(CitroŽn UK press release - September 1999)

Offering UK buyers the opportunity to make fuel cost savings of some £2,000 over a typical fleet vehicle life cycle, CitroŽn is launching a 1.8-litre LPG Dual Fuel version of the Xantia.

Available as a five door saloon, the Xantia 1.8i 16V LX LPG Dual Fuel promises major fuel costs savings, with LPG just a little over half the price of unleaded petrol, and a significant reduction in the volume of exhaust emissions, whilst performance levels are directly comparable to the similarly powered petrol only version.

The CitroŽn Xantia is the basis for CitroŽn's serious foray into the LPG market

CitroŽn was the first European manufacturer to specifically develop, and build on the production line, a dual fuelled car, whereas some other manufacturers simply incorporate a conversion that is added after production. CitroŽn's dedicated approach also sees two individual fuel gauges and a neatly integrated change over switch. The company's expertise in LPG dual fuel vehicles is exhibited by the fact that CitroŽn produces 23 different models for countries where LPG usage is already well established.

And if operators feel any caution about alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is worth noting that the vehicle is dual fuelled and not solely LPG, so that the 1.8i 16V Xantia can operate entirely in petrol mode if a suitable filling station is not readily available. In short, the vehicle is fundamentally the same as the petrol model and there is no reason why it shouldn't hold the same resale value as its petrol only counterpart when it comes to disposal.

Whenever the engine is first switched on, the Xantia dual fuel will always start in petrol mode. This initialises the injection system and avoids any problems with cold start performance.

A dashboard mounted switch allows the driver to choose between LPG and petrol fuels with the seamless transition taking just a few seconds to complete, regardless of speed. Automatic switchover from LPG to petrol will occur whenever the system senses that the LPG tank is approaching empty, allaying any driver concern about running out of LPG fuel on the road.

Ensuring that there is no loss in luggage space, the LPG tank is situated under the boot floor where the spare wheel is usually stored; this being replaced by aerosol tyre inflators. The petrol tank continues to hold 65 litres whilst the LPG tank holds 37 usable litres giving a possible range of some 900 miles between fill ups.

The 1.8-litre engine has been specifically designed for dual-fuel petrol and LPG operation with the cylinder head, valves and valve seats redesigned to cope with the requirements of both fuels.

As a result of careful attention at the design stage, the engine torque characteristics remain exactly the same as the petrol only version with 114lb.ft at 4250rpm, whilst power, running on LPG is 106bhp and 112bhp on petrol. Similar performance figures, running on LPG, mean that the maximum speed is 114mph, with 0-62 mph taking 13.4 seconds.

Aimed principally at the UK business market, where the potential fuel cost savings are especially important, the new Xantia LPG dual fuel is expected to qualify for a 75% rebate under the Powershift programme, the government backed initiative of the Energy Saving Trust. Taking such a rebate into account, the additional cost of £500 for the LPG Dual Fuel Xantia could be recouped in less than a year's normal fleet motoring. The new model will be available from early October, with identical trim and equipment levels to the petrol model and will be priced, prior to any rebate, at £16,715 on the road.

Click here to read a preview of the CitroŽn line-up at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show.

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