In regular trim with its distinctive Airbumps the Citroen C3 is cute, but you wouldn't confuse it for an all-out rally racer. While those air-fillled bubbles might come in handy in the city, they're less useful on a gravel special stage, which is why the Citroen C3 WRC Concept trades the Airbumps and cute graphics for an aero package and all-wheel drive.

It might be best known for magic-carpet suspension and funky city cars, but Citroen has a long history in motorsports. With eight constructor titles under its belt, the French WRC team knows how to screw together a car tough and quick enough to be successful.

Although it's just a concept at the moment, the C3 WRC is "very close" to being a finalized car. The massive rear wing, which has been moved further back for greater downforce on the rear axle, has been designed to fit the upcoming FIA WRC regulations, as have the protruding front bumper and rear splitter.

The four-cylinder motor has also been designed in line with the new regulations, and now produces around 283 kW (380 hp) thanks (in part) to a new 36 mm (1.4 in) flange in the turbocharger.

There's more to the new rules than big wings and turbochargers, with 2017 WRC cars to also be 25 kg (55 lb) lighter than the current generation. Electronic differential control has been added to the list of permitted technologies, too, helping to put the extra power down and keep the cars in line as they whiz through dense forest and snowy plains.

Even though it's a totally different beast underneath - the rally car is 55 mm (2.16 in) longer than the consumer version - there are a few cutesy design touches on the the C3 WRC. The illuminated badge and two-tone roof treatment both carry over, and the accents on the bodykit have been chosen to match exterior colors from the production car.

Citroen's new rally car will be on display at the Paris Motor Show, before making its competitive debut at Monte Carlo in January 2017. In the meantime, you can check out the C3 WRC Concept in action below. Filmed in Portugal using a new image processing technique, it's one of the best car launch/promo videos we've seen in a long time.

Source: Citroen

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