Sporting a five-o-clock shadow, roof rails, a raised ride height and chunky tyres, the Citroën C3 X-treme is at least twice as butch as its supermini siblings and just raring to scale the kerbs.

Sporting a five-o-clock shadow, roof rails, a raised ride height and chunky tyres, the Citroën C3 X-treme is at least twice as butch as its supermini siblings and just raring to scale the kerbs.


The X-treme first made an appearance at last month's Bologna Motor Show and the "city SUV" concept could be the forerunner of a new, more rugged C3.


Like the forthcoming Volkswagen Polo Trek - the X-treme is based on a standard C3, but with bigger bumpers, side skirts, roof rails and matt-black trim.


Ride height is raised by 30 mm, and the Citroën sits on a 15-inch alloy wheels. At the front, huge bumpers meet an extended sump-guard to protect the engine during "extreme" off-road excursions such as three-point turns on a country road.


But even though the C3 X-treme isn't equipped with four-wheel drive, the new transmission has been developed to divide torque between the front wheels in order to give maximum grip in slippery conditions.


Yet despite all the additional equipment, the French manufacturer claims there is little increase in weight over a standard C3 and that the ride and handling are unchanged despite the boost in ride height.


Because the C3 softroader is a concept, it is impossible to know whether the beefy little Citroën's performance will match the French company's claims. However, a source said that "if there is a positive reaction, Citroën may well put it into production" and because the X-treme would be a relatively simple development, prices should not be much higher than that of the current's range.