Evolution of the species How Citroën set the scene for the adaptive chassis design
With no natural roll stiffness in the system, Citroën sought to eliminate body movement with active ride as early as the Forties. Despite experiments with an SM in 1973, properly active suspension didn’t arrive until the 1989 XM. ‘Hydrac ti ve ’w a sf ed by electronic sensors on the steering, brakes and throttle pedal, with the computer able to switch an extra pair of spheres in or out of the circuit. However, arguably the greatest leap forward in suspension tech came in 1994 with the Xantia Activa. Engineers added hydraulic rams that meant zero roll, yet a limo-like ride. Despite recent challenges from the Porsche GT3 RS and all-new M claren 675LT, the humble-looking Xantia is still the fastest car to negotiate the Swedish ‘Elk Test’ slalom – and by a significant margin. It really is that good.
Cost implications meant the model was canned in favour of Hydractive 3, as fitted to the 2001 C5.
Despite being able to adapt instantly to the road surface and detect driving style, purists bemoaned conventional brakes and steering. The accountants had finally rumbled the engineers.
Activa concept cars (L&R) showed the way.