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
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
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.