to do some massive catching up through the field. As there were timed sessions ahead, and we had to be within our time slot again. Easier said than done, with the power of a Mercedes 180 D ponton. Fight your way past birdcage Maserati’s and the like with 40 HP. Also the normal traffic was busy and held us up too much, as it took always time to accelerate for us to our top speed of 120 km/h at best.

The Giulietta was in the mid-fifties the police car par excellence… to be replaced by the Giulia Super.

Then we saw the olive green Giulia Super at a crossroad. We waved frantically and threw our hands in the air, shouting “siamo in ritardi!” We are too late!    

“Okay, Okay”, they shouted back, starting their Giulia, putting swiftly their Alfa in front of us. “Siguici da vicino, follow usse close” they commanded us in their marvelous Italian accent, and so we went as a two wagon speed train through traffic, and passed the field of surprised Mille Migla participants. Lancia Aurelia, BMW 328 and Jaguar XK120 drivers couldn’t believe their eyes. But we got after 30 minutes of frantic speeding again in our slot. We waved at the carabinieri thankfully, and they responded with two signals on their beautiful Fiamm horn.

So when the dynamic PR people of FCA came up with te story about the fast, invincible Alfa’s in the service of the law, our delightful memories came back again, and we had to tell you here this story.    

Of course, the Polizia/Carabinieri Giulia’s were totally iconic and omnipresent in the sixties, but the love affair of the servants of the law with Alfa’s started already in the early fifties with the formidable Alfa 1900. We show you here the photos, and dream on with us…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

The new Lamborgini Huracán EVO Rear-Wheel Drive Spyder: superb open air pleasure….

Automobili Lamborghini reveals the new Huracán EVO Rear-Wheel Drive Spyder virtually, using for the first time Augmented Reality (AR) on its official website

The new V10 model provides drivers with an open-air celebration of lightweight engineering, with rear-wheel drive and a specially tuned Performance Traction Control System (P-TCS). Roof up or down, daily driving and high-performance fun are accompanied by the inimitable sound of the V10 aspirated power plant, delivering the same 610 hp (449 kW) and 560 Nm of torque as the coupé version.

With a 0-100 km/h acceleration of just 3,5 seconds and a top speed of 324 km/h, like its coupé stablemate the Spyder is an instinctive driver’s car, delivering a fun-to-drive experience via hardware rather than software.

The Huracán EVO RWD Spyder’s design optimizes the integration and function of the extremely lightweight soft top. The Spyder is a true Lamborghini with roof open and closed. The Spyder’s exterior lines ensure drag reduction and the downforce matches that of the coupé without requiring additional aerodynamic appendages, while enhancing the rear-wheel drive car’s balance and dynamism with roof both up and down.

Driving modes…

The Huracán EVO Spyder’s ANIMA button on the steering wheel puts the pilot in control of driving modes, with the P-TCS calibrated to suit.

STRADA provides stability and safety in all conditions by minimizing rear-wheel slippage, and more proactively managing torque delivery on low-adhesion surfaces.

In SPORT mode, the driver enjoys drifting fun, allowing the rear wheels to slide and skate during acceleration, with torque limited when oversteer angles increase rapidly so the driver can stabilize and control the car.

CORSA mode optimizes the car’s traction and agility when exiting a corner in high-performance conditions, maximizing dynamics and speed.

Low weight…

The Huracán EVO RWD Spyder’s aluminum and thermoplastic resin body sits on a lightweight hybrid chassis in aluminum and carbon fiber, with a dry weight of 1,509 kg and a weight-to-power ratio of 2.47 kg/hp.

Front/rear weight distribution of 40/60, with double wishbone suspension with overlapped quadrilaterals and passive shock absorbers, providing optimized driver feedback. Ventilated and cross-drilled steel brakes are fitted to 19” Kari rims with specially-developed Pirelli P Zero tires, with optional 20” rims and carbon ceramic brakes.

Just look at the photos and dream with us…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

The pleasures of car detailing…

In Corona times, it is a delicious period to pay (loving) attention to our cars. Your servant has tackled even to repair his BMW, something we would never have endeavored in normal times. Our Z3 is in mint condition, its car cover keeps it clean over the months, although the seats in the interior might also benefit from some care and attention. We will come back on this soon. We have the idea here to ask the opinion of Carrosserie Vercruysse, who helped us so beautifully and expertly putting our Lexus CT200h in mint condition.

The other good reason is that the cloth seats of the Lexus are easily soiled as they are light beige, and we need to put some proper maintenance to be done there too, so we will ask them how to tackle this properly.  

Cleaning Mercedes seats…

But the delights and pleasures of car detailing came also back to me when I cleaned the white faux leather front seats of my B Class Mercedes. I used lukewarm soapy water, applied it with a soft brush and soaked up gently the excess moisture with sponge and terry cloth.

They are again like new, and I do this regularly every 8 months or so, so the seats are hardly soiled to begin with. The rest of the interior and dashboard get the same gentle clean with a humid terry or microfibre cloth, gently, never scrubbing as the plastic dial covers can be o so easily scratched, as the rest of the dashboard.

Soft brushes are used for vent openings, again never too vigorous as the polished surfaces can also be damaged easily.

When delving into literature about Car cleaning and detailing, we stumbled on an article by Porsche on car detailing.

Really magnificent, as it is car detailer Richard Tipper who explains to get your car looking again as new.

Pores are meticulously cleaned in our B Class Mercedes… here photo taken in daylight…

He has an obsessive approach to cleaning cars, it seems. He has built up a very large clientele of car lovers, from collectors with more than 200 cars to the daily driver who just happens to cherish his mount.

As he also often disassembles interior/exterior elements of a car to make them meticulously clean, he has a keen notion how cars can be designed and built with love and attention to detail. Needless to say that this man is also a Porsche lover, and the proud owner of a Cayman R. He has detailed a Carrera GT more than once, and is impressed with the care Porsche engineers have taken to engineer every little part of this car.

Detailing a car is no small affair. It usually takes Richard a day or two, but when the owner wants also the inner brake linings for example to be cleaned, it involves taking things apart, and then it can take even up to a week. Usually he takes the seats out for example, just to clean everything thoroughly in every nook and cranny of the car floor. But that is a minimum.

You can find him on Instagram under @perfectionvalet, and of course on YouTube.

Wheel cleaning like an expert

Soft brushes uses for cleaning alloy wheels…

We cite here the tips he gave us about cleaning your very nice alloy wheels.

“It’s best to do the wheels before you wash the rest of the car, as they are often the dirtiest part of the whole vehicle. Use a different bucket for this bit.”

We gave also the alloy wheels of our Lexus a thorough makeover…

He continues:

-Invest in some soft ‘wheel brushes’, which are usually made out of microfibre, not bristles. Choose a set with plastic handles, rather than metal, to help prevent scratching.

-You’ll also need a deioninising decon gel. I never use acidic wheel cleaners, especially on cars with Porsche Carbon Ceramic Brakes (PCCB), as the disc hub is anodized and the acid will damage the surface.

-But the gels work really well (other than stinking like rotten eggs) and have a colour change technology in them so you can tell they’re working. Most will ‘bleed’ purple to show they’re reacting with the iron in the brake dust.

-The best way to clean a wheel is to take it off, but if you can’t do that, spray the decon gel on the cold wheel, trying to avoid getting it on the disc or pads as much as possible.

-Give it a bit of ‘dwelling time’, allowing the product to work its way into the nooks and crannies.

-Next, it’s onto the wheel brushes. These come in various sizes, so use whichever one is best for the area you’re working on. Use them to spread the decon gel around, paying particular attention to the valve and wheel nuts.

-Don’t forget the inside of the wheel to make a really thorough job of it. If you’re lucky enough to own a Carrera GT, you’ll find the caliper sits very near to the back of the wheel so it’s tricky to get a wheel brush in behind the alloy. Rotate the wheel by a quarter of a turn and then you’ll be able to clean that section as well.

-Finally, thoroughly rinse everything off. Please don’t blast the alloys close-up with a pressure washer – just a gentle rinse will do.

-Some people use tire shine as a final flourish, but one warning: avoid it if you leave your car under a cover, as it’ll smear itself all over the inside of the cover.

More to come soon, about a very important bit: how to expertly wash your car…

Just enjoy some photos here already…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Rediscovered camera’s

Corona times at home are very useful to take stock of what one actually owns. Doors of hard to reach cupboards are opened, shelves are inspected, boxes from earlier moves are unpacked. And long forgotten gems appear. Just read with us this (very) happy tale…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

It all starts with a Leica.

My father used it for the Summer Olympic Games in Montreal. This was back in 1976. He procured himself this Leicaflex SL with a Leitz Canada Summicron 1:2 90 mm lens. I found it back in a box stored in an upper cupboard. My father had used it intensively, but luckily everything was still in working condition. The shutter functioned, the camera back opened without a hitch, the film pressure plate, everything OK.

The letters “SL” stood for “Selektive Lichtmessung” or “Selective Light Metering” and indicated explicitly that the Leicaflex SL was capable of through-the-lens spot metering, contrary to the earlier Leicaflex Standard, which relied on an external metering cell. The SL’s meter reads a limited area of the image corresponding to the coarse microprism zone on the viewscreen.

Well, everything on our camera was almost OK, as there is one very important element missing around the shutter release knob: the shutter speed dial. Maybe the camera had been dropped, and the circular ring to select the shutter speed was gone. So it sticks invariably to a shutter speed of 1/2 second. Can it be repaired? Who knows. It appears that Leica is not servicing this model anymore. Leica does no longer support R-system cameras. The company recommends to send cameras to Paepke-Fototechnik in Düsseldorf for any repairs. We will contact them soon, and when Corona times are over, we will make a trip to Düsseldorf…

Another hitch is that the mercury cells that supplied a constant 1.34V to the metering cell do not exist any more. We will also ask the Paepke-Fototechnik people how we can work around this…  

Apparently the SL was produced until 1974, when it was replaced by the Leicaflex SL2. More soon when we contact Paepke-Fototechnik!

The Hasselblad 500C

Another gem we re-awakened from its box was the Hasselblad 500C. It has the Carl Zeiss 2:8 Planar lens and is still in very mint condition, and, as far as we can see “on the dry”, in perfect working order. We will start to use it soon, with one caveat however, and this goes for all the analogue film camera’s, my darkroom is in my house in France, and in Corona times, we are still not allowed to cross the French/Belgian border at the moment of writing…

Then there are the two Mamiya’s 645. One with a classic viewfinder, and one with a prism viewfinder and built in light meter. One has the standard 80 mm lens, the other one the wide angle 55 mm 2.8. They are still as brand new and of course in perfect working order. There is also a 250 mm telelens to complete – literally – the picture.

Another analogue camera waiting on the shelf for better times is the Nikon F100. It sits there with a standard 50 mm 1,8 Nikon lens, is also mint, as new and also just waiting to be used again. It just needs batteries to get cracking.

Now we come to some (almost) forgotten digital camera’s. We recently used a lot our Fujifilm X10 with the Fujinon 28-112 mm equivalent F2-2.8 lens, a compact gem of a camera we really happen to like very much, especially in street and social event photography.  This is an exeption to the camera’s shown in this report, this one has never been “forgotten”.

Unfortunately the camera won’t shut down when one clicks the lens barrel again in the “off” position, and will continue to function for 2 minutes. This of course shortens battery life dramatically, so we bought a spare battery and keep the camera going when touring, visiting museums and the like.   

One camera we thought we had lost however is a Fuji Finepix “S”4200, a 14 mp cropped sensor “crossover” camera of yesteryear we would say, with a quite creditable 24 x optical zoom lens. It is not ideal at high ISO – far from it – but then again it is versatile with its zoom lens. The sensor of the Fujifilm 10X is quite in another league, we must admit. This camera cannot produce any images in RAW, the only option apparently is shooting in Fujifilm Finepix standard color, chrome or b&w. You can boost its ISO to 6400, but then things get quite horrible. OK, in B&W there is still something to be done, but nowadays your average smartphone outclasses it… But, as said, we found it again, and will – for the sake of it – put it again through its paces to see what it still can do in modern times, when we have our next test car, for example. We will compare the results with the much more modern Sony A 5100, which we will then use alongside it.     


We – last but not least – got the Sony A 5100 again out of its box, we bought a Nikon adapter for it so we can use our Nikon glass on it, but even with its 16-50 mm standard lens it is a quite good performer. It is also an excellent vlog camera, but more about this later…Note that this last photo was taken with the Fujifilm Finepix S4200, at 200 ASA, quite creditable indeed as one knows that all the photos of the other camera’s are taken with the Sony A 5100…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Miami wheels…

Noblesse Oblige: a Rolls Royce is the car for shopping at Worth Avenue in Palm Beach…

Before Corona hit our shores, we went in February to Florida to soak up the early sun. Undoubtedly this proved to be a wise choice, as at the moment of writing, we are still not allowed to travel. We visited Miami and made a drive to Key West, in a rented Nissan Altima. A very comfortable mount with a well pulling and smooth 2,5 litre 188 HP four cylinder petrol engine coupled to a soave CVT transmission. This CVT performed well, raising the revs gradually following the push of your right foot, and restraining fussy revving even when you accelerate full throttle. Once above 4,000 rpm, it will make crisp upshifts.

With lots of support from the power steering the Altima is very easy to steer, stable and comfortable, and offers lots of room for its occupants. An ideal, and stylish travelling machine, which left little to be desired.

On Florida roads, the usual pickups abound, but there is a lot of room left for supercars and European (noble) brands. Indeed, Florida is the realm of the well to do, and also one of the states with a 56,14 % majority of foreign brands in its total car market. It counted in 2018 some 7,6 million registered vehicles. California is actually the top car state with not less than 14,6 million registered vehicles, and a foreign car market share of 64,9 %.

Go in the posh shopping and hotel areas of Miami beach, and you will see it is the home of Lamborghini’s, Maserati’s, Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Range Rover, Bentley, Rolls Royce. Many buyers of the noble European brands opt for SUV’s as well as cabrio’s and coupés.

On the road, big SUV’s and pickups from American and Japanese brands abound, with the open Mustangs being frequently seen too, as well as Chevy Camaro’s.

Every now and then an American built classic meets you, as a fifties or sixties open Ford or Thunderbird. Indeed, Cuba is not far away…

Of course, there are the Cinquecento’s. We saw a new one on Miami Beach, and a vintage or “classic” Cinquecento used by a Sicilian Ice cream vendor…

Also a two decades old SUV was totally sculpted in sand, if there ever was a beach car, this is the one…

We just let you enjoy the photos here, and dream with us of these sunny shores and their nice cars…

Hans Knol ten Bensel       

The Fiat Panda is now 40 years young…

In iconic black, the original Panda is still very modern…

Your servant remembers it vividly. Back in 1980, photographing a brick stone red Panda in the Galerie de la Reine in Brussels, on an early Saturday morning. Those were the times when you could pull this off, without asking anybody. Of course we had to be quick. To make our presence a bit more official, I asked also some garcons of the nearby restaurant Aux Armes de Bruxelles – who were just putting out the tables in the early morning – to pose for me, putting some of their ornamental flower trays in the opened hatch of our Panda.

My test car’ had the zesty four cylinder 903 cc engine in the front, borrowed from the Fiat 127. It was fast with it. Top speed not less than 140 km/h.

The original Panda had soon also a4WD version…

I just loved the design of this Panda, both inside and out. Its elegant, simple, rectangular shapes, its perfectly balanced proportions still inspire. Just drive it now in chique black with beige interior through our cities.

It still is a beautiful, modern car. The car is also up to this day brimming with practicality and genial storage solutions. Fast, zesty, compact.

The future car within this same lineage of geniality is the Centoventi. We stood eye to eye with the prototype in the Centro Stile last year. More about this car later.

The Centoventi breathes the same practical spirit as the original Panda…

The present day Panda is eminently capable. We recently drove the hybrid version, just read our report… This Panda lives in the heart of many, and is since 2003 the most sold city car in Europe. And has a bright future for many years to come…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Easter eggs and a colouring album from Fiat and Jeep…

Keeping your offspring busy in these (Easter) times is quite a task, and Jeep and Fiat are there to help.

Fiat launces a cute #fiatforkids initiative. The Colorbook 500 – in Fiat’s usual playful, entertaining style – is designed specially for children to spend a few hours drawing and coloring in the three generations of the 500. Fiat is offering four plates of their iconic Cinquecento. Your offspring can colour the three generations of the 500, the landscape it is passing, or draw the view from the window of the car.

But there is more for kids in store during Easter time. They will look for “Easter Eggs” in hidden places in the garden, terrace or in the home, much to their surprise and delight. The Jeep designers have made “Easter Eggs” an integrated step in the creation process of each vehicle, and a distinctive, very special design feature.

The “Easter Egg” lies here in the small red Jeep on the alloy rim…

‘Easter Eggs‘ are hidden decorative motifs that Jeep stylists conceal in Jeep vehicles, meant to be discovered throughout time by their owners.

These hidden gems are unique and unexpected, they change from one Jeep vehicle to another and can be found both on the exterior and on the interior. Originally, Easter Eggs were an offhand addition of a graphic to an otherwise standard part of the vehicle but over the course of the years, they developed into something typical of Jeep design.

They are also styling cues that recall the brand’s design heritage – such as the seven slot grille or iconic Jeep models like the Wrangler.  

Often they can also be found in small functional areas, such as storage compartments, to be discovered by customers during the daily use of their vehicle.

Today, the practice continues with every new Jeep model and customers will shortly have an opportunity to discover the Easter Eggs hidden in the soon-to-be launched Jeep Renegade and Compass 4xe…

Hans Knol ten Bensel  

Announcing 110 year Alfa anniversary with a video…

The dynamic PR people of FCA Belgium created a new video to keep in touch with current customers and future prospects in Belgium and Luxembourg, a few weeks before the official celebration of the brand’s 110th anniversary.

To have a look at this new video for sports car enthusiasts who look forward to taking the wheel of their Alfa Romeo again in optimal living conditions, just click

The video footage was shot on the streets of the Principality of Monaco, which also serves as a prestigious setting for the F1 Grand Prix and where the brand’s latest publicity campaign was shot for the new Giulia and Stelvio MY202. The new models Giulia and Stelvio are equipped with new exclusive content: dynamic driving becomes a real driving experience.

Prices for the New Alfa Romeo MY2020: Giulia from € 34,900 (€ 33,746 in Luxembourg) and Stelvio from € 39,990 (€ 38,668 in Luxembourg).

Stay tuned for more Italian car news soon…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Citroën’s “AMI” brings E-power to all of us…

Citroën changes the world once again, after its post war 2 CV. Now in (and after) Corona times, it launches an E-powered runabout, which will make the world think differently about affordable, urban electric mobility.

The “AMI”is non-conformist, with 2 seats, 100% electric, comfortable and protective, compact and agile, of course to be customized at will.

As a direct descendant of AMI ONE Concept introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2019 and following the strong interest it generated, Ami has become a reality in barely a year.

Ami is a practical response to new mobility expectations for short journeys: enabling easier access to city centres, finding micro-mobility means for everyone, and presents a real alternative to scooters, bicycles, mopeds, public transportation at reasonable cost.

Nimble and simple, E power for all…

The AMI is ultra-compact: set on its specially designed 14″ wheels located at all four corners for easy handling, Ami is 2.41m long, 1.39m wide and 1.52m high.It has a 7.20m turning diameter.  It is a light quadricycle, which benefits from a smooth clutch-less ride and an instant acceleration from a stand-still , capable of speeds of up to 45km/h. Ideal for multiple short trips in the city – such as going to a meeting, to work, running an errand or going out for the evening – Ami has a range of up to 70 kilometres.

Copyright maison-vignaux @ Continental Productions

Its 5.5 kWh lithium-ion battery, housed flat under the floor, can be charged via the on-board electric cable located in the passenger-side doorway. Once the cable is plugged in, 3 hours are enough for a full charge on a conventional 220 V socket. The use of Ami is as simple as any everyday electric object. Ami – 100% electric can also be charged at a public terminal or Wall Box using a suitable cable.

The AMI has a standard panoramic roof. In a nod to Citroën’s history, the side windows open by manually tilting upwards like the 2 CV.6 coloured accessory packs are available. Bright and pleasant, it is symmetrically designed. The wide doors that are completely identical on the right and left and open in the opposite direction: rear-hinged on the driver’s side to benefit from better on-board accessibility and increased comfort, and traditionally front-hinged on the passenger side.

Make your own mark…  

In a “Do It Yourself” fashion, the possibility of creating the object that suits each customer’ tastes through a kit of accessories that can easily be installed yourself. This kit incorporates functional decorative items: a central separation net, a door storage net, mat, storage tray on the top of the dashboard, small hook for a handbag, smartphone clip, DAT@MI box (dongle device) connected to the My Citroën app to retrieve essential information from Ami on the smartphone.

Post-production : Astuce Productions

There is harmony between the interior and the exterior with touches of colour on the wheel trims, quarter-panel stickers or even a capsule at the bottom of the door. 4 main shades are available: MY AMI GREY, MY AMI BLUE, MY AMI ORANGE, and MY AMI KHAKI. This accessory kit allows everyone to create their own mood and tailor the functionalities to their needs.

Post-production : Astuce Productions

Another and even higher level of customisation offers 2 packs combining all the aforementioned decorative elements as well as large stickers that dress up the exterior of Ami giving it a style all of its own:

My Ami POP with the Orange customisation and a fun, young and sporty design, with a rear spoiler

My Ami VIBE with the Grey colour and more upscale, chic and graphic accessories that incorporate roof trims to complement the stickers.

The installation of these higher level customisation packs is entrusted to professionals before delivery.

No driver’s license needed…

Copyright maison-vignaux @ Continental Productions

The AMI is in its home country AM licenced, i.e. for engines under 50 cm3. Any 14 year old can drive it. In most European countries, a 16 year old can do too. Ami also makes life easier for its customers in accessing mobility by offering them several formulas through digital solutions: car sharing, rental or purchase. The rates are very low indeed, will of course vary from country to country. But let it be known that you can purchase an AMI for around 6,000 Euros…  

Post-production : Astuce Productions

Ami is offered in France at a rent of €19.99 including VAT per month with an initial payment of €2,644 including VAT (Ami Ami version; long-term rental of 48 months, ecological bonus of €900 including VAT deducted in France).

Buy it from home…

It is therefore possible to acquire Ami – 100% ëlectric 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Everything, from discovery to order, can be done from your sofa using your tablet or smartphone in just a few clicks via website, which is the entry point for finding out about Ami, which provides information on the product and on solutions adapted to the needs dictated by each person’s needs.

Digital is present in using Ami – 100% ëlectric with My Citroën mobile app via DAT@MI connected box. The application allows drivers to access essential information about Ami at any time via a smartphone, including: range, charge status and time remaining for a 100% charge, mileage, maintenance alerts and after-sales appointment scheduling. The app also makes it easy to locate nearby public charging stations, a feature offered by Free2Move Services.

More details to come soon, the opening of orders is scheduled for 30 March in France, and a few months later in Spain, Italy, Belgium, Portugal and then Germany. The first deliveries to customers are scheduled for June in France. Car-sharing at Ami’s wheel will start in Spring in Paris with versions bearing the “Free2Move” logo. Of course we are eagerly awaiting to see and drive the AMI “in the flesh”!

Hans Knol ten Bensel