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CitroŽn Ami Super

Autocar Brief Test

21 June 1973

CITROEN have introduced a model simply called the Ami Super (and buyers of British cars may well be excused for thinking this means only extra-pile carpet and bright mouldings round the windows). Behind that badge is hidden a flat-four overhead camshaft engine with a capacity of just over 1-litre and a net output of 54 bhp (DIN) at 6,500 rpm. This is 67 per cent more than that developed by the twin fitted to the regular Ami 8. Peak torque is 50 lb ft at 3,500 rpm instead of 31 at 4,000.

The engine, of course, comes from the Citroen GS 1,O15cc and it is mated to that car's four-speed all synchromesh gearbox with remote control shift on the floor. The improved inboard disc brakes fitted to the GS 1220 complete the mechanical package and inside there are detail revisions to the controls and facia.

As might be expected from the specification, the effects of these changes on the performance are little short of startling. The O to 60 mph acceleration time, for example, is nearly half that of the regular Ami 8 and a fraction quicker even than the GS saloon (the 1015 version, not the latest 1220). Top speed is up 16 mph to a mean of 88 mph and we reached over 90 mph with the aid of a slight tail wind. On the grossly optimistic speedometer we once saw an indicated 100 mph, equivalent in truth to 92 mph. Considering how the Ami body makes little pretence at streamlining it is all the more remarkable that on top speed this Super version should be only 2 mph behind that of the much more aerodynamic GS

At the kerb the Ami Super weighs about 150 lb more than the Ami 8 and about the same as the GS. For a test mileage of 654 very hard miles in which we enjoyed the performance to the full and regularly revved to over 7,000 rpm, the consumption was 27.4 mpg.  This is 4 mpg better than that of the GS and about 5 mpg worse than that of the Ami 8. With the kind of restraint that comes with longer acquaintance (although we doubt novelty will ever wear off completely), owners should easily return 30 mpg or even better. Our test car, by the way, was delivered to us with less than 1,000 miles behind it and performance and consumption should both improve with longer running in.

All these facts and figures tell a vital part of the Ami Super story, but they do nothing to describe the unique way the car behaves in traffic on the road. As you turn the starter and the engine comes slowly to life it sounds a lot like the old air-cooled twin. At the bottom end it has something of the familiar sluggish response. But from about 3,500 rpm it is almost as if two extra cylinders have switched in somehow and the car takes a great leap forward as the revs scream up to around 8,000 rpm. Taken to this limit, where the urge cuts out suddenly, over 30 mph is possible in bottom, nearly 60 mph in second and just short of 80 mph in third.

The torque curve in fact is much flatter than it feels and the low speed pulling power is remarkably good. Big, 15in. dia. Wheels prevent any traction problems and although the Super rolls a lot - like all Amis - it feels stiffer than the smaller-engined version. Brakes are extremely powerful and well up to the task of coping with all the extra speed.

Facia design has been revised slightly with a new padded steering wheel and a hook-ended handbrake that most Ami 8 drivers immediately take to be the gearlever. Fast single-speed wipers backed by powerful electric washers are fitted and a battery voltmeter is standard.

All the practical features of the original Ami design are retained, from the removable back seat to practical moulded pvc matting on the floor. Improvements worthy of note are proper winding windows for the front doors and the very handy remote control gearchange already mentioned briefly.

In developing the GS for production it is highly likely that Citroen converted a few Ami 8s as running prototypes for their flat-four engine. The result must have been so successful that they decided to put the model into production after the GS and it must be the first time that replicas of a prototype have ever been placed on general sale. We found the car a lot of fun in traffic and on the motorway and we would have loved to hear the surprised comments from one TR4 driver and a lad in a "hot" VW. There has been nothing quite like this Citroen since the original Mini-Cooper and for £995 including tax it is very good value.

Left: Unobtrusive improvement for the Citroen Ami Super is replacement of the 602cc engine of the Ami 8 by a 1,015cc horizontally-opposed air-cooled engine - the basic power unit of the Citroen GS.
Above: The vast expanse of load space left when the rear seat is removed
Left: With rear seat in place there still a generous amount of boot space for such a compact car
Above: A refinement is a remote control gearchange. Other Ami 8 features are continued
Left: The rear seat is most comfortable for long journeys and legroom is ample. The bracket for the front seat belt anchorage can prove a hazard for a third passenger in the back. Winding windows are now fitted to the front doors

PERFORMANCE CHECK

Maximum speeds




Gear
mph
kph
rpm

Super
Ami 8
Super
Ami 8
Super
Ami 8
Top (mean)
88
72
142
116
5,900
5,400
Top (best)
91
73
146
118
6,100
5,500
3rd
79
67
127
108
7,000
7,200
2nd
55
46
88
74
7,000
7,500
1st
33
24
53
39
7,500
7,500
Acceleration





Standing 1/4 mile
Super
20.5 sec
63 mph




Ami 8
24.5 sec
54 mph



Standing km
Super
38.9 sec
78 mph




Ami 8
46.3 sec
68 mph



True speed 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
Super 4.7 7.5 12.0 17.1 26.7 45.6 -
Ami 8 7.5 12.4 19.4 31.7 - - -
Super ind speed 30 42 54 64 75 87 99
Ami 8 ind speed 32 42 52 62 72 - -

Top
3rd
2nd

Super
Ami 8
Super
Ami 8
Super
Ami 8
10-30
-
-
7.8
14.5
5.9
8.4
20-40
13.1
23.3
8.6
13.2
5.3
8.8
40-60
13.7
24.3
10.0
13.6
6.4
-
50-70
15.1
30.8
12.4
19.3
-
-
60-80
20.2
-
-
-
-
-
70-90
28.3
-
-
-
-
-
Fuel consumption





Overall mpg
Super
27.4 mpg (10.3 litres/100 km)


Ami 8
32.2 mpg (8.8 litres/100 km)

NOTE: 'AMI 8' denotes performance figures for Citroen Ami 8 Club tested in Autocar of 2 July 1970
© 1973 Autocar/2011 CitroŽnŽt